ECU softball team coasts past Memphis in series opener

ECU Pirates

Bailey Ledvina (ECU Sports Information photo)

GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina claimed the opener of its final American Athletic Conference series of the regular season Friday afternoon, defeating Memphis 8-1 at Max R. Joyner Family Stadium.

The Pirates, who have won consecutive league contests for the first time this campaign, improve to 13-32 overall and 4-17 in AAC play while the Tigers drop to 9-37 and 2-19.

Kama Woodall (8-18) turned in another solid performance in the circle, tossing her 14th complete game of the season while limiting Memphis to one earned run on six hits. She did not walk a batter and finished with three strikeouts. Mariah Nichols (3-11) took the loss, surrendering four runs (all earned) on four hits with six walks and a strikeout.

Chandley Garner and Bailey Ledvina both notched home runs and drove in three runs apiece while Rachel McCollum posted a two-hit, two-RBI effort. Gracie Morton went 2-for-2 with a run scored for the visitors.

After Woodall made quick work of the Tiger order in the top of the first, ECU cranked up its offense in the home half. Olivia Narron drew a one-out walk before McCollum laced a double down the left field line to score Narron and put the Pirates ahead 1-0. Ledvina later followed with an RBI single that plated McCollum and left East Carolina with a 2-0 advantage through one complete.

The pitchers traded zeros the next three innings before Memphis scratched across its lone run off an RBI bunt single in the top of the fifth. The Tigers threatened for more in the frame, but the Pirates doused the rally with a double play to preserve the one-run cushion.

Ledvina afforded ECU some breathing room in the bottom of the fifth, launching a two-run home run over the wall in left center to extend the Pirate lead to 4-1. East Carolina put the game away in the bottom of the sixth as Garner hit her 10th home run of the season – a three-run shot as part of a four-run stanza that provided the final margin of victory.

Up Next: The Pirates and Tigers continue the series Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at Noon.

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