Softball Clinches Spot In 2006 C-USA Tournament
May 6, 2006
ORLANDO, Fla. --- East Carolina secured a birth in the 2006 Conference USA Softball Championship with a little help from league rival Houston Saturday. ECU swept a C-USA doubleheader from UCF, but didn't clinch a spot in the tournament until Houston defeated Memphis in game two of its series.
The Pirates took game one from the Golden Knights, 2-1, in 11 innings and then held off their new conference foe, 8-6, in game two.
With its victories today, ECU extended its C-USA winning streak to five games and improved to 12-11 in Conference USA and 38-22 overall. UCF dropped to 4-19 in the league and 19-36 overall.
Junior pitcher Keli Harrell (24-14) earned the victory in both games tossing four shutout innings of relief in game one before making the start in game two. She also threw four innings in game two.
The Pirates played their third consecutive extra inning affair in the series opener; recording is third win in-a-row and improving to 6-1 in extra inning games this season.
After falling behind 1-0, ECU tied the game with a run in the fifth. Freshman Jessica Johnson was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then moved over to third as Baggett reached on a two-base error. Sophomore Beth Nolan then drove Johnson home with a base hit to left.
Freshman starting pitcher Brooke Swann allowed just one hit in seven innings of work before Harrell entered the circle. The duo combined to limit the Golden Knight to just two hits. Alison Kime (13-17) tossed all 11 innings for UCF with eight strikeouts in a losing effort.
After falling behind 1-0 for a second consecutive game, the Pirates put up five runs in the third to assume a four run lead. Johnson, Nolan and junior Jessica Potter each collected RBI-singles in the inning, while Baggett delivered a two-run double.
UCF plated a run in its half of the third, but ECU answered back with three in the fifth to extend its lead to 8-2. Nolan drove in her second run of the game with another base hit, while senior Ashley Quick drove in the game-winning run with a two-run single.
The Golden Knights scored two runs in the sixth and seventh before ECU senior pitcher Brently Bridgeforth struck out Cici Alvarez to end the game.
The Golden Knights and the Pirates return to the UCF Softball Stadium Sunday afternoon for the final game of the series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.