The East Carolina University Softball team (20-29, 2-10 American Athletic Conference) won against North Carolina Central University (11-31, 8-10 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) in Greenville, North Carolina at the Max R. Joyner Family Stadium April 26 at 2 p.m.
The Pirates went into the game with an 11 game loss streak. The team's most recent loss came from the No. 14 team in the nation, The University of Tennessee (33-13, 11-6 Southeastern Conference), in the Lady Vol Challenge that happened April 23 through April 24 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Pirates faced Tennessee twice during the tournament and lost both times.
The Eagles went into the game off a 2-1 series win to Coppin State University (4-35, 4-14 MEAC). The games started April 23 and went through April 24 in Cary, NC at Thomas Brooks Park. In the last matchup of the series, NCCU took a six-run win, the largest run margin of the weekend series.
The last time the teams faced each other was on April 5 when ECU took the 13-8 lead victory over NCCU. ECU took the field with freshman left handed pitcher Jordan Hatch to start at the mound. She delivered three strikeouts and one walk to stop the Eagles from getting ahead of the Pirates. The first batter for the Pirates hit a single to get on base. The next batter was able to get on base from a walk.
During the April 26 game to start off the Pirates were the first one on the board in their first at bat. NCCU changed their pitcher during the bottom of the second inning because the Pirate offense was heating up. The new pitcher came into the game, bases loaded, with ECU runners. The Eagles held off the Pirates threat and kept them to one run.
To start off the second inning, Eagle batter senior first baseman Madison Mifsud evened the score with a homerun over the left field fence with no one on base. Hatch did not allow any more hits from the Eagles and kept the score tied 1-1. During the bottom of the second inning the Pirates were able to get their bats going. The Pirates had two runners on base but were left stranded as the last potential hit of the inning was caught by the NCCU defense.
The Eagles offense was shut down enough as they weren’t able to score in the third inning but NCCU was able to get on base off a hit. ECU came back in the bottom of the third and was able to score off a double down the left field baseline. Pirate sophomore first baseman Taylor Woodring hit her first homerun of the season and contributed two runs to the score.
The Pirates were able to load the bases in the bottom of the third. ECU freshman pinch hitter Logan Sutton hit a double to bring in two more runs and widened the lead by five runs. The score was left at 6-1 to end the third inning. Hatch struck out two Eagle batters and didn’t allow any hits during the top of the fourth. In the top of the fourth the Pirates continued to keep their bats alive and added a run off a double hit.
ECU delivered another quick inning to the Eagles and did not allow anyone on base or any hits. ECU senior shortstop Chandley Garner hit her first triple of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning. ECU junior designated player Sydney Griggs was able to score the run off her second hit of the season. Griggs first hit of the season came from earlier in the game.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Pirates only needed one more run to end the game based off of the run rule. The team had two runners on the bases but were not able to score because of an overhead catch made by the Eagle defense. ECU sophomore right handed pitcher Taylor Smith came into the pitcher position during the top of the sixth and the Pirates shut down the Eagle offense.
To get the batters on base, the Pirates had a walk and one single. The Pirates loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth with only one out and the winning run on third base. Garner hit a fly ball to right field and the runner tagged and scored to end the game in the sixth inning. The final score was 9-1.
Hatch had a season high of nine strikeouts. Her ability to keep the NCCU offense to one run was crucial for the Pirates so there was less stress on their offense to score more runs than needed.
The Eagles will be on the road to Baltimore, Maryland April 30 through May 1 to face Morgan State (26-13, 15-3 MEAC) in a three game conference series.
The Pirates will host Wichita State University (28-13, 10-2 AAC) in Greenville, NC at the Softball Stadium April 29 through May 1 for a three game conference series. The weekend series will take place April 29 at 4 p.m., April 30 at 1 p.m. and May 1 at 11 a.m.