CONWAY, S.C. – After falling for the first time this season in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader at Coastal Carolina by an 11-3 margin in five innings, East Carolina responded with a vengeance in the nightcap with a 9-1 six-inning run-rule victory to wrap up the Battle of the Beach inside St. John Stadium.
The Pirates (5-1) won three of four decisions during the tournament, also knocking off Buffalo and Saint Francis (Pa.) in Saturday’s action.
Game One: Coastal Carolina 11, East Carolina 3
Courtney Dean was the story in the opener for CCU, hitting two home runs and driving in four runs while also scoring twice. Kayla Rosado also went deep, ending up with two hits and three RBI. As for ECU, senior outfielder Olivia Narron was 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Senior utility Rachel McCollum drove in a pair of runs in two official at bats.
Kaitlin Beasley-Polko (2-0) went the distance to pick up the victory, allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Freshman RHP Logyn Estes (0-1) suffered the loss, tossing just one third of an inning and surrendering four runs (all earned) on three hits with a walk and a strikeout.
The Pirate offense went to work quickly in the top of the first. Narron shot a double down the left line and scored on a one-out single by McCollum to give ECU a 1-0 advantage.
Coastal Carolina responded in the home half of the first. Taylor Sweigart drew a one-out walk before Rosado cleared the fence in center to put the Chanticleers on top by one. Dean then homered to center on the first pitch she saw to make it 3-1. Coastal tacked on two more with a two-run triple off the bat of Abbey Montoya to end the frame with a 5-1 cushion.
The Chants threatened to add to the lead in the bottom of the second when Makiya Thomas stroked a leadoff double to left center and moved to third on a passed ball. However, Sweigart struck out swinging and Poepping nailed Thomas at home on a fielder’s choice play. Dean then flied out to center to terminate the inning.
The home side scored again in the fourth. Ally Clegg doubled to right field to lead things off before Thomas lined a two-bagger to right to score Clegg. With two on and two outs, Dean delivered her second long ball of the contest that propelled Coastal to a 9-1 lead.
East Carolina was able to dent the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded following a single by sophomore outfielder Faith Jarvis and a pair of hit Pirate batters, McCollum lifted a ball deep to center field that was caught but allowed Jarvis and Narron to score to slice the deficit to six. The Pirates could not avoid the run rule in the bottom of the inning as the Chanticleers plated two runs on a hit and another ECU error.
Game Two: East Carolina 9, Coastal Carolina 1
Junior infielder Ashleigh Inae and Estes both rapped out a pair of hits apiece in the victory while Narron and freshman utility Emma Anthony scored two runs each. Inae and Anthony also both tallied two RBI. Rosado notched a pair of hits in the losing effort.
Junior RHP Kama Woodall (3-0) finished a strong two days by tossing her second complete game in as many games to earn the win. She limited the hosts to just one earned run on seven hits and collected one strikeout against two walks.
Raelee Brabham (0-1) took the defeat, throwing five innings and allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits with five walks and two strikeouts.
After an early Pirate threat went by the wayside in the top of the first, Anthony cleared the wall in left center with two gone in the top of the second – her first career home run that put East Carolina in front, 1-0.
The Pirates continued to put the pressure on in the top of the third. Narron and Inae singled consecutively and stood on the corners before McCollum put a ball in play that allowed Narron to score and increase the ECU advantage to 2-0. That’s where it would stay following an inning-ending double play.
Coastal Carolina broke onto the board in the bottom of the third via a sacrifice fly. Rosado attempted to score from second on a two-out single by Iyanla DeJesus, but Estes nailed her at the plate with a nice throw from right field to keep the Purple and Gold ahead by one.
East Carolina answered right away in the top of the fourth. Junior infielder Chandley Garner drew a leadoff walk before freshman catcher Sophie Wools beat out a throw to first for an infield single. Estes then laid down a sac bunt to move the runners into scoring position. Anthony followed by putting a ball in play and getting to first while Garner crossed home to make it 3-1. An error by the CCU catcher brought in the fourth run and a two-run double by Inae capped the half inning with the Pirates holding a five-run edge.
Attempting to deliver the knockout blow, ECU was able to load the bases with one out in its half of the fifth. However, a foul out and strikeout left the bags full.
The Pirates wouldn’t let another opportunity go to waste. With one out, Inae, McCollum and sophomore infielder Bailey Ledvina each drew walks to load the bases. A fielding error at short brought two in and Estes poked an RBI single into left field for a third run that left East Carolina with a 9-1 lead.
Woodall finished the job in the bottom of the sixth, working around a one-out single to preserve the run-rule victory.
Up Next: East Carolina travels across the state to Charlotte Wednesday for a non-conference contest against the 49ers. First pitch at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium is slated for 3 p.m.