East Carolina’s softball team (7-10) gave No. 22 Baylor (17-3) all it could handle in a 5-2 loss in the program’s first game on the second day of the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational on Saturday. The Pirates had a runner on third and she was racing for home when an alert play from the Baylor centerfielder turned a would-be single into a fielder’s choice to end the sixth inning.
Sophomore Sarah Christian (6-4) battled tough against the vaunted Bears’ offense for 6.1 innings allowing five earned runs, walking three and striking out four. Baylor’s Courtney Repaka (4-0) earned the win and went 5.2 with four hits allowed, three walks and two strikeouts. Whitney Canion picked up her first save of the season with 1.1 scoreless frames to end the game.
Junior Kristi Oshiro had a pair of hits and freshman Meredith Mitchell picked up a hit and RBI for the Pirates.
The Pirates were down a run, 3-2, heading to the bottom of the sixth inning and put both the tying and later go-ahead run on base in the frame. Junior Jordan Lewis drew a lead-off walk. Senior Cicely Lopez then laid down a pinch hit sacrifice bunt to move Lewis to second base. Senior Kai Clark battled through a 10 pitch at-bat before flying out to right to advance Lewis to third. Senior Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin folloerf with a walk to put runners on the corners with two outs. Mitchell then ripped a ball up the middle that reached the Baylor center fielder, Kathy Shelton. Shelton calmly threw it to second to eliminate Kaluhiokalani-Glackin at the base for a fielder’s choice and prevent Lewis’ tying run from third, who had cross the plate, from counting.
Baylor added on a pair of runs to the lead in the seventh inning to make the final score 5-2. Kaitlyn Thumman doubled to right and moved to third on Shelton’s single. Linsey Hays then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Thumman with the team’s fourth run. Sarah Smith followed with a single to right to score Shelton with the final run of the contest.
Baylor scored first with a tally in the opening inning. Thumann walked, stole second and scored on a Hays’ double down the left field line.
ECU fought back and tied the game in the bottom of the second. Freshman Casey Alcorn picked up the team’s first hit of the game on her lead-off single. She moved to second as junior Jordan Lewis was hit by a Repka offering. Freshman Kelsi Briggs then hit into a fielder’s choice to eliminate Alcorn at third for the first out. Clark hit a fielder’s choice grounder to third in which no outs could be recorded to load the bases with only one out. After a strikeout for the second out, Mitchell lined a ball off the shortstop to score Lewis with the first ECU run.
A nice running catch at second by Oshiro and throw back to Lewis at first led to a double play to stop the momentum Baylor was gaining in the third after Hays had reached on a one-out fielding error.
The Bears put a pair of runners on base in the fourth inning as Canion hit a rocket just above Oshiro’s glove and into right field and Clare Hosack drew a two-out walk, but Christian induced a ground out to first to end the inning and keep the game tied at one all.
Baylor took the lead in the fifth inning with a pair of tallies. Thumman doubled to center field and after the next two were retired on strikes, Sarah Smith singled up the middle to score Thumman from second. A Holly Holl triple just out of the reach of the diving ECU left fielder allowed Smith to score the team’s second run of the inning.
The Pirates clawed out a run in the fifth inning. Junior Jasmine Robbins started the rally and inning with a single into short left field. Fellow junior Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin ran for Robbins and moved to second on Mitchell’s sacrifice bunt. Junior Jill Jelnick walked to put runners on first and second with only one out. After a fly out to center to advance Kaluhiokalani-Glackin to third, junior Alex Fieldhouse reached on a fielding error that scored Kaluhiokalani-Glackin.
The Pirates continue play in the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational and travel back to Arizona State campus for a 6:30 p.m. (ET) contest against No. 3/3 Arizona State (19-0).