GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – The ECU softball team plated three runs in the first inning against Columbia Friday afternoon and cruised to its first shutout victory of the campaign in an 11-0 five-inning decision over the Lions to begin the Purple-Gold Invitational at the ECU Softball Stadium.
The Pirates were to take on Winthrop Friday evening, but that game was called off due to inclement weather and will not be made up this weekend.
Tyler King and Logan Wood rapped out three hits each while Ashleigh Inae and Olivia Narron contributed two apiece. Wood and Tate McClellan also posted three RBI each. Sommer Grzybek recorded the only hit of the contest for Columbia.
Erin Poepping (7-2) was sharp in victory, tossing four innings and surrendering no runs on just one hit with three strikeouts against no walks. Alexa Pinarski (1-1) was tagged with her first loss of the campaign, allowing seven runs on seven hits with two walks and no strikeouts.
The ECU offense got to work right away in the bottom of the first when King and Inae singled consecutively and McClellan cleared the batter’s eye in center for her fourth home run of the season to give the home team a 3-0 advantage.
Poepping worked around a leadoff double in the top of the second, retiring the next three batters in short order. Kendra Ziemba kickstarted the home half of the frame with a walk and Narron put down a textbook sacrifice bunt before moving to second on a fielding error by the Lion first baseman. With runners at the second and third and no outs on the board, King drew a walk to load up the bases. Inae then dropped a single into left center that scored Ziemba to extend the Pirates’ lead to 4-0. Following a fielder’s choice force out at home, Rachel McCollum laced a 2-2 pitch over the left fielder’s head for a two-run double and Wood hit a sharp single up the middle to cap the scoring in the inning and leave ECU with a 7-0 advantage.
A Ziemba double started the bottom of the third and a Narron bunt single put runners on the corners with no outs. King continued the hit parade with a single to left that plated Ziemba. Narron also scored one batter later thanks to another Columbia error before Wood plated two with a single to center that put the home side in front 11-0.
The Pirates went scoreless in the bottom of the fourth and Olivia Garman was summoned from the bullpen to finish the job. She did just that, retiring the Lions in order to seal the win.
ECU is back in action tomorrow with a pair of games against Columbia at 3 p.m. and Massachusetts at 5:30.
Purple-Gold Invitational Day One Scores
Massachusetts 5, Columbia 0
Massachusetts 3, Winthrop 2 (Eight Innings)
ECU 11, Columbia 0 (Five Innings)
Purple-Gold Invitational Day Two Schedule
10:00 a.m. – Columbia vs. Winthrop
12:30 p.m. – Winthrop vs. Massachusetts
3:00 p.m. – ECU vs. Columbia
5:30 p.m. – ECU vs. Massachusetts