ECU softball splits opening day in Conway
After falling to Iowa 6-5 in walkoff fashion in the morning Friday, East Carolina rebounded in a big way with a 12-0, five-inning run-rule victory over Campbell in afternoon to cap its opening day of play at the Kickin’ Chicken Classic.
The Pirates move to 1-1 in the early season while Iowa finished its day 1-1 after dropping a 9-1 decision to Virginia Tech. Campbell slipped to 0-1 as the contest with ECU was its only one Friday.
The Pirates are back in action Saturday when they face off against host Coastal Carolina at 2 p.m. and Virginia Tech at 6 p.m.
Iowa jumped on top in the bottom of the first inning via a three-run home run off the bat of Kalena Burns before junior RHP Kama Woodall settled in and held the Hawkeyes scoreless over the next two frames.
Redshirt senior utility Rachel McCollum put East Carolina on the board in the top of the third with a solo home run, but Iowa responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend its advantage to 5-1.
Following a scoreless fifth by both teams, the Pirates struck for four runs in the top of the sixth to tie the contest. Senior infielder Kendra Ziemba drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Mason Hedgecock then singled on the infield before moving to second on a throw to the plate. Ziemba stayed at third to bring senior outfielder Olivia Narron to the plate with one out. Narron plated Ziemba with an RBI single to make it a 5-2 contest but ECU was not finished. A passed ball with McCollum at the plate allowed Narron and Hedgecock to score to cut the Pirate deficit to one. McCollum followed with her second home run of the day that rang off of the scoreboard to knot the game at five.
The Hawkeyes took advantage of an error at short to lead off the bottom of the seventh and eventually capitalized with a one-out single that plated Taylor Ryan from third to end the game.
In her Pirate debut, Hedgecock was 3-for-3 with a run scored to complement McCollum’s two-home run and two-RBI performance. Narron also recorded a hit, run scored and RBI. Aralee Bogar and Abby Lien posted two hits apiece while Burns drove in three runs with her first-inning long ball.
Lauren Shaw (1-0) picked up the win in relief for Iowa after tossing the final 1.2 innings. She surrendered a hit with a walk and a strikeout. Junior RHP Erin Poepping (0-1) was tagged with tough luck loss, throwing the final 2.2 innings and allowing just one unearned run on three hits. She did not walk or strike out any batters.
East Carolina left 11 runners on base and was just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
The Pirates drew first blood against Campbell thanks to an Ashleigh Inae RBI single in the top of the first.
ECU kept the pressure on with two outs in the top of the second. After freshman Logyn Estes led off the frame with a triple, senior catcher Abigail Umphlett and sophomore infielder Bailey Ledvina drew consecutive walks to load the bases. McCollum singled off the shortstop’s glove to score Estes before junior infielder Chandley Garner laced a two-run single to right field and redshirt senior Tate McClellan followed with an RBI single to leave the Pirates with a 5-0 advantage.
With one out in the top of the fourth, McClellan and Inae drew consecutive walks and Estes brought them home with a double to left center, increasing the ECU cushion to 7-0. Ledvina then recorded her first collegiate hit, a RBI single to left center that allowed Estes to cross home plate and make the score 8-0.
The Pirates really put the game away in the top of the fifth, plating four runs to provide the final score. Narron singled to lead things off and McCollum followed that up with an infield base knock. Garner kept the line moving with a RBI double to left center that plated Narron and lengthened the East Carolina lead to 9-0. Pinch hitter and junior Courtney Layton got in on the action later in the half inning, plating two runs with a single, and Ledvina drove in her second run of the contest to give the Pirates a 12-run edge.
Estes, who pitched a perfect final two innings to make her collegiate debut in the circle, finished the job with a trio of fly balls to secure the shutout.
Garner led the Pirate offense with three hits, a run scored and three RBI while McCollum, Estes and Ledvina each posted two hits and two runs driven in. Inae drew three of East Carolina’s eight walks. Destini England and Morgan Rios mustered the only two hits for the Camels.
Poepping (1-1) nabbed her first victory of the campaign with three strong innings as she scattered two hits and struck out three Campbell batters before giving way to Estes who tossed the final two frames and struck out a pair. Georgeanna Barefoot (0-1) suffered the loss in her collegiate debut, surrendering five runs (all earned) on seven hits with five walks and one strikeout.
The Pirates out-hit the Camels 14-2 and produced three extra-base hits. ECU was strong with two outs, going 7-for-10 with nine RBI in the situation.