Softball Blanks UAB To Advance In 2006 C-USA Championship
May 11, 2006
TULSA, Okla. --- Fourth-seeded East Carolina blanked fifth-seeded UAB, 8-0, to advance to the winner's bracket of the 2006 Conference USA Softball Championship here Thursday afternoon. The victory marked the Pirates' first opening round victory in the championship since joining the league in 2002.
With the victory, East Carolina advances to face top-seeded Tulsa tonight at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The Pirates lost 2-of-3 games to the Golden Hurricane here earlier this season.
The Pirates (40-22) gave junior pitcher Keli Harrell a 3-0 lead before she threw her first pitch. Freshman Vanessa Moreno led off the game with a double off the right field wall and then moved over to third on a two-base error which allowed Erin St. Ledger to move into scoring position. Senior Krista Jessup then blooped a single into left to plate two runs.
Jessup scored two outs later from second base on a ground out to second base, beating the relay home from first base. Jessup collected two hits to move into a tie for fifth place on the school's all-time hits list with 229.
The Pirates pushed their lead to 4-0 in the third behind a pair of walks and a base hit. After sophomore Beth Nolan drew a walk to load the bases, junior Jessica Potter pulled a ground ball to the right side to drive in freshman Jessica Johnson.
Jessup drove in her third run of the game in the fourth with a double to center field to plate St. Ledger, who swiped second base and proceeded to take third base on an errant throw by the Blazer catcher after drawing a two-out walk.
After the first two Pirate batters reached to start the fifth, Potter laced a single through the right side to score pinch-runner Sarah Bibee. One out later, Nolan scored on a failed pick off throw from second baseman Amanda Walker after Ashley Quick stole second to give the Pirates a 7-0 cushion.
St. Ledger drove in the Pirates' final run of the game in the bottom of the seventh, shooting a base hit through the left side.
The Pirates collected eight hits and drew eight walks to avenge an earlier season sweep by the Blazers (31-22).
Harrell (26-14) allowed just five hits, while recording her eight shutout of the season and 25th of her career. She also struck out a pair to bring her career total to 750 strikeouts. Jennifer Nelson (15-10) took the loss for UAB.