GREENVILLE, N.C. – Erin Poepping and Kama Woodall tossed consecutive shutouts Saturday, lifting East Carolina to a doubleheader sweep of Memphis inside Max R. Joyner Family Stadium. The Pirates downed the Tigers 3-0 in game one before notching a 4-0 victory in the nightcap to clinch their first American Athletic Conference series of the season.
The back-to-back shutouts were the first for ECU since 2017 when they defeated North Carolina Central and Connecticut by identical 4-0 margins. They were also the first in league play since 2014 when the Pirates knocked off Louisiana Tech 7-0 and 1-0 as part of a Conference USA series.
East Carolina (15-32, 6-17 AAC) has twirled shutouts in three of its last four games while Memphis (9-39, 2-21) has lost three in a row.
Game One: East Carolina 3, Memphis 0
Poepping tossed a complete-game shutout and the Pirate offense backed her with three runs as ECU took the opener of the doubleheader.
Poepping (4-9) scattered two hits and struck out six batters in the win while Hallie Siems (2-9) suffered the loss by surrendering three runs (one earned) on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Poepping allowed just one Memphis runner to advance past second base.
Chandley Garner paced all position players with a hit and RBI while Olivia Narron drew a pair of walks. Gracie Morton and Lanya Bates accounted for Memphis’ only two base knocks of the contest.
While Poepping was busy retiring the first 11 batters she faced, East Carolina grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second thanks to a bases-loaded throwing error by the Tiger second baseman. The Pirates increased the lead to three in the bottom of the third via an RBI groundout and another Memphis error.
The Tigers put up their best scoring chance in the top of the sixth, getting a runner to third with two outs, but Morton grounded out to second to terminate the half inning. Poepping retired the Memphis side in order in the top of the seventh to preserve the shutout.
Game Two: East Carolina 4, Memphis 0
ECU made two early runs stand in the nightcap, stifling the Tiger lineup for the second-straight game to complete the sweep.
Woodall (9-18) continued her strong run of pitching form, scattering six hits and striking out six batters with no walks in her 15th complete game of the campaign. Chyanne Ellett (2-11) took the loss, giving up four runs on nine hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
A trio of Pirate batters notched two hits in the contest. Ashleigh Inae added a run scored and RBI while Sydney Yoder drove in a pair of runs on the strength of her first home run of the season. Baylee Smith recorded two hits to lead visiting Memphis.
Inae got things started in the bottom of the first, ripping a leadoff single into center. After a sacrifice bunt advanced Inae to second, Rachel McCollum hit a sharp liner at the shortstop who corralled the ball and threw home. The initial call saw Inae called out, but it was reversed after the umpires determined there was catcher’s interference blocking the plate and the run stood.
East Carolina struck again in the bottom of the second. Courtney Layton pinch ran for Taylor Woodring who led off the frame with a four-pitch walk. Layton scooted over to second base following a sacrifice bunt by Sophie Wools then crossed home on an Inae single to make it 2-0.
The Pirates capped the scoring in the bottom of the sixth when Woodring singled up the middle to begin the inning and Yoder snuck an 0-1 offering just inside the left foul pole for her second career home run and a 4-0 ECU advantage. Smith tried to spark a Tiger rally in the top of the seventh with a leadoff single, but Woodall sat down three of the next four Memphis batters to end the game.
Up Next: The Pirates and Tigers close the 2021 regular season Sunday with the series finale beginning at 10:30 a.m.