March 24, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Houston (19-9, 8-1 Conference USA) scored in six of the seven innings and used a 16-hit attack to down the East Carolina softball team (9-20, 1-5 C-USA) by a 14-3 score on Sunday morning in the series finale at ECU Softball Stadium. The Pirates equaled a season-high in runs allowed and have now dropped their last five games both overall and in league play.
Sophomore Courtney Smith (1-8) earned the starting nod for ECU and surrendered eight runs (seven earned) in her four innings of work to take the loss. Fellow sophomore Sarah Christian allowed six runs (four earned) in her three innings in relief. Houston's Bailey Watts (11-2) was credited with her second win of the series with four scoreless innings in relief after she relieved starter Summer Groholski. Groholski surrendered three runs (two earned) in the first three innings of the game.
East Carolina's offense was highlighted by junior Jasmine Robbins' first home run of the season in the fourth inning. The home run, a two-run blast, was her first extra-base hit of the campaign.
The Cougars broke through for a run in the first on a fielding error from the ECU pitcher to score Holly Anderson. Anderson began the contest with single up the middle, moved to second and third on a pair of walks. She scored the game's first run on a ball that hit off the ECU pitcher's glove with the bases loaded.
The Pirates quickly tied the game with a tally in the bottom of the frame on a shallow sacrifice fly from freshman Casey Alcorn to score Jordan Lewis from third. Lewis reached base on a walk, took second and then third on a two fielder's choices. The first fielder's choice resulted in a dropped throw by the Houston third baseman to allow all runners to reach safely and set up the RBI situation for Alcorn.
Houston untied the game for good with two runs in the second inning on Anderson's two-run home run to right center with Katie St. Pierre, who had started the inning with a walk, on first.
The Cougars added a four-spot to the lead in the third frame. Anderson drove in the first run with a double. Reina Garber drove in the second with a ground out and the last two came in to score on Haley Outon's single.
ECU chiseled away the lead by two runs in the fourth on Robbins' two-run home run with senior Kai Clark on base. The Pirates continued to threaten in fourth as freshman Meredith Mitchell reached on a fielding error and Lewis drew a two-out walk. Junior Kristi Oshiro then rifled a ball that was stabbed on a diving effort from the Houston third baseman, Holly Anderson, to prevent further damage and scoring.
The Cougars scraped together a pair of unearned runs in the fifth. Kendra Cullum reached base on a throwing error, moved to second on a Gaber single and then third on a fly out. After a single off the ECU pitcher to load the bases, Tess Soefje drove in Cullum when she was hit by a pitch. Julia Pecina plated the final tally of the frame as she also hit by a Smith offering.
Houston tallied a single run in the sixth inning when Cullum scored from second on Outon's single.
The Cougars completed the scoring with four more runs in the seventh inning. Pecina had a lead-off triple and scored on St. Pierre's infield single. After a foul out and a sacrifice bunt, St. Pierre scored on Gaber's single. Outon put an exclamation point on the Houston victory with a towering home run to left field to score Gaber and put the final margin at 14-3.
ECU continues the five-game homestand and hosts North Carolina State (13-13-1) in a doubleheader on Wednesday, March 27, starting at 5 p.m. at ECU Softball Stadium.