ECU Softball splits opening day of 2018 season in Miami

MIAMI, Fla. – The ECU softball team split its opening two games of the 2018 campaign Friday at the Felsberg Invitational, blanking Big East Conference preseason favorite St. John’s 4-0 before falling by a 3-0 scoreline to SEC member South Carolina. The Gamecocks reached a NCAA regional last year and received votes in the 2018 preseason top 25 polls.

Team Records: ECU (1-1) | St. John’s (0-1) | South Carolina (1-0)

How it Happened (Game One): The Pirates emerged victorious in the opener behind a complete-game shutout by freshman RHP Erin Poepping. The contest was scoreless until the top of the sixth inning when freshman outfielder Tyler King reached on a throwing error at first and advanced to second. Senior infielder Meredith Burroughs then singled to center field to plate King and put ECU ahead 1-0. The Purple and Gold put the game away in the top of the seventh, plating three runs on two hits and another Red Storm error. Poepping (1-0) finished the job in the home half, sending St. John’s down in order. McKenzie Murray (0-1) took the loss for St. John’s, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits with five walks and two strikeouts.

How it Happened (Game Two): South Carolina broke open a pitchers’ duel in the fifth inning to earn the win over the Pirates in Friday’s second contest. The Gamecocks plated an unearned run in the bottom of the second before using a Mackenzie Boesel two-run home run in the home half of the fifth to provide the final three-run margin. The teams combined for just five hits in the game. Freshman RHP Whitney Sanford (0-1) was saddled with the loss while Cayla Drotar (1-0) picked up the complete-game win by limiting the Pirates to one hit and recording six strikeouts.

ECU Top Performers (Game One)
Ashley Weingartz: 2-for-3, 1 RBI
Meredith Burroughs: 1-for-3, 2 RBI, BB
Erin Poepping: 7.0 IP, 0 runs, 6 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts

St. John’s Top Performers
Christina Melendez: 3-for-3, 2B
Savannah Warren: 1-for-3, 2B

ECU Top Performers (Game Two)
Logan Wood: 1-for-1
Kendra Ziemba: 1 BB, SB
Whitney Sanford: 4.1 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 0 BB, 4 strikeouts

South Carolina Top Performers
Mackenzie Boesel: 2-for-3, 2 RBI, HR
Cayla Drotar: 7.0 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

Things To Note

ECU improved to 25-10 in season openers and has won five of the last six.

The Pirates improved to 8-4 against St. John’s and fell to 3-21 versus South Carolina.

Freshman infielder Ashleigh Inae recorded her first collegiate base hit in the first contest of the doubleheader.

The ECU pitching staff limited both teams to just one walk while the Pirate batters drew seven.

A total of four ECU players made their first collegiate appearances during the day (Inae, King, Anna Epling and Caelyn Elwin).

Up Next: ECU is back in action Saturday in Miami, taking on Hofstra at 9 a.m. before battling St. John’s in a rematch at 11:15.