ECU Softball splits Day Two of Purple-Gold Invitational

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – The ECU softball team split a pair of games on day two of the Purple-Gold Invitational Saturday, defeating Columbia 6-2 before falling to defending Atlantic 10 Conference champion Massachusetts 5-0 at the ECU Softball Stadium.

Team Records: ECU (10-4) | Columbia (2-7) | Massachusetts (7-7)

Rachel McCollum, Kendra Ziemba and Abigail Umphlett all posted doubles during the day while Faith Jarvis recorded her first career triple against the Lions. Tyler King notched a hit, runs scored and RBI in the Columbia contest and McCollum drove in a pair. King also produced a hit against the Minutewomen and has reached base safely in all 14 games this season. She also extended her current hitting streak to 10 contests.

Haley Wetherill went 2-for-4 with a run scored to pace the Lions in the opener before Kaycee Carbone drove in three runs with a home run for UMass in the nightcap. Erin Stacevicz and Jackie Kelly also ended up with two hits each for the Minutewomen.

Columbia jumped on top early in the top of the first. Maria Pagane and Wetherill singled consecutively before a sac bunt moved the runners up a base. A wild pitch accounted for the first run and Sommer Grzybek provided the other with an RBI groundout.

The Pirates answered in the bottom of the second. Umphlett drew a leadoff walk and scored on Jarvis’ triple. Ziemba followed with an RBI double and advanced to third on an Olivia Narron sac bunt. King then hit a sharp infield single that plated Ziemba to give ECU the lead at 3-2. McCollum capped the scoring in the frame by lacing a two-run double down the right-field line to leave the Pirates with a 5-2 cushion after two complete.

Both teams began to strand runners on base in the middle innings before ECU manufactured an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Umphlett walked and scooted to second on a Jarvis sac bunt. She then took advantage of a pair of wild pitches and crossed home plate to afford her team a four-run edge. Pirate starter Whitney Sanford finished the job in the sixth and seventh innings, allowing just one base runner the remainder of the way.

Sanford (3-1) was solid in the circle for ECU, hurling her second complete game of the season. She allowed two runs and scattered six hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Madeline Meier (0-2) was saddled with the loss, surrendering five runs (all earned) on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts.

In the nightcap, Kiara Oliver and Erin Poepping twirled 1-2-3 innings for their respective sides before Massachusetts scored all it needed in the top of the second. Madison Gimpl drew a leadoff walk before a throwing error allowed Minutewomen runners to reach second and third. Maria Garcia struck out looking for the first out, but Carbone got a hold of the first pitch she saw and cleared the wall in right field to afford Massachusetts a 3-0 lead. Poepping settled down and retired the final two hitters of the frame.

The Minutewomen loaded the bases in the top of the fourth, but Poepping held strong and fanned Alyssa Lyon swinging to keep the Pirates’ deficit at three.

After Poepping recorded two quick outs in the top of the sixth, Kelley reached first on an infield single before scoring on a triple off the bat of Lyon. Stacevicz then recorded her team’s second infield single of the inning to push the advantage to 5-0.

ECU threatened in the bottom of the frame. Morgan Halo singled through the left side to break up Oliver’s no-hit bid and Narrron walked. King then singled on the infield to load the bases with one away. A pair of fielder’s choice force outs terminated the rally, however.

Wood singled to right center with one out in the bottom of the seventh but that was all the Pirates could muster as a grounder to third and a pop up to second ended the contest.

Oliver (3-4) went the distance for Massachusetts, tossing a complete-game shutout with five strikeouts against one walk. She scattered three hits. Poepping (7-3) turned in her seventh complete game of the campaign, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

The Pirates wrap up the weekend Sunday at 11:30 a.m. with a matchup against Winthrop. Massachusetts and Columbia will face off prior to that game at 9 a.m.

Purple-Gold Invitational Day Two Scores:
Winthrop 5, Columbia 4
Massachusetts 2, Winthrop 1
ECU 6, Columbia 2
Massachusetts 5, ECU 0