GREENVILLE, N.C. – No. 6 seed and host East Carolina won its first-ever American Athletic Conference Softball Championship game Wednesday, knocking off No. 3 seed UCF 4-2 in the quarterfinals at the ECU Softball Stadium.
The Pirates advance to the conference semifinals with the win and will face the winner of No. 2 Houston and No. 7 UConn Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. CT.
Team Records: East Carolina – 26-29 \\\ UCF – 29-23
East Carolina scored its first-ever run in The American Championship with a sacrifice fly by senior Kacie Oshiro in the top of the third. The Knights evened up the score at one with an RBI single off the bat of freshman Jazmine Esparza in the bottom of the fourth. The Pirates then regained the lead with back-to-back homeruns by junior Meredith Burroughs and senior Alex Mycek in the top of the sixth.
East Carolina (26-29) featured one player with a multi-hit game in senior Megan Quick as she was 2-for-3 at the dish. Four different Pirates connected on at least one hit in the victory. Megan Greenwell and Willow Kalinen each had two hits apiece for the Knights.
In the circle, Lydia Ritchie (17-15) picked up the win for East Carolina as she allowed two runs on 10 hits with no walks and a strikeout while Alea White fell to 18-15 with the loss for UCF. She surrendered four runs (three earned) on five hits with a walks and two strikeouts.
The victory was the first for the Purple and Gold in conference tournament play since 2011 when the Pirates knocked off Memphis, Houston and Tulsa in succession to win the Conference USA Tournament at home.
East Carolina upped its season home run total to 64 – a mark that currently stands as the program and AAC single-season records.
The Pirates will take on (2) Houston at 12:30pm ET on Thursday in the semifinals.