ECU softball wins, completes sweep of Memphis

ECU Pirates

ECU seniors (ECU Sports Information photo)

GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina sent its eight-member senior class off in style Sunday morning, polishing off a four-game sweep of American Athletic Conference foe Memphis 4-2 inside Max R. Joyner Family Stadium.

The Pirates (16-32, 7-17 AAC) swept their first league series since 2018 when they traveled to Connecticut and won all three at Burrill Family Field. ECU also matched the 2015 squad for the second-most AAC wins a single season since joining the conference. Meanwhile, the Tigers end their regular season at 9-40 and 2-22.

East Carolina used a trio of senior pitchers in the contest as Erin Poepping, Whitney Sanford and Kama Woodall combined for 11 strikeouts and no walks. Sanford (3-0) was the winning pitch in relief while Woodall picked up her first save of the campaign by tossing a perfect final three innings. She struck out four and retired all nine batters she faced. Mariah Nichols (2-12) suffered the loss in relief, surrendering two runs (none earned) on three hits with a walk and a strikeout.

A duo of seniors also led the way offensively. Olivia Narron and Rachel McCollum combined to go 4-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI while fellow senior Ashleigh Inae finished 1-for-2 with two runs scored from the leadoff position. Lanya Bates and Alyssa Dean each recorded a hit and RBI for Memphis.

Poepping got the Pirates off the quick start in the top of the first, striking out the Tiger side in order. As it did all weekend, ECU then struck for some early runs. Inae drew a leadoff walk before moving to second on a Narron sacrifice bunt. McCollum then singled on the infield to put runners at the corners for Chandley Garner who singled to left and plated Inae for a 1-0 East Carolina advantage. Logyn Estes was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out before Taylor Woodring also wore a pitch to push McCollum across home plate and leave the Pirates with a 2-0 lead after one complete.

Bates cut the ECU advantage to 2-1 with an RBI single in the top of the third before Dean knotted the score with a solo home run in the top of the fourth. The Pirates responded in the home half of the inning, netting two unearned runs to grab the lead back for good. Inae was hit by a pitch before Narron singled to left. McCollum then hit a sharp grounder to short as the Tiger fielder attempted to throw Inae out at third. However, her throw was wide of the bag, allowing both Inae and Narron to scamper home.

Neither side really threatened to score again as Woodall fittingly ended the contest by fanning Camryn Wineinger to clinch the series sweep.

Up Next: East Carolina will be the No. 6 seed for the American Athletic Conference Softball Championship which is scheduled for May 13-15 at the Collins Family Softball Complex in Tulsa, Okla. The Pirates will find out their opponent at the end of Sunday’s league slate.

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