BATON ROUGE, La. – The East Carolina softball team defeated Mississippi Valley State, 4-2, for its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory Saturday afternoon before 945 fans at LSU’s Tiger Park. The Pirates improve to 37-29 on the season and 1-1 in the Baton Rouge Regional. The Devilettes end their season at 28-28 after making their fifth appearance in the NCAA Championship.
MVSU jumped ahead in the top of the second. Angelia Jones doubled with one out which moved Megan Hays to third base. Hays had walked to lead off the inning. Then, Pirate hurler Brooke Swann unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Hays to score, putting the Devilettes ahead 1-0.
ECU responded in the bottom half of the second. Back-to-back doubles by Vanessa Moreno and Angel Barrella tied the game before Cristen Aona belted a long ball off of the scoreboard to score Barrella, making the score 3-1 in the Pirates’ favor.
After Christina Merrida recorded her second infield single of the contest in the bottom of the third, she advanced to second on a Stacey Andrews groundout. With Jessica Johnson at the plate, Merrida would score from second on a botched throw to first by MVSU pitcher Nikki Stouder to increase the East Carolina lead to 4-1. Swann would allow just three hits the rest of the way to close out the game.
Swann earned her 25th win of the season, throwing her 30th complete game in 53 appearances. She struck out four while walking four, also allowing two earned runs. Merrida ended the contest 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored to boost the offense.
The Pirates advance to face the No. 9 national seed LSU in another elimination contest Saturday evening at approximately 7 p.m. ET.