USF wins 21st in a row; Bulls blank ECU, 8-0

GREENVILLE, N.C. – USF finished off an American Athletic Conference series sweep of East Carolina Saturday with an 8-0, six-inning victory at the ECU Softball Stadium.

The Bulls (29-9, 3-0 AAC), who have won 21-straight games, out-hit the Pirates (18-16, 0-3 AAC) by a 10-5 margin while both teams played a clean defensive game with no errors.

Senior shortstop Casey Alcorn and senior outfielder Nicole Cheek both tallied two-hit performances while senior catcher (hitting as the designated player) Kelsi Briggs drew a pair of walks. Lee Ann Spivey went 4-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI to pace the USF offensive efforts.

Erica Nunn (15-5) tossed 4.2 scoreless innings and struck out three to earn the win in the circle. She scattered four hits and walked three batters in the 90-pitch outing. Junior RHP Lydia Ritchie (11-6) threw her 10th complete game of the campaign for ECU, surrendering eight runs on 10 hits with five walks and five strikeouts.

How it Happened: Spivey put the Bulls ahead early in the top of the first, sending a 2-0 offering from Ritchie over the fence in left center and scoring Wyckoff who led off the game with a double. USF increased its advantage to 5-0 in the top of the second, scoring three runs on two hits – including a two-run double off the bat of Wyckoff. With the Bulls leading 7-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, East Carolina had its best chance to dent the scoreboard as Alcorn singled and Briggs walked with two outs. After a pitching change, sophomore third baseman Karlie Smith lined out to third to terminate the threat. USF scored its final run in the top of the sixth via a fielder’s choice play with the bases loaded and the Pirates were retired in order in the home half to end the contest.

Bits and Pieces: ECU fell to 9-17 all-time against USF and 2-6 in Greenville … The Pirates were swept in their opening AAC series for the second-straight season … Four of the Bulls’ eight RBI occurred with two outs in an inning … The Bulls had their leadoff hitter reach base in four of the six innings … The teams combined to leave 15 runners on base … East Carolina dropped to 4-5 at home while USF improved to 3-0 in true road games.

Up Next: The Pirates complete their four-game homestand Tuesday, welcoming Longwood to the ECU Softball Stadium for a single non-conference contest. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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