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ECU Softball Sweeps Longwood, 5-0 And 5-2

GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina used three big innings to earn a pair of wins over Longwood on Wednesday evening, taking 5-0 and 5-2 victories. In the opener, a two-run pinch-hit single off the bat of junior Cicely Lopez delivered the game-winning tally as the Pirates scored five times in the bottom of the sixth. In the nightcap, three runs in the first inning, on an RBI triple from sophomore Jordan Lewis and two-run home run by senior Suzanne Riggs, and two more in the sixth with a double by sophomore Jasmine Robbins provided ECU (19-25) with its offense. Lewis finished the doubleheader five-for-six with two runs scored and one batted in.

During game one, freshman Courtney Smith (5-10) earned the win, throwing her first career shutout. She blanked the Lancers on just three hits and struck out three without walking a batter. The three hits are tied for the fewest surrendered in a start by Smith this season. Libby Morris (10-12) suffered the loss for the Lancers, allowing five runs, two earned, on nine hits and a walk. She also fanned three in the complete game.

The second contest had freshman Sarah Christian (14-15) pick up the win, throwing all seven innings and giving up two runs, one earned, on five hits. Like Smith, Christian also recorded three strikeouts. Longwood's Ashley Cornell (10-8) was saddled with the loss after throwing six innings and surrendering five runs, four earned, on nine hits and a walk. She threw one wild pitch and tallied three whiffs.

In the opener, the Lancers (26-23) registered the first scoring opportunity in the top of the second inning. Ashley Kramer led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout, but a fly out and groundout left her on the bag.

East Carolina mounted a threat in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases but failing to score. Riggs led off reaching on an error and Lewis followed with a single to put runners on first and second. A sacrifice bunt by senior Priscilla Velasquez moved the pair up a base, but a fielder's choice by sophomore Rebecca Lee resulted in Riggs being thrown out at the plate. With two outs, Robbins was hit by a pitch to fill the bases before a strikeout stranded all three.

The Pirates had another opportunity in the bottom of the third but could not push across a run. Sophomore Jill Jelnick led off with a single to left field, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a groundout, but was left on the bag after a foul out and groundout.

ECU left two more on base in the bottom of the fifth to keep the game scoreless. Sophomore Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin led off working a walk on an eight-pitch at-bat. Jelnick moved her to second with a sacrifice bunt and sophomore Kristi Oshiro singled off the glove of Morris to put runners on the corners with one out. Oshiro stole second base, but consecutive groundouts kept the pair on base.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Pirates broke through with all five of the game's runs. Lewis led off with her season-high, and career-high-matching, third hit of the contest, singling up the middle. Velasquez's third sacrifice bunt of the game moved Lewis to second and she went to third on a single by Lee. With runners on the corners, Robbins sent a check swing grounder back to Morris, who threw to first, but Courtney Long dropped the ball to load the bases with one out. Lopez stepped in as the pinch hitter and sent the first pitch down the right-field line for a single that brought in Lewis and Lee. After a strikeout, Oshiro singled up the middle to drive in Robbins and Kaluhiokalani-Glackin, who had re-entered to run for Lopez. Sophomore Alex Fieldhouse made it a five-run advantage with a double to right center that plated Oshiro before Morris' second strikeout of the frame ended the inning.

Smith completed the shutout in the seventh, allowing only one base runner. Kramer reached on a throwing error by Fieldhouse at third base to open the inning, but a pair of fly outs around a fielder's choice ended the game.

In the second game, Longwood jumped on the Pirates for a run in the top of the first with the help of three consecutive ECU errors. Leta Bressin started the contest reaching on a fielding error by Christian. She advanced to second on a Kori Nishitomi bunt single and to third when Fieldhouse's throw was wide and got away from Oshiro, who was covering first. With Megan Baltzell at the plate, Nishitomi took off for second and catcher Lee's throw sailed into center field, allowing Bressin to score. Baltzell moved Nishitomi to third with a sacrifice bunt, but Christian got out of trouble with a groundout and strikeout.

The Pirates responded in the bottom of the frame with three runs to go ahead 3-1. Jelnick led off with a single and, after a foul out, went to second on a wild pitch. Lopez flew out to the warning track in center, allowing Jelnick to move to third. Lewis came through with a two-out triple, the first of her career, to right center, bringing in Jelnick. Riggs followed with a two-run homer to left, putting ECU up a pair. Cornell ended the frame catching a line drive off the bat of Velasquez.

After the first two Longwood batters reached base, Christian did not allow another until Leigh Sexton singled to center field with two outs in the fifth inning, a span of 14-straight batters retired. Christian promptly ended the frame with a fly out to Lewis in right field.

ECU did not manage much off Cornell following the first inning as the team had just two runners get to second base until the bottom of the sixth, when the Pirates added two more runs to go up 5-1. Riggs led off with a double and Velasquez reached on a fielding error. A sacrifice bunt by sophomore Abby Wynne moved both up a base before Robbins ripped a double to left, bringing home the pair. After a strikeout, Jelnick singled to center, advancing Robbins to third, but a fly out to left by Oshiro ended the inning.

In the top of the seventh, the Lancers scored once before Christian ended the contest. Kramer and Jordan Cox hit consecutive singles to start the frame. Long struck out swinging before Sexton hit into a fielder's choice, leaving runners on the corners with two down. With Brittney Latka at the plate, Sexton took off for second base and got caught in a rundown between first and second. Sexton slid safely back into first and Kramer came home during the play. Christian ended the game with a Latka groundout to Oshiro.

East Carolina remains at home for this weekend's Conference USA series with Southern Miss (12-24, 4-11 C-USA). The teams play a doubleheader Saturday, which will be Youth Day, starting at 1:00 p.m. with the finale set for 12:00 p.m. Sunday. The Pirates have won the last seven meetings with the Golden Eagles.

Post-Game Notes
-- Freshman Courtney Smith earned the victory in back-to-back starts for the first time in her career as she also won Sunday at Houston.
-- In Smith's last six starts, she has gone 3-2 with a 2.87 earned run average. In her previous six starts, she went 0-4 with a 12.39 ERA.
-- Freshman Sarah Christian earned her 14th victory, tied for the fifth most in a year by a rookie in program history. Toni Paisley holds the freshman record with 21 wins in 2007.
-- Sophomore Alex Fieldhouse's double in the first game extended her hitting streak to a career-high-matching six games.
-- In the last five contests, Fieldhouse has tallied four runs batted in after going 18 consecutive games without an RBI.
-- Senior Priscilla Velasquez put down her 10th, 11th and 12th sacrifice bunts of the season in the opener to take over the team and Conference USA lead from sophomore Kristi Oshiro. Velasquez had nine sacrifice bunts through her first three seasons.
-- Velasquez's three sacrifice hits in the opener tied the Conference USA single-game record, shared by nine players, including Oshiro, who had three March 18, 2012, at Tulsa.
-- East Carolina scored six runs with two outs during the doubleheader. In the last three games, the Pirates have pushed across 11 runs with two down.
-- Pirate associate head coach Natalie Kozlowski recorded the 475th victory of her East Carolina career with the triumph in the opener.
-- ECU finished the 2012 nonconference regular season with a 14-15 record. A year ago, the squad went 22-10 in nonleague action.
-- The Pirates have gone 11-5 this season inside the ECU Softball Stadium. Since the facility opened last year, East Carolina has a 31-16 record (.660 winning percentage) at home.


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