ECU Softball falls twice on Saturday

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MIAMI, Fla. (ECU) – The ECU softball team continued play at the FAU/FIU Parent’s Weekend Invitational Saturday, dropping a 7-5 eight-inning contest to Florida A&M in the afternoon before falling just short against host FIU 2-1 in the evening. The Pirates dip to 13-8 overall. FAMU improved to 5-14 and FIU to 16-7.

In the opener, Tate McClellan was 2-for-3 with a run scored and three RBI while Logan Wood and Rachel McCollum drove in a run each themselves. The latter pair also accounted for both of ECU’s hits in the narrow setback to the Panthers.

McClellan quickly put the Pirates on top against the Rattlers, hitting her sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the first to give ECU a 2-0 advantage. FAMU tied it up in the top of the third on a two-run single off the bat of Alexis Day. The Pirates responded in the home half of that inning when Tyler King hit a double to left field and scored on a McClellan RBI single.

Florida A&M plated another pair of runs in the top of the fourth to push in front 4-3. Hera Varman hit a leadoff home run while the second run was unearned and occurred off of an RBI groundout.

The game settled from there as ECU entered the bottom of the seventh trailing by a run. With one out, Wood pinch hit and drilled a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left center to tie the score at four. The contest would then go to extra innings with the international tiebreaker in effect. The Rattlers took advantage and scored three runs while the Pirates could only muster one, giving FAMU the victory.

Kyaira Brown (4-5) threw a complete game in the circle, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Erin Poepping (10-4) was saddled with the tough-luck loss, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. Whitney Sanford surrendered four runs (three earned) on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in two innings of work.

The nightcap ended up being an old fashioned pitcher’s duel between Poepping and FIU hurler Megan Kugelmann. Each team managed just two hits and an unearned run proved the difference in the game.

The Panthers took the lead in the bottom of the second thanks to a Jessica Rivera leadoff home run. The Pirates responded in the top of the fourth. McCollum singled to center with one away before Wood followed with a single of her own and reached second base on a throw from the outfield. Ashley Weingartz then sent a ball to the left side of the infield and McCollum was able to slide home as the ball sailed to the backstop. ECU was poised for more with runners at second and third and one out, but a groundout and flyout prevented anything else.

In the bottom of the fifth, FIU scored the winning run on a throwing error and the Pirates managed just one base runner the final two frames.

ECU wraps up the weekend Sunday morning at 11:15 a.m. against Notre Dame back in Boca Raton.