GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina’s softball team (6-8) dropped its fifth-straight game in a 6-3 loss to Elon on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Hunt Softball Park. The loss was the first road game of the season for the Pirates. ECU ends the month of February with a losing record for only the second time since 1997.
Freshman Mary Beth Smith (1-2) started for the Pirates and was tagged with three runs and also walked three in two-thirds of an inning in taking her second loss of the season. Sophomore Sarah Christian threw 4.2 innings in relief with four runs allowed (two earned) for ECU. She fanned four and didn’t walk a batter in her stint. The win was earned by Elon’s Kayla Caruso (3-2). She went the distance without walking a batter and striking out five.
The offense was going early for both teams with eight of the nine runs in the game coming in the first two innings. The Phoenix also added a late insurance run in the sixth inning.
Junior Alex Fieldhouse and freshman Casey Alcorn each had multiple hit performances in the loss for ECU.
The Pirates wasted no time in taking a 1-0 lead in the first on Fieldhouse’s fourth home run of the season. The home run total is already a career high for the Garden Grove, Calif. native.
Elon took its first lead in the bottom of the frame. Joanna Spencer’s double to right field to drive in Tomeka Watson. Spencer scored later in the frame on Grace Eng’s two-out bases loaded single through the left side.
The Pirates took the advantage back in the next inning. Alcorn homered to center field to tie the game at two. Junior Jordan Lewis then singled to left center and took second on the error from the Elon second baseman. After the next two were retired, freshman Meredith Mitchell drove in her first career run with a single just over the infield and into left field.
Elon scored three in the bottom of the frame to take the lead back for good. Lauren Oldham and Nester singled back-to-back. Hill reached on an ECU fielding error from the first baseman to load the bases. Watson drove in the first run of the frame with a bases loaded fielder’s choice ground out. Spencer plated the next with her ground out to short. Emily Cameron then pushed a single up the middle to score Watson with the third and final run of the inning.
The third inning saw Elon threaten with Sarah Little reaching on an infield single. Caitlin O’Shea ran for her, stole second and the moved to third on a fly out to right, but it was as far as she could get as a strike out ended the inning.
The score remained 5-3 until Elon added a run to the lead in the sixth inning. Nester doubled and then moved to third and home as Hill singled, got herself in a rundown and then took second in the confusion. Watson followed with a single to right to move Hill to third. ECU then inserted sophomore Courtney Smith, who struck out the next two batters swinging, to keep the margin at three runs heading to the seventh.
The Pirates brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh inning. After Alcorn doubled to led off the frame, the next three were retired on a ground out, pop out and strike out to end ECU’s chances.
ECU now makes the trip across the country to participate in the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational from March 1-3. The Pirates begin the tournament with a contest against Binghamton at noon (ET) at Mesa Community College on March 1. East Carolina will then get back on the Arizona State campus to take on North Carolina at 4 p.m. (ET) later in the afternoon.