Pitching Lifts ECU Past Boston College, Maine
Feb. 15, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Freshman Britt Howell and junior Brooke Swann allowed just one run between them Friday to lead the East Carolina softball team to a sweep over Boston College and Maine on the first day of the Pirate Invitational at the ECU Softball Field. The Pirates improve to 6-2 while both the Eagles and Black Bears fall to 0-2 to begin their seasons.
ECU and Boston College staged a pitching duel to begin their contest as each hurler kept the opposing offenses off of the board through three innings. The Eagles put forth the first threat when in the top of the fourth, Amy Tunstall singled up the middle with one out. However, Howell induced two fielder's choice plays to end the inning.
The Pirates came close to scoring in their own half of the fourth. Christina Merrida led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Jessica Johnson. Erin St. Ledger then singled to left center and Cristen Aona walked, pushing St. Ledger to second. After Merrida was thrown out at home, Angel Barrella flied out to center, ending any scoring hopes.
Boston College would load the bases in the top of the seventh with two outs. However, Howell got Gemma Ypparilla to foul out to Johnson. The contest would then enter extra innings, the first such game for East Carolina this season.
Irene Delagrammaticas was placed on second to begin the eighth, due to the international tiebreaker rule. After she was sacrificed to third, she would advance no further as Tunstall and Blair Destito flied out to right field.
In the Pirates' eighth at bat, Tom was placed on second. Stacey Andrews sacrificed her to third, setting up a chance for Charina Sumner to end the contest. The sophomore came through, lacing a single through center for the game-winner.
A solid effort allowed Howell to pitch her first complete game and shutout of the season, as she allowed eight hits while striking out one. She improves her record to 2-0. Sumner finished the contest 2-for-4, including producing the only RBI for either squad.
ECU took an early 1-0 lead in the nightcap against Maine. With one out, Merrida singled and scored when Aona produced a two-out single of her own. The Pirates stretched their advantage to 3-0 in the second as Johnson ripped a two-run single down the left field line, scoring Sumner and Tom who had reached on a fielder's choice and single, respectively. East Carolina would add one more run in the inning as Johnson crossed the plate before the Black Bears recorded the third out on the same play.
After putting up another run in the fourth on a leadoff long ball by Tom, East Carolina finished the scoring in the sixth. Jillian Gallagher reached on a bunt single and advanced to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. Johnson then walked as Barrella was summoned to pinch run for her. As Barrella proceeded to steal second, Gallagher sprinted safely to home. Barrella then reached home herself as Aona recorded her second RBI of the game.
Swann was masterful in the circle, pitching her second complete game of the year. She allowed just one earned run on two hits while picking up her second win against one loss. Aona led a trio of Pirates that provided two hits as Tom and Johnson joined her. The three were responsible for all but one of the ECU RBI in the contest.
The Pirates continue play in the Pirate Invitational tomorrow at 12 p.m. as they face Ohio, which also picked up two wins on Friday. The winner will be the No. 1 seed for bracket play. Boston College and Maine will face off at 10 a.m. as both squads look for their first win of the season.