WICHITA, KS (ECU) - Wichita State hit two home runs and East Carolina left nine runners on base as the Shockers beat the Pirates 8-0 in six innings to open an American Athletic Conference series Thursday night at Wilkins Stadium.
ECU falls to 20-24 overall and 2-11 in league play while Wichita State is now 27-19 and 8-5.
Ashleigh Inae was 2-for-2 to pace the Pirates and Rachel McCollum drew a pair of walks. Bailee Nickerson recorded two hits and drove in four runs for the victorious Shocker side.
Erin Poepping (13-16) was touched up for five runs on six hits in just 2.1 innings of work in the loss. Erin McDonald threw a complete-game shutout, scattering four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
ECU had a prime opportunity to strike first in the top of the first after a walk and two hit batters loaded the bases. However, a grounder to second terminated the threat.
Wichita State opened the scoring in the bottom of the second. Following a pair of quick outs, Poepping walked Neleigh Herring before back-to-back singles from Kaylee Huecker and Adi Reese plated the first run of the contest. The Pirates attempted to answer right back in the top of the third when Inae doubled with one out, but she ended up stranded at third following a grounder and a fly ball to left.
The Shockers broke things open in the bottom of the third after a RBI single by Laurie Derrico and a three-run home run off the bat of Nickerson. That prompted a pitching change as Whitney Sanford entered the circle. She retired the last two hitters of the inning to keep the ECU deficit at five.
East Carolina tried to rally in the top of the fourth with two outs when a single, walk and single loaded the bases, but Tyler King grounded out to second to leave them juiced for the second time in the game. Wichita State then extended its lead to 7-0 in the home half of the frame when Ryleigh Buck hit a two-out, two-run long ball. The Shockers had a chance to end the game in the home half of the fifth, but Liv Garman stranded the bases loaded to keep the contest going. Wichita State completed the run-rule win in the bottom of the sixth with a Nickerson RBI single.
The teams continue the series Friday at 4 p.m. ET