Pirates Drop Finale At Memphis 5-3

UABSPORTS.COM Sophomore Jasmine Robbins went two-for-three with a run scored Sunday at Memphis.
Sophomore Jasmine Robbins went two-for-three with a run scored Sunday at Memphis.

May 6, 2012

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - East Carolina completed its regular season with a 5-3 loss at Memphis on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates (25-27, 11-12 C-USA) trailed 5-0 heading into the seventh inning and sent the tying run to the plate, but the Tigers (20-36, 8-16 C-USA) held on for the victory. ECU junior Kai Clark and sophomore Jasmine Robbins combined for four of the team's five hits and each scored a run. Memphis used three runs batted in and three hits from Jessica Phillips and two hits and two runs scored by Morgan Mosby to secure the win.

East Carolina freshman Courtney Smith (7-12) took the loss. She threw the first two innings and the final one-and-two-thirds. She allowed two runs on five hits. Classmate Sarah Christian came in for the middle two-and-a-third frames and surrendered three runs on five hits and a walk. She also fanned one. Memphis' Lauren Carley (1-1) earned the win in her fourth start of the year. She allowed just three hits and struck out four while walking one in six-and-a-third innings. Ellen Roberts came in for the final two outs and gave up one run on two hits. She recorded one strikeout.

For the second-straight game, Memphis jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Mosby started the inning with a single, moved to second on a groundout, advanced to third on another groundout and scored on a double to left center by Phillips. On a pitch in the dirt to Alyssa Palmieri, Phillips took off for third, but was thrown out by the catcher Clark as sophomore shortstop Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin applied the tag.

The Tigers added another run in the bottom of the second to go ahead 2-0. Palmieri led off with a single and Sara Pearson was hit by the first pitch of her at-bat. A groundout moved both runners up a base, and Palmieri scored on a groundout by Kamri Chester. After an infield single by Ijiah Hargrove, Mosby lined out to sophomore third baseman Alex Fieldhouse to end the frame.

After sending down 13 of the Pirates' first 14 batters, with only sophomore Jill Jelnick reaching on a fielding error by third baseman Laura Curtis, ECU put two runners on in the top of the fifth, but could not convert. After a fly out started the inning, Clark singled to center for East Carolina's first hit. Robbins followed with a double down the left-field line, but a fly out and foul out stranded the pair.

Memphis seemed to put the game out of reach with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-0 advantage. With one out, Mosby doubled to right center, Curtis walked and Libby Goranson singled to right field to load the bases. Breslin Perry entered to run for Goranson before Phillips delivered a two-run single to left center that plated Mosby and Curtis. An infield single by Palmieri loaded the bases and Perry scored on a wild pitch by Christian. Two groundouts to Fieldhouse closed the inning.

East Carolina was sent down in order in the sixth, but scored three times in the seventh and put the tying run at the plate with two outs. Freshman pinch hitter Alexa Cannon led off the seventh with a walk. After a groundout, she moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Clark double to left field. Roberts entered to pitch and Robbins beat out an infield single and stole second base. After a strikeout, with runners on second and third, Kaluhiokalani-Glackin beat out an infield single to drive in Clark and make it a three-run game. Robbins scored on a Roberts wild pitch and Kaluhiokalani-Glackin motored all the way to third on the play. Memphis held on, however, as a groundout to Palmieri at second by sophomore Kristi Oshiro ended the contest.

The Pirates ended last year's regular season with a 3-0 loss at Longwood before winning three-straight games to capture the Conference USA Championship title. ECU returns to the diamond Thursday for the first round of the league tournament, hosted by UAB. First-round games begin at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Post-Game Notes
-- Senior Suzanne Riggs went five-for-12 during the three-game series to finish the Conference USA season with a .379 batting average. Entering this season, she was a career .256 hitter in league action.
-- In Riggs' last five games, she has hit .500 (seven-for-14) with four RBI and a run scored.
-- Junior Kai Clark capped the weekend going two-for-three Sunday. In her last four games, she is hitting .583 (seven-for-12) with four runs batted in and four scored.
-- Clark finished the Conference USA campaign with the team's second-highest league batting average at .314. Entering this season, she had .176 average in league play.
-- Freshman Alexa Cannon scored the first run of her career in the seventh inning.
-- The top five hitters in ECU's starting line-up Sunday combined to go zero-for-14.
-- East Carolina finished the league season with a .267 team batting average, the highest in program history, topping .266 marks in 2008 and 2009.
-- The Pirates finished the regular season at 25-27. Since the fastpitch program began in 1984, ECU has had just two losing seasons - 1989 (18-20) and 2003 (24-31).
-- The loss in Sunday's finale dropped East Carolina's C-USA record to 11-12. Since joining C-USA in 2002, the Pirates had just four losing records in league play - 2008 (10-12), 2004 (10-14), 2003 (5-19) and 2002 (10-13).