Memphis downs ECU Softball 8-0 to even AAC series

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MEMPHIS, TENN. (ECU) – East Carolina fell to Memphis 8-0 in five innings Saturday in game two of an American Athletic Conference series at the Tigers Softball Complex. The teams will play the rubber game Sunday at Noon ET.

The Tigers (16-14, 1-1 AAC) out-hit the Pirates (19-12, 1-1 AAC) by a 9-2 margin and ECU committed three errors. Regan Hadley and Alyssa Dean posted a pair of hits each and Baylee Smith scored four runs. Ashley Inae and Ashley Weingartz recorded the only two hits of the day for the Pirates.

Mariah Nichols (6-7) tossed a complete-game shutout, scattering two hits and striking out six batters against two walks. Whitney Sanford (7-5) took the loss after surrendering six runs (all earned) on five hits with six walks and three hit batters.

A two-out walk issued to Baylee Smith proved costly in the bottom of the first as Ashley Threatt laced an RBI single into the gap in right center to put Memphis on top 1-0.

The Tigers broke the game open in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs on three hits and a Pirate error. Smith singled and reached third on a throwing error to lead off the inning. Then a hit by pitch and a walk loaded the bases before Hadley was hit by a pitch to make it 2-0. A sacrifice fly pushed the Memphis lead to 3-0 and a pinch hit RBI single off the bat of Xiomara Santiago capped the scoring to leave the Tigers with a 4-0 advantage.

Memphis added an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth. An error at short and a stolen base was followed by two looking strikeouts from Erin Poepping. The Tigers capitalized on the miscue and extended the lead to 5-0 thanks to a Hadley RBI single. Dean then doubled home a run to make it 6-0 heading to the fifth inning.

ECU had a great chance to get on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with no outs after a Weingartz single, Kendra Ziemba walk and a hit by pitch with Morgan Halo at the plate. However, the opportunity went by the wayside after a pop up, fielder’s choice force out at home and a strikeout.

Memphis finished off the game in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs to complete the run-rule win.