Feb. 9, 2013
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GREENVILLE, N.C.- The East Carolina softball team opened the 2013 season and the Beth Keylon-Randolph era on Friday, Feb. 8, by splitting its two games in the Pirate Classic at ECU Softball Stadium. ECU earned a 5-2 victory over Cleveland State in the season opener before falling to Ohio by a 4-3 tally in the program's second contest of the day.
Sophomore Sarah Christian (1-0) was the story of the first game for the Pirates. The Greenville native went six innings and allowed just one run on four hits with three strikeouts in the victory over Cleveland State.
She was backed by a strong defensive effort from the team led by several spectacular defensive plays by junior third baseman Alex Fieldhouse. Fieldhouse speared several hard hit balls going to both sides of her including a few that were ticketed for the outfield.
The Pirates needed to escape some early trouble in the first inning as Cleveland State's Susan Knight doubled to lead-off the game. Christian kept her cool though and recorded three straight outs on a fielder's choice, a ground out and a fly out to keep the contest scoreless. She kept it going in the second with strikeouts of two of the three batters that came to the plate and then also faced the minimum in the third inning. In the fourth, she successfully pitched out of a lead-off double from Cynthia Woodard to begin the frame with the next three batters going down on grounds outs.
The ECU offense broke through with a single tally in the bottom of the frame. Junior Kristi Oshiro hustled her way on with an infield single, moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jasmine Robbins and then third on junior Abby Wynne's single. Fieldhouse promptly drove in Oshiro with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Pirates' offense made it a 5-0 advantage with four runs in the fifth inning. Senior Kai Clark doubled and took third on throwing error from the CSU right fielder. Freshman Meredith Mitchell made her ECU debut and ran for Clark. She scored the first run on her career on throwing error on a fielder's choice that saw senior Cicely Lopez reach base. Lopez took second on a sacrifice bunt and then third on Jill Jelnick's single. Junior Jasmine Robbins was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two away. Wynne promptly cleared the bases on a double to plate Lopez, Jelnick and Robbins.
The Vikings crept a run closer in the sixth on Woodard's first home run of the campaign and made the game interesting in the seventh inning. Alyson Broschk walked and moved to second on Nena Doran's single to center. After a strikeout for the second out, Alisha Silva walked to load the bases. Knight was then hit by a pitch to force in the next run and bring the potential go-ahead run to plate, but ECU freshman relief pitcher Morgan Eisenga was able to record a ground out to third base to end the game and give the Pirates' a tough-fought victory.
In the second game, ECU was looking up at the wrong side of the score quickly after giving up a pair of runs in the second and two more runs in the third.
Ohio's Adrienne Gebele reached on a one-out single and came in to score on Raven King's home run in the second inning.
The Bobcats added a pair to the lead and looked to be on the verge of even more in the third inning. Alyssa Wolfe opened the inning with a single to left. She took second on a sacrifice bunt, third on a pass ball and scored on throwing error from ECU off a stolen base. Timmie Rappe then walked and stole second. Rappe moved to third on the error and came around to score herself on Lauren Gellerman's triple. Freshman pitcher Mary Beth Smith, who was making her collegiate debut, then entered the game in the circle. Smith walked the first batter, but then struck out two of the next three to escape the inning.
The ECU offense picked up a single tally in the fourth inning. Wynne walked, moved to second on a hit, third on another free pass and scored on senior Kai Clark's sacrifice fly to right. The Pirates nearly broke through for an even bigger inning when a ground out and a strikeout ended the frame.
ECU scored two in the fifth inning to draw to within a run. Jill Jelnick led off with a walk. After a pop out and a strikeout followed for the first two outs, Wynne reached on a fielder's choice, in which the ball was thrown away, to allow Jelnick to move to third. After a walk to Alex Fieldhouse to load the bases, Jordan Lewis delivered a two-out two-RBI single up the middle to score Jelnick and Wynne. The Pirates came close to tying the score on Kai Clark's ensuing single, but Fieldhouse was called out at the plate as she attempted to score all the way from second.
The Pirates attempted to put together one more rally in the seventh inning. Junior Jasmine Robbins singled up the middle. Mitchell was inserted to run for Robbins in an attempt to put more speed on the bases. After a strikeout, Lewis looped a single to left to put runners on first and second. Another strikeout ended the game though to give ECU its first loss of the season.
In the second game, after surrendering four runs in 2.1 innings worked, Courtney Smith (0-1) was tagged with the loss for ECU. Mary Beth Smith pitched well in relief for the Pirates with 3.2 scoreless innings and four strikeouts. The Ohio win went to Savannah Jo Dorsey (1-1), who survived surrendering six walks in 4.2 innings worked.
ECU continues hosting the Pirate Classic with games against Rider and then Ohio on Saturday, Feb. 9, starting at 3:30 p.m.