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ECU softball drops two to No. 24 UCF at home

ECU returned home Friday afternoon, falling in both ends of an AAC doubleheader to UCF
ECU softball hosts Ohio
ECU softball hosts Ohio(WITN Sports)
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 9:33 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – East Carolina returned home to Max R. Joyner Family Stadium Friday afternoon, falling in both ends of an American Athletic Conference doubleheader to No. 24 UCF. The Knights won the first contest 4-3 in 11 innings before picking up a 9-5 victory in the nightcap.

ECU (10-19, 1-5 AAC) and UCF (27-9, 7-3) continue the series Saturday at 2 p.m.

Game One: UCF 4 - East Carolina 3 (11)

In a marathon contest that saw the Pirates leave 14 runners on base, an RBI single by Katie Burge proved the difference in the top of the 11th.

Kama Woodall (5-9) was tenacious in the setback, tossing a career-high 11 innings. She scattered 11 hits while allowing four runs (three earned), walked two batters and struck out one. Alea White (13-3) collected the win in relief, throwing the final 5.1 frame while not allowing a hit or run. She walked three and fanned four.

Burge paced the visitors with four hits and an RBI while Rachel McCollum was 2-for-6 with a run scored and two driven in for ECU. McCollum also recorded her second home run of the campaign.

Georgia Blair put the Knights on top in the first inning with an RBI single before the Pirates answered in the bottom of the third. Olivia Narron drew a walk and stole second before Ashleigh Inae drove her in with a single down the right field line. McCollum then stepped up and lined a 1-0 offering over the left field wall to give ECU a 3-1 lead.

UCF knotted the score in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs off a Juliana Wilson sacrifice fly and Pirate error.

Both teams squandered some opportunities in the later innings to break the deadlock, but the Knights finally did so in the top of the 11th. Kyra Klarkowski began the inning with a bunt single before moving to second on a sac but by Denali Schappacher. With one out, Burge found the outfield grass with a bloop single that allowed Klarkowski to score the winning run. Chandley Garner reached on an error with two outs in the home half before a foul out ended the contest.

Game Two: UCF 9 - East Carolina 5

East Carolina built a 5-2 lead early in Friday’s second game, but UCF roared back with seven unanswered to claim the sweep.

Logyn Estes (0-3) was tagged with the loss, surrendering six runs (five earned) on seven hits in just 3.1 innings of work. Breanna Vasquez (3-1) was the winning pitcher in a relief role, hurling the last five innings while scattering two hits and striking out four.

Shannon Doherty put in a solid effort at the dish to lift the Knights, going 4-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI as well as two home runs. McCollum produced another multi-hit game for ECU, recording two base knocks and driving in a pair.

After Estes retired UCF in order in the top of the first, the Pirate offense went to work. McCollum singled with two outs before Garner followed with a single of her own. Estes then stepped in and laced a two-run double to the gap in right center to put East Carolina up 2-0.

Doherty cut into the Pirate lead in the top of the second, hitting a first-pitch laser over the fence in left. Jada Cody followed with an RBI double later in the inning to knot the score.

The slugfest continued in the home half of the second when an error extended the ECU inning and allowed three runs to eventually cross the plate. The miscue saw Taylor Woodring cross home to swing the lead back in the Pirates’ favor while a two-run double off the bat of McCollum made it a 5-2 game through three complete.

The Knights began to chip away in the third, scoring a run via a RBI single by Doherty. UCF kept plugging away in the fourth as Burge reached on a throwing error, Schappacher singled through the right side and Jazmine Esparza hit a three-run homer to give the Knights a 6-5 advantage.

East Carolina was unable to muster any more runs the rest of the way as UCF put the game away with a four spot in the top of the seventh.

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