Pirates Fall Twice At Bulldog Invitational
March 11, 2008
ATHENS, Ga. - The East Carolina softball team lost a pair of tough contests at the Bulldog Invitational on Tuesday as both North Florida and No. 20 Georgia used sixth-inning scores to down the Pirates. ECU dips to 18-8 on the season while remaining 2-1 in C-USA play. The Bulldogs become the first team to hold the Pirates scoreless this season.
In its first contest, East Carolina went ahead in top of the first when with two outs, Jessica Johnson smashed her team-leading fifth home run of the year, making the score 1-0. Then, after Stacey Andrews walked, Erin St. Ledger blasted a long ball that scored Andrews and gave the Pirates a 3-0 advantage.
ECU threatened to add to its lead in the fifth. Kaui Tom led off the inning with a single to left field and advanced to second when Charina Sumner laid down a sacrifice bunt. Tom then reached third on a passed ball. With two outs, Johnson was intentionally walked but Andrews struck out to end the Pirates' at bat.
With East Carolina holding their three-run lead into the bottom of the sixth, the Ospreys found their offense, scoring six runs on five hits to assume a 6-3 advantage. Ashley Battaglia was the hero, ripping a grand slam with one out. North Florida also used a RBI single and a bases loaded walk to account for the other two scores. The Pirates could not put anything across in the top of the seventh after Sissy Jimenez walked to lead off the inning.
Junior Brooke Swann suffered her second tough-luck loss in three days as she allowed the six earned runs on seven hits. She struck out five while walking just two. Freshman Suzanne Riggs saw her first collegiate inning in the circle as she shut down the Ospreys after relieving Swann. Johnson provided much of the offense for ECU, as she went 2-for-2 with a double and a round tripper.
The Pirates nearly took the early advantage against Georgia. Sumner and Christina Merrida both singled to begin the contest. Then, when St. Ledger walked to load the bases with one out, Andrews and Cristen Aona both struck out to end the at bat.
After allowing just one hit to the Bulldogs through her first five innings of work, Swann allowed an infield single to Kristin Schnake which allowed Brianna Hesson to reach second. Hesson had walked to lead off the half-inning. Then, a sac bunt by Victoria Sanders put runners on second and third with one out. From there, a fielder's choice play and a sac fly gave Georgia the 2-0 lead. Those runs proved the decisive tallies as Sarah McCloud retired East Carolina in order in the top of the seventh to end the contest.
Swann, who fell to 10-6 with the loss, pitched her 11th complete game of the season in 20 appearances, giving up two earned runs on just two hits. She walked 10 batters while striking out none. The outfield provided all of the offense for the Pirates as Andrews, Merrida and Sumner combined to go 3-for-8 with a stolen base by Sumner. Sumner now has 12 stolen bases this season, already just five shy of her 2007 mark.
East Carolina returns to the Georgia Softball Stadium tomorrow for another pair of contests. The Pirates will battle the Ospreys at 10 a.m. while facing off with the Bulldogs at 12 p.m.