March 31, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina (15-19, 3-5 C-USA) finishes its third Conference USA series of the season Sunday against UCF (25-10, 5-3 C-USA) with a 12:00 p.m. ET contest.
Saturday, the Pirates dropped both games of the doubleheader, falling 8-2 and 2-0. In the opener, ECU took a 1-0 lead, but UCF scored eight of the game's final nine runs to record an 8-2 victory over. A two-run single to right field by Vanessa Perez gave the Knights the lead in the bottom of the third inning and five unearned runs in the sixth provided the insurance. The second contest had two-out singles by Tawny Swan and Perez deliver the game's only runs.
The blanking in the nightcap was only the second time this season the Pirates had been shutout.
Smith Snaps The Skid
In the opener at UNC Wilmington on Wednesday, freshman Courtney Smith threw all six innings, scattering five hits and three walks to earn her first victory since Feb. 24 against SIU Edwardsville. She had lost her last four decisions.
Saturday, Smith threw all six innings in game two and allowed just five hits. She walked one and struck out one while allowing the two runs in the defeat.
A Big Series For Clark
After not collecting a hit in six at-bats at Tulsa, junior Kai Clark responded in a big way against UTEP, batting .444 with four hits, four runs batted in and two scored. In game two, she matched her career high with three runs batted in and set her personal best with three hits. She also drove in the contest-tying run in the bottom of the seventh with a sacrifice fly to right field. In the last seven games, she has raised her overall batting average from .162 to .214.
Coming Through In A Pinch
With ECU trailing by two runs in the bottom of the seventh during the second contest with UTEP, junior Cicely Lopez entered to pinch hit with the bases loaded and one out. She singled to left field to make it a one-run game as the Pirates went on to complete the comeback with two more runs to win 11-10.
The single from the Anaheim, Calif., product is one of just four pinch hits the Pirates have received this season and the only one during Conference USA action.
Off To A Strong Start
A 2011 Conference USA Second-Team selection, Jill Jelnick was one of just four freshmen to make an all-league squad. The sophomore has been even better so far this league season, batting .381 with eight hits and 10 runs scored. She began the series with UCF ranked second in the conference during league games with a .625 on-base percentage and was seventh in batting average (.438).
In Jelnick's last nine games, she is batting .462 while leading the Pirates with 12 hits, 13 runs scored and a .588 on-base percentage.
May I Assist You?
Saturday, sophomore middle infielder Kristi Oshiro recorded three assists to bring her season total to 113. She leads Conference USA and has the most by an East Carolina player since Erin St. Ledger tallied 113 in 2008. Former Pirate Christine Sheridan holds the C-USA single-season assists record with 248 in 2004.
Get Off Me, Ball
At UNC Wilmington on Wednesday, sophomore Jasmine Robbins was hit by a pitch three times in the opener, tying the Conference USA single-game record held by UAB's Amanda Allen (vs. Marshall, April 12, 2008) and Southern Miss' Jessica Huerta (vs. McNeese State, Feb. 19, 2006). For good measure, Robbins was also hit once in the second game.
Steals All Around
During Wednesday's opener at UNC Wilmington, the Pirates stole a Conference USA single-game record 12 bases. The previous best was also held by ECU as the team swiped nine bases against Appalachian State on Feb. 25, 2007, and took nine versus St. Francis (N.Y.) on Feb. 20, 2004. Wednesday, Jelnick swiped a career-high three while sophomore Jordan Lewis set a personal best with two steals and Robbins matched her high with two stolen bases.
The Pirates entered the UCF series standing second in the league with 66 swipes and began the week ranked 24th at the Division I level with 1.7 stolen bases per contest. Interestingly, no ECU player has more than 10 steals, but five have nine or 10.