ECU softball splits DH with Wichita State

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WICHITA, Kan. – Down to its last chance in the top of the seventh in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader at Wichita State, East Carolina plated seven runs in the frame to defeat Wichita State 8-4 and salvage a split of the twinbill at Wilkins Stadium. The Shockers won the first contest of the day by a 7-4 margin.

With their first American Athletic Conference victory of the season, the Pirates move to 10-15 overall and 1-2 in league play while Wichita State is now 19-5 and 2-1.

Game One: Wichita State 7, East Carolina 4
Ashleigh Inae rapped out three hits in the opening contest, but the Shockers generated a flurry of offense in their first at bats to claim a lead they would never relinquish. Neleigh Herring paced WSU with two hits, a run scored and two RBI.

Erin Poepping (3-5) was saddled with the loss, giving up seven runs on nine hits with six walks and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Erin McDonald (7-1) picked up the victory with a complete game effort, allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts.

In a replica of Friday’s series opener, Wichita State struck for a quartet of runs on four hits and two walks in the bottom of the first inning. A two-run single by Herring was followed with a two-run double off the bat of Ryleigh Buck.

East Carolina threatened in the top of the second with runners on the corners and no outs after a Logyn Estes walk and Bailey Ledvina single. Taylor Woodring was hit by a pitch to load the bases after consecutive strikeouts, but a liner to right field left the bags full of Pirates.

Estes halved ECU’s deficit in the top of the third. With Inae on base, the second-year freshman took a 1-0 offering and drilled it over the wall in center to make it 4-2.

The Pirates were able to cut the Shocker advantage down to one in the top of the fifth. After Kaylee Huecker homered to lead off the bottom of the fourth, Chandley Garner answered with a two-run jack in the top of the fifth to put the score at 5-4. A pair of bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the fifth proved costly, affording Wichita State some breathing room. East Carolina could not muster much else on offense the rest of the way.

Game Two: East Carolina 8, Wichita State 4
The first home run and grand slam of Woodring’s Pirate career capped a furious seventh-inning rally that turned a 4-1 deficit into an 8-4 lead as ECU vanquished the Shockers for the third time in series history.
Olivia Narron, Ledvina and Garner all rapped out a pair of base hits while Woodring finished with four RBI via the grand slam. Addison Barnard 2-for-3 with a run scored and three RBI for Wichita State.

Kama Woodall (5-8) was strong in relief, tossing three scoreless innings while limiting the home team to just one hit and striking out three Shocker hitters to earn the victory. Bailey Lange (9-2) was handed just her second loss of the campaign as East Carolina tagged her for five runs (four earned) on three hits in just one inning. She walked one and struck out two.

The Pirates attempted to take their first lead of the weekend in the top of the first. Narron reached on a fielding error at second base to lead things off before Inae beat out a throw to first for an infield single. With one out, Garner moved the runners into scoring position via a sacrifice bunt, but a fly ball to left was caught to leave the bags juiced.

ECU menaced again in the top of the second. Sydney Yoder drew a leadoff walk and Sophie Wools singled to left field. A strikeout, fielder’s choice forceout and groundout terminated the threat, however.

Barnard put the first run of the contest on the board in the bottom of the third with a two-out solo home run. Garner answered with her second long ball of the day to knot the score in the top of the fifth.

A Huecker leadoff double in the home half of the fifth put Wichita State in business. Sydney McKinney and Barnard cashed in with a pair of singles that plated three total runs to give the home team a 4-1 cushion.

With the Pirates trailing by three entering the seventh, the inning began with singles by Rachel McCollum and Garner. Estes then reached on a fielding error to load the bases before Ledvina singled to center to plate pinch runner Gianna Edwards and Garner and draw East Carolina within one. Yoder was then hit by a pitch to re-load the bases. With one away, Woodring worked a 2-2 count before lining one over the wall in right field to propel the Pirates into the lead by three. Narron later scored on a wild pitch to cap the inning and send ECU to the home half ahead by four.

A McKinney one-out single was all for the Shockers in the bottom of the seventh as Woodall closed it out with foul out and pop up on the infield.

Up Next: The teams will play the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m.

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