TEMPE, Ariz. – Junior Alex Fieldhouse homered and drove in three runs, but East Carolina (7-9) was edged out by North Carolina (13-5), 5-4, in its second game on Friday at the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational. The Pirates held two different leads in the game, but two Tar Heel runs in the fifth inning proved to be the difference.
Sophomore Courtney Smith (0-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs in six innings of work. She walked four and struck out three. UNC used four pitchers in the game. Constance Orr started and allowed three runs in 2.1 innings. She gave way to Ashley Bone, who was not scored upon in 1.2 innings in relief. Sara Bucholtz (2-1) was credited with the victory despite giving up a run in her inning. Lori Spingola threw the final two frames and struck out two in her earning her first save of the season.
Four different ECU batters recorded multiple hits in the game. Junior Jordan Lewis was 3-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Fieldhouse went 2-for-3 with her three RBI, a run scored and a walk. Junior Kristi Oshiro had a pair of hits and runs scored. Freshman Meredith Mitchell continued her strong hitting with two more hits.
The Pirates wasted no time with a run in the opening inning. Oshiro singled up the middle and scored from first on Fieldhouse’s double to right.
The Tar Heels took their first lead in the bottom of the second inning on a Megan Morrison three-run home run after Kristen Brown singled and Amy Nece drew a walk to put a pair of runners on base.
ECU was not deterred though and promptly tied the game with two in the top of the third. Oshiro reached on a fielder’s choice ground out and scored ahead of Fieldhouse’s two-run homer. The home run was her fifth of the campaign, which equals her career total prior to this season.
The two teams traded zeros on the scoreboard until the fifth inning when the Pirates broke through for a run on a Lewis opposite field blast. The home run was her second of the season. ECU looked to be on the verge of adding on in the inning, but on a close pitch that was apparently called a strike on a 3-2 count to senior Cicely Lopez, fellow senior Kai Clark was thrown out trying to steal on what she thought was a walk.
The Tar Heels capitalized on the change in momentum and plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Amber Parrish reached on a one-out single. Paige Williams was inserted to run for Parrish and scored ahead of Orr’s home run.
ECU had a runner thrown out at the plate attempting to tie the game in the sixth inning. Mitchell doubled to left. Junior Jill Jelnick was called out on a bunt attempt for making contact with the batted ball. Oshiro then doubled over the left fielder’s head. On the play, Mitchell raced around the bases, but was barely thrown out at the plate attempting to score on a nice relay from the North Carolina center fielder to the shortstop to the catcher. The UNC catcher then pegged Oshiro out at third as she attempted to advance the extra base.
In the seventh, the Pirates again put the tying run on base when Lewis drew a two-out walk. The next ECU batter popped out to short though to leave East Carolina one-run short in this one.
The Pirates continue play in the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational and travel back to Mesa Community College for a 10:30 a.m. (ET) contest against No. 22/20 Baylor (16-3).