ECU softball blanks UConn 4-0 in AAC series opener
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Behind senior RHP Lydia Ritchie’s second-straight complete-game shutout, and fifth of the season, East Carolina picked up a 4-0 victory over Connecticut in the teams’ American Athletic Conference series opener Friday evening at the ECU Softball Stadium.
Team Records: East Carolina: (21-23, 3-7 American) | Connecticut: (14-20, 1-5 American)
In addition to Ritchie’s exceptional effort in the circle, ECU used the long ball to score all four of its runs as the Pirates stretched their league-best home run total to 54 – matching the AAC single-season record and drawing within four of tying the program’s single-season standard.
Senior outfielder Kacie Oshiro, who reached base safely for the 11th-straight contest, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a RBI and a walk while senior outfielder Ali Ramirez drove in three runs with her sixth home run of the campaign. Junior infielder Meredith Burroughs drew a walk in the bottom of the third inning to reach base safely for the 16th consecutive outing. Carli Cutler recorded the Huskies’ only two hits of the night.
Ritchie (13-10) fanned six Connecticut batters while walking just one in the victory, utilizing 98 pitches in another efficient effort. Katie Koshes (6-6) surrendered four runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts as the losing pitcher.
How They Scored
Oshiro jumped on a 2-0 pitch in the bottom of the first and drove it high over the right field wall to afford the Purple and Gold an early 1-0 advantage. It was her fourth home run of the season and fifth of her career.
With Ritchie rolling through the initial part of the game, retiring the first 11 batters she faced, Ramirez delivered what would be the knockout blow in the bottom of the third inning. Oshiro and Burroughs drew a pair of one-out walks before a strikeout accounted for the second out. Ramirez would work the count full and did not miss on the sixth pitch of her at bat, crushing the ball well over the fence in center field to stretch the ECU lead to 4-0. Despite a couple of chances on both sides, no additional runs came across the plate.
Statistics of the Game
The Pirates did not allow the Huskies to record a hit (0-for-4) with both runners on base and runners in scoring position. Ritchie also threw 65 of her 98 pitches for strikes.
East Carolina will attempt to clinch the series Friday evening when it meets Connecticut again at 6 p.m. EDT.