Softball Falls At No. 22 North Carolina
April 12, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Breanna Brown hit a two-out bases-clearing double in the bottom of the fifth to lift No. 22 North Carolina past East Carolina, 3-1, Wednesday afternoon at Anderson Stadium.
With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 40-11, joining Texas as the second team in the nation to reach the 40-win plateau, while the Pirates dropped to 29-20 as they completed their non-conference schedule for the season.
Lisa Norris (12-4) allowed one run over five innings to pick up the victory, while Crystal Cox pitched two scoreless frames for the save. Keli Harrell (17-13) took the loss despite striking out six batters in six innings.
ECU opened the scoring in the third. Alison Monce led off with a single in the hole between short and third and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Vanessa Moreno then singled to left, putting Pirates on first and third with one out. During the next at-bat, Moreno stole second, and Monce scored when catcher Whitney Gelin's throw sailed high of its target.
The Pirates had a chance for a big inning, but an outstanding defensive play by UNC held the ECU to just the one run. After Erin St. Ledger walked, Krista Jessup singled over Brown in center, who then started a perfect relay, with Anna Evans throwing to Gelin to cut down Moreno at the plate. Norris then struck out Jessica Johnson to end the inning.
Before breaking through in the fifth, North Carolina had squandered a number of opportunities. UNC stranded six runners in the second, third and fourth innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the third.
The fifth started with a Cassie Palmer single to left which was followed by an Ashley Oxendine sacrifice. Casey Testa then managed to draw a walk before Jennifer Jacobs flew out to left. After Anna Evans walked to load the bases, Brown came to the plate. With the count 1-2, Brown connected, lifting a ball over the head of Moreno in left to give UNC a 3-1 advantage.
The Pirates mounted a rally in the sixth putting the tying-run on base, but were unable to complete the charge and were retired in order in the seventh.
ECU returns to Conference USA action on Friday as its hosts one of the league's newest members, UTEP. Game one of the C-USA doubleheader is scheduled for a 3 o'clock start at the ECU Softball Field.