TULSA, Okla. – The East Carolina softball team dropped two games to Tulsa Saturday at the Hardesty Softball Complex as the Golden Hurricane won 5-2 and 8-4 decisions. The Pirates fall to 23-15 overall and 4-4 in C-USA while the Golden Hurricane improves to 20-15 and 7-4 in conference play.
ECU produced two singles by Charina Sumner and Christina Merrida to begin the first inning, but Tulsa was able to retire the last three batters to get out of the half-inning. The Golden Hurricane took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Lindsey Tower doubled to left center, scoring Kailey Yarmer with two outs.
Tulsa extended its lead in the bottom of the third, plating two runs to make the score 3-0. After the Pirates recorded the first two outs, the Golden Hurricane drew a walk, slapped a single and used a double by Kelly Chapman to account for the scores.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Tulsa put the game away with a two-run double by Sara Dyer. After the fifth run, freshman Suzanne Riggs entered the game to pitch for junior starter Brooke Swann. Riggs was able to hold the Golden Hurricane scoreless the rest of the contest, allowing just one hit to give East Carolina the chance to rally.
The Pirates attempted to tie the game in the top of the seventh, receiving a pair of one-out, bases loaded walks by Tulsa pitcher Jordan Kinard to whittle the margin down to 5-2. However, Stacey Andrews flew out and Angel Barrella grounded out to end the contest.
Swann suffered her 11th loss of the season. She allowed five earned runs on seven hits while striking out one and walking five. Sophomore Cristen Aona recorded her ninth RBI in her last six games while hitting 1-for-3 in the contest.
The Golden Hurricane took a 3-0 lead in game two in the bottom of the first, using two walks, four wild pitches, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly to account for the runs. ECU fought back in the top of the third, when Sumner and Andrews singled and Merrida walked to load the bases with two outs. The next batter, Jessica Johnson, laced a single down the left field line to score Sumner and Andrews, cutting the Tulsa lead to 3-2.
After freshman Suzanne Riggs, who replaced fellow rookie Britt Howell in the first inning, walked the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the third, Kelly Chapman delivered the big blow, a grand slam to left center field that gave Tulsa a commanding 7-2 advantage. The Golden Hurricane added another run in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 8-2.
The Pirates used back-to-back home runs from Tiffany Shaw and Kaui Tom to pull within 8-4. The long ball was the second of Shaw’s career. However, that would be the end of the scoring for East Carolina as Tulsa completed the sweep.
Howell took the loss for the Pirates, giving up two runs on no hits and walking two. She now stands at 5-3 on the season. Johnson and Tom combined to hit 4-for-8 with three RBI and a run scored.
The Pirates close the series tomorrow as the final game is scheduled for 1 p.m.