ECU Softball Earns Split On Opening Day Of Pirate Clash

GREENVILLE, N.C.  (ECU Media Relations) – After picking up a 10-inning, 6-5 walkoff victory over UMass in its opener of the Pirate Clash Friday, the East Carolina softball team fell to Bucknell 6-1 in the nightcap to wrap up the first day of action at the ECU Softball Stadium.

The Pirates move to 4-4 overall with the split while UMass remains winless at 0-5, St. Francis sits at 4-3 and Bucknell improves to 2-0. In Friday’s earlier contests, St. Francis defeated UMass 13-6 before the Red Flash dropped a 5-3 decision to the Bison.

Freshman RHP Mary Williams picked up the first win of her collegiate career against the Minutewomen, tossing 7.2 innings of relief allowing just three runs (none earned) on three hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts. Meg Colleran suffered her first loss of the year after throwing nine complete innings and allowing six runs (three earned) on nine hits with two walks and a strikeout.

In the final game of the day, sophomore RHP Ashley Cruise dropped to 2-2 in a six-inning outing. She hurled six innings and gave up six runs (four earned) while striking out seven batters against three walks. Dana Nielsen nabbed her first win of the season pitching six innings and allowing one run on six hits with three walks and nine strikeouts.

Senior shortstop Casey Alcorn and sophomore third baseman Karlie Smith picked up three hits apiece over the two contests while Smith drove in three runs. Ashton Wince and Kaycee Carbone paced UMass with a pair of hits each. As for the Bison offense, Lauren Hadley rapped out four hits in as many at bats and Amanda Fazio scored two runs.

How it Happened (Game 1): After a quiet top of the first by the Minutewomen, senior outfielder Meredith Mitchell led off the home half with a walk. Sophomore outfielder Sloan Bradford then singled up the middle and stole second. Alcorn delivered a RBI single to right field that put ECU up 1-0 before Smith posted a sac fly later in the inning to leave East Carolina with a 2-0 lead after one complete. UMass put two runners in scoring position in the top of the second but couldn’t capitalize as Ritchie induced a grounder to escape the jam. The Minutewomen struck for two runs in the top of the third on three hits to knot the score at two as Tara Klee and Wince came through with a RBI single each. The Pirates had a great chance to retake the lead in the bottom of the fourth as Smith and senior catcher Kelsi Briggs led off with consecutive singles. However, a fielder’s choice, a fly ball out and a groundout terminated the threat. Neither team put up much of anything in the next three innings as ECU went to extra innings for the first time this season. The sides traded runs in the eighth and ninth frames with the international tiebreaker rule in effect as the contest moved on to the 10th inning. UMass scratched across a two-out run via a Carbone single to move in front 5-4 heading to the bottom half but an error at third base put runners at the corners with no outs for the Pirates. A wild pitch moved senior catcher Alex Mycek to second before Smith played hero and laced the two-run, walkoff double down the right field line to give ECU the one-run victory.

How it Happened (Game 2): Bucknell put two runners on board in the top of the first but Christina Martinez struck out swinging to keep the Bison at bay. East Carolina put up a threat in the bottom of the third as freshman first baseman Morgan Halo led off with a single to left. Mitchell followed with a one out single before a strikeout and foul out ended the inning with no runs coming across the plate. Bucknell would get all it needed in the top of the fourth, plating five runs on four hits and a pair of ECU errors. The Pirates began to battle back in the bottom of the fifth as Alcorn put her team on the board with a RBI single, but the Bison responded with a run of their own in the top of the sixth to provide the game’s final margin.

Bits and Pieces: East Carolina picked up its first-ever win over UMass and improved to 1-1 against the Minutewomen but fell to 3-4 all-time against Bucknell … The Pirates recorded 15 hits in the two games, including four doubles of which three were off the bat of Smith … ECU improved to 2-1 when out-hitting its opponent but 0-3 when getting out-hit … East Carolina won its first extra-inning contest of the season after going 3-4 in the same situation last season … Briggs stretched her hitting streak to six games with a base knock in the opener before going hitless against the Bison … The Pirates improved to 26-11 all-time in the Pirate Clash event and 73-59 at the ECU Softball Stadium.

Up Next: East Carolina faces off against Bucknell and St. Francis at 3 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday in games seven and eight of the Pirate Clash.

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