March 23, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C.- Junior Jordan Lewis hit a home run in the first game and sophomore Courtney Smith only allowed two runs in the second game, but East Carolina's softball team (9-19, 1-4 Conference USA) dropped both games to visiting conference rival Houston (18-9, 7-1 C-USA) by scores of 7-2 and 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at ECU Softball Stadium. The Pirates have now lost their last four games and eight of the last nine contests.
The first game was knotted at one all until Houston plated four unearned runs in the fifth inning. After a Katie St. Pierre lead-off single and a lineout, Kendra Cullum moved her to second with a single to left field. Reina Gaber followed with ball that was hit to second and misplayed to load the bases. Haley Outon grounded out to short to drive in the go-ahead run. Taylor Duplechain was then hit by pitch to again load the bases for Houston. Kayla Holland then delivered a two-RBI single. Julia Pecina made ECU continue to pay for the earlier miscue with a single to left field to plate Duplechain with the fourth run of the inning and fifth of the game.
The Pirates attempted to rally in the bottom of the frame. Junior Kristi Oshiro reached on a one-out single and scored all the way from first on junior Alex Fieldhouse's triple down the right field line. After an infield ground out for the second out, Lewis walked and junior Jasmine Robbins was hit by a pitch to bring the potential go-ahead run to the dish, but a fly out to right ended the threat of a bigger inning.
Houston added a pair of runs to the advantage in the sixth with a two-out rally. Cullum was hit by a pitch and scored on Gaber's double. Gaber scored herself on Haley Outon's double to right to make the final margin 7-2.
The Cougars struck first in the game with a tally in the second inning. Duplechain was hit was a pitch and scored all the way from first on a Jamie Edwards' double.
The Pirates quickly tied the game in the bottom half of the inning when Lewis hit an opposite field one-out shot to left. The Lewis' home run was her third of the campaign. The home run also ended a stretch of 251 consecutive at bats without a home run for ECU.
ECU sophomore Sarah Christian (7-9) was tagged with the loss and allowed seven runs (three earned) in throwing her seventh complete game of the season. The game-one winner was Bailey Watts (10-2). Watts limited the Pirates to six hits and two runs in throwing her 12th complete game of the campaign.
The Cougars struck first with a run in the second inning of game two on St. Pierre's single to drive in Kayla Holland from second. Holland reached base on a lead-off single to left, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on the two-out single.
The Cougars added a run to the advantage in the third. Cullum walked, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a wild pitch. She scored later in the frame on a ball hit by Edwards that glanced off the ECU pitcher's glove and bounded away.
ECU had chances to tie the game in both the fifth and seventh inning.
In the fifth inning, freshman Casey Alcorn ripped a two-out single up the middle to bring the tying run to the plate. The potential rally ended quickly though on a ground out to third.
In the seventh, the Pirates again brought the tying run to the plate with two outs. Lewis drew a walk, but was stranded on first to end the game on a ground out to the pitcher.
Courtney Smith (1-7) took the loss for the Pirates despite allowing just six hits and two runs. Diedre Outon (2-3) was credited with the win and shutout after limited ECU to a pair of singles and a walk.
The Pirates will wrap up the series with Houston at 9 a.m. on Sunday, March 24. The game was originally scheduled for a noon start, but was moved up to account for the potential of rain in the North Carolina area.