Softball Falls Just Short In Series Finale
March 16, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina softball team nearly rallied from a six-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Southern Miss escaped the ECU Softball Field with a 7-6 win on Sunday. The Pirates fall to 21-10 on the season and 4-2 in C-USA while the Golden Eagles improve to 14-14 and 2-4 in conference play. Despite the loss, East Carolina took the series via a sweep on Saturday.
Meagan Hill led off the game with a single for Southern Miss but she would be stranded as the Pirates turned a double play to get out of the half-inning. ECU capitalized in their half of the first when Christina Merrida scored on a one-out RBI single by Erin St. Ledger, giving her team a 1-0 lead. The Golden Eagles then turned a double play of their own to end the Pirates' scoring hopes.
After two and a half scoreless innings, Southern Miss broke the game open with four runs in the top of the fourth. Four singles, one ECU error and a walk contributed to the Golden Eagles' scoring. Southern Miss added three more important runs in the top of the seventh. Kristin Pilgrim led off the inning with a walk. Jennifer Fox then singled through the left side. After a sacrifice bunt left the runners at second and third, a single, double and sac fly led to the scores and made the margin 7-1 in favor of the Golden Eagles.
The Pirates staged a two out rally, scoring five runs on five hits and one error. With Angel Barrella on first, Charina Sumner doubled to center, moving Barrella to third. Paige Baggett then pinch hit for Merrida and drew a walk, loading the bases. The next batter, Jessica Johnson, singled through the right side, scoring Barrella to make the score 7-2. With the bases still loaded, St. Ledger took a pitch and lined it over the center field wall for East Carolina's first grand slam of the season. With the score now 7-6, Stacey Andrews singled and Cristen Aona reached on an error by the first baseman. With a chance to tie or win the contest, Vanessa Moreno hit into a fielder's choice play that allowed Fox to tag Andrews to end the game.
Junior Brooke Swann notched her third appearance of the weekend, taking the loss that dropped her record to 12-8. She gave up seven earned runs on 10 hits while striking out one. St. Ledger provided the offensive spark for the Pirates, going 3-for-4 with one run scored and a career-high five RBI.
East Carolina makes the longest trek in program history next weekend as it travels to Palo Alto, Calif. for the Stanford Invitational II, hosted by Stanford. The Pirates face off against BYU and Princeton on Friday at 3 and 5 p.m., respectively to open tournament play.