GREENVILLE, N.C. – Junior Sarah Christian pitched a complete game and won her eighth consecutive start, while redshirt junior Abby Wynne had a career-high four RBI to boost the East Carolina to a 7-1 victory over UAB in Conference USA action Sunday afternoon at the ECU Softball Stadium.
Wynne finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs, a three-run home run and an RBI double. Sophomore Kelsi Briggs went 1-for-3 with a solo homer, while senior Shelby Johnson was 1-for-2 with two runs scored.
“We had an outstanding opening weekend and I couldn’t ask for a better fight from our kids,” head coach Beth Keylon-Randolph said. “When we came into this weekend, we knew it was going to be a battle because UAB is a very good team. We were prepared to battle in every aspect.”
Christian (10-1) allowed just two hits and one run, walked two and struck out three Blazers in a 97-pitch masterpiece. With the win in her ninth straight decision, the Greenville native claimed her 44th-career victory and overtook Brently Bridgeforth (2003-06) for the eighth most in program history. Christian also lowered her ERA to 1.85 on the season.
“When Sarah is pitching, we feel like we’re tough to beat,” Keylon-Randolph said. “That’s a huge confidence-builder for our team.”
Much like the beginning to game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, UAB (8-12, 1-2 C-USA) struck first in the top of the first inning on a two-out solo home run off the bat of Kristen McGrath, but this time, East Carolina (13-5, 2-1 C-USA) did not hesitate to respond.
The Pirates put two runners on with one out in the bottom-half of the frame, when Wynne belted a three-run shot over the left centerfield wall to give ECU a 3-1 lead. The long ball was her third of the season and first since Feb. 8 against Southern Utah.
Wynne sparked another three-run inning in the bottom of the third after Johnson extended her reached-base streak to 16 in a row with a leadoff single. Senior Kristi Oshiro moved her over to second on a groundout, before Wynne stepped into the box again and lined a 3-2 pitch off the top of the left field wall for an RBI double, extending the Pirate advantage to 4-1.
Two batters later, senior Jordan Lewis pounded a two-out, RBI single up the middle. Sophomore Casey Alcorn followed up with a sharp bouncer that got past the Blazers’ third baseman and down the left field line for an RBI single to score Lewis, improve the East Carolina lead to 6-1 and chase UAB starting pitcher Lannah Campbell (2-5) from the game.
Following a scoreless fourth, Christian retired the Blazers in order in the fifth and six innings, and Briggs hit a two-out, solo home run – her first of the season – to round out the Pirates’ scoring and seal the 7-1 win.
East Carolina will host Eastern Illinois in a mid-week doubleheader on Tuesday, March 11. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 2 p.m., at the ECU Softball Stadium.