GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina softball team defeated UTEP by scores of 6-3 and 2-1 in a Conference USA doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at the ECU Softball Stadium.
East Carolina (27-18, 14-9 C-USA) got the offense going in its first at-bats of the day, as Shelby Johnson reached after being hit by a pitch and Kristi Oshiro followed up with a two-run home run to left centerfield to take an early 2-0 lead.
UTEP (16-34, 8-15 C-USA) cut its deficit in half in the top of the second on a line-drive solo home run to lead off the inning, and just as ECU brought its advantage back to two after an infield RBI single by Abby Wynne in the bottom of the third, the Miners tacked on a run in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly to inch cut the Pirates’ lead back to one.
East Carolina pulled ahead by three after clutch back-to-back RBI doubles with two outs in the bottom of the fifth by Oshiro and Wynne made the score 5-2. UTEP manufactured a run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth to move back within two of ECU, but Casey Alcorn added an insurance run with a solo homer in the bottom of the frame to increase the lead to 6-3.
Junior pitcher Caroline Umphlett (9-5) earned the complete-game win for the fourth time in as many starts, allowing six hits, three walks and three runs while striking out three.
Oshiro went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and three RBI, while Wynne also had a 2-for-3 performance with two RBI. Johnson did not record an official at-bat, but walked twice, scored two times, stole her 32nd and 33rd bases of the year and extended her reached-base streak to 15 in a row.
In game two, UTEP scored a run as a result of two ECU errors in the top of the first inning, but that would be all the offense the Miners would produce for the rest of the afternoon, as East Carolina junior Sarah Christian (17-8) was dominant in the circle.
UTEP held its 1-0 lead all the way until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Pirates loaded the bases with one out. That was when senior Jill Jelnick recorded her second hit of the game, a two-run single to left to put ECU ahead for good.
Christian breezed through her final three innings of work to finish off her 49th-career complete game which ties her with Stacey Boyette (1984-86) for the eighth most in program history. The Greenville native finished the day allowing just five hits and two walks while recording four strikeouts.
East Carolina will host its final Conference USA game in Sunday’s series finale. The game will also mark the team’s Senior Day with first pitch scheduled for 12 noon.