East Carolina Completes Sweep With 5-1 Win Over UTEP

UABSPORTS.COM Sophomore Jasmine Robbins drove in the game-winning run with a double in the third inning.
Sophomore Jasmine Robbins drove in the game-winning run with a double in the third inning.

March 25, 2012

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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.

Post-Game Notes
-- Freshman Sarah Christian recorded her 11th victory of the season and is tied for second in C-USA with the 11 triumphs, just one behind league-leader Andi Williamson of Marshall.
-- With one more win this season, Christian would become just the ninth freshman pitcher to win 12 or more games with the Pirates.
-- Sophomore Jill Jelnick led off the bottom of the first inning with a groundout to shortstop. It snapped her string of five-straight games reaching base to start ECU's initial frame.
-- Sophomores Jelnick and Kristi Oshiro, the one and two hitters in the lineup, combined to go six-for-12 with nine runs scored and 10 walks during the three-game series.
-- Jelnick has scored a team-best nine runs in the last six games, all C-USA contests.
-- Sophomore Jordan Lewis has driven in eight runs in the last six games while batting .389. She stands second on the team with 21 RBI, just two behind senior Suzanne Riggs.
-- In the first six Conference USA games of the season, East Carolina has surrendered 40 runs. In last year's 24 league tilts, opponents scored 44 runs.
-- The Pirates have also pushed across 40 runs of their own in the six league games (6.7 rpg) after totaling 81 during 24 C-USA contests (3.4 rpg) in 2011.
-- ECU's slugging percentage after six conference games is .444. A year ago, the Pirates slugged .276 in league play.