Pirate Softball Team Sweeps UNCW

The East Carolina softball team continued its historical dominance over UNC Wilmington, sweeping a doubleheader, 10-1 in six innings and 5-3, at the ECU Softball Field Wednesday afternoon. The Pirates improve to 27-18 while the Seahawks drop to 11-22-1. East Carolina now leads the all-time series between the schools 71-13.

In game one, the Pirates scored three runs off of just one hit in the bottom of the first, but were aided by two UNCW errors. Christina Merrida, Jessica Johnson and Vanessa Moreno crossed the plate for ECU in the half-inning while Andrews was credited with an RBI-single. The Seahawks loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth. However, Michelle Harrison popped up to Brooke Swann to end the half-inning.

Merrida tacked on another run for the Pirates with an RBI-single in the bottom of the fourth that scored Erin St. Ledger. St. Ledger had doubled to lead off the inning. However, UNCW would respond in the top of the fifth with a leadoff home run from Lindsay Styons that cut the ECU lead to 4-1.

The Pirates exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth, completing their fourth run rule win of the season. Paige Baggett produced two RBI in the inning while Andrews ended the contest with a three-run bomb that gave her the team lead in home runs. Johnson also tallied an RBI-double as part of the five-hit half-inning.

Swann notched her 15th win of the season in her 35th appearance of the season. She also picked up her 18th complete game, giving up just one earned run on eight hits while striking out four and walking none. Andrews, Baggett and Johnson combined to go 7-for-7 with two runs scored and seven RBI.

Game two began much the same as the first, as East Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 advantage. Charina Sumner singled to lead off the bottom of the first before Kaui Tom reached first on an error by the first baseman. After Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners ahead a base, St. Ledger laced her first triple of the season to right field, scoring Sumner and Tom.

The Seahawks received a two-out home run in the top of the second from Allison Lanouette to trim their deficit to 2-1. However, the Pirates regained their two-run advantage in the bottom of the third when Andrews smashed her second home run of the day, a towering shot that sailed over the left field wall.

UNCW drew within one run again in the top of the fourth. With one out, Styons drew a walk. She would then score when with two outs, Meghan Murray singled up the middle. However, Ashley Hill was thrown out second later at home to end the half-inning. ECU added two insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth when three consecutive hits allowed Tom and Johnson to score.

The Seahawks loaded the bases in the top of the fifth with no outs, but could only manage one run as Swann relieved starter Suzanne Riggs. Swann then shut down UNCW over the last three innings to turn away its comeback attempt.

Riggs earned her third win of the season as her record now stands at 3-1. The freshman threw four innings, scattering five hits while giving up three runs, two of which were earned. Swann earned her team and Conference USA-leading third save of the season, hurling the last three innings while giving up just two hits and striking out five. Andrews completed her stellar day, going 2-for-3 in the contest with two doubles, one run scored and two RBI.

The Pirates depart Greenville this weekend as they meet No. 10 Houston for a three-game conference series at the Cougar Softball Stadium. All three games in the series will be shown on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV). The series begins on Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled for 2 and 5:30 p.m.

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