Sophomore Jasmine Robbins collected two hits and two runs batted in Saturday against Southern Miss.
April 21, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina extended its winning streak to five games Saturday with a sweep of Southern Miss, taking 2-1 and 3-1 victories. Pirate freshmen pitchers Courtney Smith and Sarah Christian each threw a complete game and combined to allow just seven hits without walking a batter. The Pirates (21-25, 7-10 C-USA) have won five-straight home contests and are 13-5 inside the ECU Softball Stadium this season, including a 6-2 mark in Conference USA games.
In the opener, a two-out solo home run from sophomore Alex Fieldhouse in the bottom of the sixth made a winner of Smith, who retired 13 of the final 14 Southern Miss batters with only Omeshia Moffett reaching after being hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fifth. Game two had ECU sophomore Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin provide the deciding run with a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Jasmine Robbins accounted for the other two runs as she tallied an RBI single and the final run scored when her fly ball was dropped by Moffett in right field.
During game one, Smith (6-10) allowed just three hits. She earned her third-straight victory and second consecutive Conference USA triumph while striking out one. Beth Dietrich (6-11) took the tough-luck loss for the Golden Eagles, also giving up three hits. She fanned one and issued one free pass.
Christian evened her record at 15-15 by surrendering four hits and striking out three. She becomes the fifth freshman in program history, and third since 1996, to record 15 triumphs during her initial campaign. Southern Miss' Courtney Ramos (4-10) was saddled with the loss after giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits. She fanned one and walked six in the complete game.
In the first contest, the Golden Eagles (12-26, 4-13 C-USA) registered the game's first scoring threat with two outs in the top of the second inning. With the bases clear and two down, Mackenzie Sher singled through the left side and Stephanie Shiflet dropped down a bunt single. A groundout to shortstop Kaluhiokalani-Glackin by Gabby Luciani ended the threat.
After the defensive hold, the Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. With two outs and senior Priscilla Velasquez on first after a fielder's choice, Robbins doubled to left center, driving in Velasquez. Robbins tried to take third on the throw to the plate, but was gunned down to close the frame.
The Golden Eagles tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the third with a two-out solo home run from Britney Dinelt.
ECU had a two-out threat in the bottom of the inning, but could not convert. After a pair of groundouts started the Pirate third, sophomore Jill Jelnick singled to left and classmate Kristi Oshiro was hit by a pitch. Dietrich got out of trouble with a pop out to second baseman Carissa Turang.
After Dietrich retired eight of the next nine Pirate hitters, Fieldhouse put the Pirates ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-out solo home run to left. The long ball extended Fieldhouse's hitting streak to a career-high seven games and raised her team-high game-winning-RBI total to six.
In the top of the seventh, Smith retired the Golden Eagles on a lineout, fly out and groundout to complete the win.
During game two, East Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second with another two-out run. Senior Suzanne Riggs led off with a walk, but was forced out at second on a fielder's choice by sophomore Jordan Lewis. With Velasquez at the plate, Lewis stole second base. A single up the middle by Velasquez put runners on the corners with one down before a walk to Robbins filled the bases. Ramos recorded a fly out, but walked Kaluhiokalani-Glackin on five pitches to force in Lewis. Ramos avoided further damage with a groundout as Dinelt at first base made a nice scoop of a low throw from shortstop Caroline Walker, who made the backhanded stop of a Jelnick roller deep in the hole.
Neither team had another runner reach second base until the bottom of the fourth, when ECU added another run to go ahead 2-0. Velasquez hit a one-out double off the wall in left and was replaced by sophomore pinch runner Abby Wynne. Robbins singled through the left side to drive in Wynne, but a fly out and groundout ended the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Southern Miss had a chance to push across a run, but hurt its cause with a runner's interference call. After a fly out started the frame, Shiflet singled to right field. Luciani rolled one toward second baseman Oshiro, but Shiflet was called out for runner's interference. Moffett closed the frame with a groundout.
The Golden Eagles had another opportunity in the top of the sixth and were held off again. With one out, Dinelt tripled to right field as Lewis made a dive, but had the ball scoot past her. Christian ended the threat with consecutive lineouts to Oshiro and Kaluhiokalani-Glackin.
ECU added its last run in the bottom of the sixth, aided by a Southern Miss error. With two down and the bases clear, Velasquez walked. Robbins followed with a fly to right field and Moffett dropped the ball, allowing Robbins to advance to second and Velasquez to score. Junior Kai Clark extended the inning with another free pass, but a groundout back to Ramos provided the third out.
The Golden Eagles scored once in the seventh for the 3-1 final score. Turang started the frame with a triple to right center and scored on a one-out groundout by Shiflet. Another groundout, this one to Kaluhiokalani-Glackin by Luciani, ended the contest.
East Carolina goes for its second Conference USA sweep of the season Sunday with a 12:00 p.m. contest.
-- In freshman Courtney Smith's last seven starts, she has gone 4-2 with a 2.53 earned run average. In her previous six starts, she went 0-4 with a 12.39 ERA.
-- With a hit in both contests, sophomore Alex Fieldhouse owns a career-high eight-game hitting streak, the second-longest on the team this season behind classmate Jordan Lewis' 10-game run.
-- In the last seven contests, Fieldhouse has tallied five runs batted in after going 18 consecutive games without an RBI.
-- Sophomore Jasmine Robbins went two-for-four in the doubleheader and added two runs batted in. For her career against Southern Miss, she is hitting six-for-12 with five RBI.
-- East Carolina scored four runs with two outs during the doubleheader. In the last five games, the Pirates have pushed across 15 runs with two down.
-- ECU has won nine-straight games against Southern Miss.
-- The Pirates scored first in both contests and have pushed across the initial run in seven of the last nine games.
-- In East Carolina's five-game winning streak, the pitching staff has posted a 1.60 earned run average. In the previous five tilts, during which the Pirates went 1-4, the team had registered a 4.76 ERA.
-- This season, in ECU wins, the staff ERA is 2.06. In losses, however, the mark is 5.93.
-- The Pirates are 33-16, good for a .673 winning percentage, inside the ECU Softball Stadium since it opened in Feb. 2011.