ECU handed league leader USF its first American Athletic Conference series loss of the campaign Sunday, downing the Bulls 3-2 in walkoff fashion inside the ECU Softball Stadium. The Pirates have won six of their last seven AAC games and two-straight conference series.
ECU: 21-26 (7-8 AAC)
USF: 32-18 (10-5 AAC)
How it Happened
ECU put up the best chance to score the game’s first runs in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with one out when redshirt sophomore Tate McClellan was hit by a pitch, junior Ashley Weingartz singled to center and senior Karlie Smith reached on a fielding error at third. However, a force out at home and a strikeout stranded the bases full of Pirates.
The Bulls grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth when Astin Donovan hit a leadoff triple down the right field line and scored on a Lindsey Devitt single up the middle. Samantha Worrell added a two-out RBI double to leave USF with a 2-0 advantage through four complete innings.
The Pirates threatened again in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore Olivia Narron put the pressure on the defense and laid down a bunt that the third baseman couldn’t throw accurately to first base. After a bunt pop up, freshman Ashleigh Inae unloaded on an 0-1 offering and lifted a two-run home run over the right field fence to tie the game.
Freshman Erin Poepping worked through the USF lineup in the sixth and seventh innings, stranding three runners in all to give ECU a chance to win it in the home half of the seventh. Sophomore Kendra Ziemba singled to center to lead things off and advanced to second base on a fielding error in the outfield. Narron then reached base safely again when the Bulls’ defense couldn’t handle a bunt attempt cleanly. With runners at the corners and no outs, freshman Tyler King worked a beautiful at bat and eventually hit a slow roller to the shortstop who could not throw home in time as Ziemba slid home for the walkoff victory.
Pitchers of Record
WP – Erin Poepping (11-12)
LP – Hannah Parker (6-5)
Top ECU Performers
Ashleigh Inae: 2-for-3, Run, 2 RBI, HR
Kendra Ziemba: 1-for-3, Run
Erin Poepping: 3.1 IP, 0 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Walks, 1 Strikeout
Top USF Performers
Astin Donovan: 2-for-2, Run, Walk, 3B
Lindsey Devitt: 1-for-1, Run, RBI
Samantha Worrell: 1-for-2, RBI, 2B
Things to Note
- The Pirates improved to 11-21 against the Bulls in the all-time series and won their first series over USF since 2015.
- ECU matched its most league victories in a single season since also winning seven in 2015 – its first year in the American Athletic Conference.
- The Bulls committed four costly errors in the contest, including two in the bottom of the seventh inning.
- The teams combined to go 2-for-4 with a runner on third and less than two outs.
Up Next: The Pirates continue their seven-game homestand Wednesday evening when they host in-state opponent NC State. First pitch from the ECU Softball Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m.