The East Carolina University softball team spent its weekend in Spartanburg, South Carolina to kick off its 2019 season, ending with a 4-1 record. This marks the first time the Pirates have carried a 4-1 record opening weekend since 2015.
The Pirates took on Youngstown State University, University of Miami at Ohio on Friday, Towson University on Saturday and University of South Carolina Upstate on Sunday in the Spartan Classic, taking on Miami at Ohio for their second time Sunday.
ECU ended the weekend with a win against USC Upstate in a low scoring game of 3-1, but split the day with a loss against Miami of Ohio 3-1 for its only loss all weekend. The Pirates and Spartans tied up the game 1-1 in the first inning when junior utility Logan Wood plated sophomore infielder Ashleigh Inae on an RBI single to left field and USC Upstate scored off an infield single hit.
Both teams went 0-0 from the second inning two through the seventh inning until the Pirates broke deadlock. Senior catcher Ashley Weingartz hit a double, advancing herself to second and advanced to third on an overthrow from outfield. Freshman outfielder Faith Jarvis also scored on the play to bring ECU up, 2-1. Sophomore outfielder Courtney Layton hit a grounder to first, batting in Weingartz. Upstate was unable to answer the Pirates and ECU took away the win for its fourth of the weekend.
Sunday morning ECU took on Miami of Ohio for its second contest of the weekend and its only loss. The Pirates came out with the first run in the top of the first from senior right-handed pitcher and infielder Morgan Halo.
ECU’s sophomore right-handed pitcher Whitney Sanford surrendered three runs (two earned) on four hits, five walks and three strikeouts, in addition to two runs in the bottom of the third and one in the bottom of the fifth for the loss.
Saturday’s game against the Tigers resulted in a win for the Pirates in a run-rule win, playing in five innings. In the afternoon, ECU’s Sandford tossed a perfect first inning against Towson but in return the Tigers scored five runs in the top of the second after taking advantage of a Pirate error that put runners at first and second. Another walk loaded the bases and the Tigers scored five runs on three hits, advancing 5-1.
ECU answered with a run in the bottom of the second and Pirate sophomore right-handed pitcher Erin Poepping held off Towson in the top of the third, keeping it at 4-1 until the Pirates scored in the bottom of the third closing the point gap by one. ECU entered a hot streak in the bottom of the fourth, scoring an outstanding 12 runs, on eight hits and three errors, demolishing the Tigers ending in five innings after they could not come back, winning 14-5.
Friday afternoon resulted in another five inning win but this time against Miami of Ohio, who the Pirates later lost to on Sunday. Sophomore outfielder Tyler King hit a leadoff single following by stealing second and reaching home off of Inae. Redshirt junior infielder Tate McClellan hit a double to right, Inae placed a double to left center to run in sophomore outfielder Olivia Narron and King, Halo with a sacrifice fly ended the Pirates streak with five runs split in the bottom or the second and third.
Sophomore infielder Ashton Slone put the Redhawks on the board in the top of the third with an RBI single for their only run of the game. ECU batted in its sixth run in the bottom of the fourth and another three runs in the bottom of the fifth. With a big enough lead the Pirates did not have to play any further as the Redhawks could not keep up, ending the game 9-1.
The Pirates kicked off the weekend Friday afternoon for their season opener game against Youngstown. ECU’s McClellan hit the ball over the center wall to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead. Youngstown responded scoring three runs off of three hits and a pair of walks to tie, 3-3. ECU advanced further in the top of the fourth with two runs, one by McClellan and one by Halo who hit her first home run of the season.
Youngstown loaded the bases in the bottom, but Sanford cleared the bases holding onto its lead. The scoring continued in the top of the sixth, running in five on five hits to advance 10-3 with two runs by sophomore Kendra Ziemba and redshirt junior utility McCollum, Inae and Wood had RBI base knocks of their own. Sophomore right-handed pitcher and infielder Liv Gatman made her debut in the circle in the bottom of the seventh, allowing one run and holding off any others, ending with a Pirate win 11-4.
ECU ended the weekend 4-1, with a win streak of three before its loss on Sunday. The Pirates will open up the ECU Softball Stadium this weekend when they host the Pirate Clash. ECU will take on Wagner College at 5 p.m. and Cleveland State at 7:30 p.m on Friday, Saint Francis University at 5 p.m. and Cleveland again at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and Wagner again at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.