East Carolina Completes Sweep With 5-1 Win Over UTEP
March 25, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After two Saturday games that had East Carolina and UTEP combine to score 37 runs, pitching dominated the Sunday contest as the Pirates came away with a 5-1 victory to complete the three-game sweep of the Miners. The 28 runs by ECU (13-17, 3-3 C-USA) against UTEP are the most the program has scored in a Conference USA series since joining the league in 2002.
Sophomore Jasmine Robbins delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the third inning and classmate Jordan Lewis hit one in the bottom of the sixth to back freshman Sarah Christian's third win of the weekend. Christian, a Greenville product, improved to 11-10 and has earned the win in ECU's last six triumphs. She became the first Pirate freshman to win all three games of a C-USA series since Keli Harrell topped Charlotte three times April 30 and May 1, 2005. Christian is just the second freshman in Conference USA to accomplish the feat since Harrell in 2005, and the first to start two or more games as UAB's Leigh Streetman entered in relief twice in her three wins over Marshall on May 7 and 8, 2011.
Christian went the distance Sunday, allowing only six hits and striking out a career-high-tying five batters. She did not surrender a walk. The Miners' Cynthia Villastrigo (5-8) threw all six innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits and five walks to go along with one strikeout.
As in game one Saturday, UTEP (12-21, 2-7 C-USA) used a solo home run to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With two outs, Chelsea Troupe hit a long ball to left to give the Miners the lead.
The Pirates had a chance to answer in the bottom of the first inning, but left the bases loaded. After a groundout started the frame, sophomore Kristi Oshiro drew a walk and stole second base before a strikeout. With two outs, senior Priscilla Velasquez reached on an error to put runners on the corners. A free pass to Robbins loaded the bases, but a fly out to left ended the threat.
In the top of the third, the Miners had a chance to add to their lead, but an East Carolina double play ended the threat. With one out, Courtney Ware and Camilla Carrera hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. Troupe sent a pop into right center and Oshiro, playing second base, dove, made the catch and threw to sophomore shortstop Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin covering second base to double off Ware and close the inning.
East Carolina tallied its first hits in the bottom of the third inning and took a 3-1 lead. Sophomore Jill Jelnick led off with a single through the left side and Oshiro beat out a bunt for a single. Both runners moved up a base on an illegal pitch. After a groundout, Velasquez singled off Villastrigo's leg with a line drive up the middle and Jelnick scored. Robbins followed with a double to left center that drove in Oshiro and Velasquez for the two-run lead. Villastrigo bounced back with a groundout and catch of a line drive to prevent Robbins from scoring.
The Pirates had a chance to tack on more runs in the bottom of the fourth, but left the bases loaded. With one out, Kaluhiokalani-Glackin walked and Jelnick singled to right center to put runners on the corners. Oshiro reached on a fielder's choice as Kaluhiokalani-Glackin was thrown out at home on a grounder to the second baseman. Lewis walked to load the bases, but a fly out to deep center field by Velasquez kept it a two-run game.
ECU added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth for the 5-1 final. Kaluhiokalani-Glackin was hit by a pitch to open the frame. Jelnick followed with a sacrifice bunt and Villastrigo threw the ball into right field, putting runners on second and third. Oshiro reached on a fielder's choice that loaded the bases. Lewis drove in two with a double that landed just inside the left-field line. Villastrigo ended the frame with a fielder's choice and pop out.
Christian got two quick outs in the seventh with a groundout and strikeout before a two-out single by pinch hitter Tahla Wade. A groundout to Oshiro at second by Ware ended the contest.
East Carolina returns to action Wednesday for a brief break from Conference USA competition with a trip to UNC Wilmington (4-20) for a 4:00 p.m. doubleheader. The in-state rivals have met 90 times with ECU holding a 76-14 advantage in the all-time series. During the program's last visit to Wilmington, on April 6, 2011, the Seahawks claimed a 2-1 victory.