ECU Softball falls to Wichita State in series finale, 11-5

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WICHITA, Kan. (ECU) — After East Carolina took a 4-0 lead in the first inning Saturday, Wichita State scored 11 of the final 12 runs to claim the rubber game of the series by an 11-5 score at Wilkins Stadium.

The Pirates drop to 21-25 overall and 3-12 in American Athletic Conference play while the Shockers improve to 28-20 and 9-6.

Tate McClellan was 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI while Sydney McKinney and Bailee Nickerson both went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and 3 RBI.

Whitney Sanford (7-9) was tagged with the loss, surrendering four runs on three hits with four walks and no strikeouts. Caitlin Bingham (13-7) grabbed the win after tossing six innings and allowing just one run on two hits with seven walks and four strikeouts.

ECU jumped ahead early in the game, scoring four runs in the top of the first on two hits and a pair of Wichita State errors. The Shockers answered in the home half, using a leadoff walk and Ryleigh Buck two-run home run to cut the deficit to 4-2 with no outs on the board. Nickerson then made it a one-run game with a one-out RBI single before Adi Reese doubled her home to tie the score at four. After Sanford entered the game to relieve starter Erin Poepping, she was able to strand the bases loaded to keep it tied.

After a scoreless second inning for both teams, Rachel McCollum and Morgan Halo drew back-to-back four-pitch walks. McClellan then dropped an RBI single right on the line in right field to score pinch runner Faith Jarvis and give the upper hand back to the Pirates at 5-4.

The slugfest continued in the bottom of the third when two walks and a bunt single loaded the bases for Wichita State. McKinney delivered with a two-run single to make it 6-5 in favor of the Shockers. Madison Perrigan then tacked on a sacrifice fly to leave Wichita State with a 7-5 advantage.

The Shockers kept at it in the bottom of the fifth. Wylie Glover led off with a walk and McKinney doubled to the gap in left center to extend the home team’s lead to 8-5. Laurie Derrico added a run on an RBI groundout then Nickerson hit a two-run home run to pull out to an 11-5 advantage.

East Carolina attempted to get back in the game in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with two outs. However, a grounder to the third baseman terminated the threat. ECU then went down in order in the top of the seventh to end the game.

The Pirates will play their final non-conference game of the season Tuesday, April 23, when they travel to Duke for a 5 p.m. contest.