GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina softball team suffered a pair of setbacks to Eastern Illinois in a mid-week, non-conference doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at the ECU Softball Stadium. The Pirates dropped game one, 12-3, they were outlasted, 7-6, in 12 innings in the second contest.
ECU (13-7, 2-1 C-USA), got off to a hot start in the first game of the day when senior Jordan Lewis ripped a two-out, two-run double to left center field in the bottom of the first inning to give the Pirates an early 2-0 edge. Eastern Illinois (18-7) struck back in the top of the third with a pair of runs to even the score at two-all.
Alex Fieldhouse hit a solo home run – her team-leading fifth of the season – to lead off the top of the fourth inning and put East Carolina back on top. The home run was the 18th of her career, creating a three-way tie with Lewis and Vanessa Moreno (2003-06) for seventh place in program history.
The Panthers put the game away in the top of the sixth with a 10-run inning with the aid of two Pirate errors and took a 12-3 lead it would not relinquish.
Fieldhouse led ECU with a 2-for-2 performance in the game to go with a walk, run and RBI. Lewis batted 1-for-3 with two RBI.
The second matchup of the day had all the makings of a pitcher’s duel from the start with each team’s starters throwing three scoreless frames. Eastern Illinois broke through with the first run of the game in the top of the fourth when it pulled off a successful double steal with runners on the corners to grab a 1-0 lead.
East Carolina evened the score at one-all after a leadoff double by Abby Wynne, a single by Lewis and an RBI single by Casey Alcorn. Alcorn finished the game 4-for-6 at the plate with two RBI and a run scored.
ECU starting pitcher Gabby Andino turned in her best performance of the season, allowing just three hits and one run while striking out four in six innings of work. Despite issuing five walks, Andino continuously left Panther baserunners stranded to keep the game close.
After Andino handed-off the ball to the bullpen in the seventh, Sarah Christian took over and threw three scoreless innings, but Eastern Illinois’ pitching matched the zeroes on the scoreboard.
Once the tiebreaker rule came into effect and each side pushed across one run with the start of the 10th inning, EIU tacked on three runs in the top of the 11th, before Kelsi Briggs hammered a game-tying, two-run homer over the left field wall to tie the game, 5-5.
The Panthers pushed across a pair of unearned runs in the 12th following two Pirate errors. East Carolina was able to score just once in the bottom of the inning en route to its defeat.
Wynne finished the game 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Lewis, Kristi Oshiro, Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin, and Jill Jelnick recorded two hits apiece. Oshiro also stole two bases, as Kaluhiokalani-Glackin swiped her 10th bag of the season.
East Carolina will travel to Charlotte for its first road series in Conference USA play on Saturday, March 15. The doubleheader will begin at 12 noon, before the series finale on Sunday.