GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina softball continued to position itself for the upcoming C-USA tournament as it split a doubleheader with UAB on Saturday afternoon at the ECU Softball Field. The Pirates turned back the Blazers 3-1 in the first contest before UAB rebounded to take game two, 2-0. ECU now sports an overall record of 34-27 and a C-USA mark of 9-12 while the Blazers are now 24-33 on the season and 9-14 in conference play.
Kayla Harris put UAB in the lead in game one, 1-0, as she laced a two-out RBI-single through the right side, scoring Leigh Walker who had singled to lead off the contest. However, the Pirates responded quickly. In the bottom half of the first, Angel Barrella singled to right field before Charina Sumner reached first on an infield single. Both runners moved ahead a base when Jessica Johnson put down a sacrifice bunt. With Vanessa Moreno at the plate, Blazer hurler Harris was called for an illegal pitch, allowing Barrella to score and Sumner to move to third. With the score 1-1, Moreno reached first on an error by the UAB shortstop that saw Sumner race home to give East Carolina a 2-1 lead after the first inning.
The Pirates benefitted from another illegal pitch by Harris to take a 3-1 advantage in the bottom of the third. Christina Merrida led off the half-inning with an infield single and then reached second on a sac bunt by Barrella. A Sumner groundout helped Merrida advance to third and into position to score on the illegal pitch.
ECU pitcher Brooke Swann allowed just one hit over the last four innings, as she picked up her 22nd win of the season against 18 losses. It was the 30th victory of her career, moving her into a tie for 10th-place on the Pirate career ledger while the 22 wins tie her for ninth-place on the East Carolina single-season chart. The triumph also marked Swann's 26th complete game of the season and 34th of her career, both good for a tie for tenth-place on the respective Top 10 lists.
Game two turned out to be a pitching duel through the first four innings as each squad produced just one hit in those innings. Kayla Harris led off the top of the second with a single to center while Cristen Aona poked a single up the middle to lead off the bottom half of the second.
The Blazers broke through in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs on three hits to assume a 2-0 lead. A fielder's choice play on a ball hit by Harris and a RBI-single by Walker accounted for the scores. The Pirates received a leadoff walk from Sumner in the bottom of the sixth, but Johnson grounded into a double play to erase the ECU scoring hopes as Jennifer Nelson retired the Pirates in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win for UAB. Despite the loss, freshman Suzanne Riggs notched a career-high seven strikeouts.
Both teams will end their regular seasons tomorrow at the ECU Softball Field as the series closes with a contest scheduled for 12 p.m. East Carolina will then head to Houston for the 2008 edition of the C-USA Tournament.