BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - East Carolina ended its season with an 8-1 loss to Marshall during the first round of the Conference USA Championship. The Thundering Herd (35-20) used three combined runs batted in from Jazmine Valle and Rebecca Gamby as well as three runs scored and three hits from Alianna Telles to top the Pirates (25-28). The loss snapped ECU's league tournament winning streak at six games, the second-longest run in C-USA history.
Freshman Sarah Christian (18-16) took the loss for the Pirates. She threw the first two-and-a-third frames, allowing five runs on seven hits. She hit one batter and struck out two. Classmate Courtney Smith came in for the final three-and-two-thirds and surrendered three runs, one earned, on six hits and one strikeout. Second-Team All-Conference USA selection Andi Williamson (24-12) limited East Carolina to the one run on four hits in the complete game. She fanned five and walked one.
Marshall jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Telles sent the second pitch from Christian over the wall in left center.
The Thundering Herd had an opportunity to add to the lead in the second, but stranded a runner at third. Jessica Hughes led off being hit by a pitch. She stole second and moved to third on groundout by Bri Anna Hope, but a groundout and strikeout looking ended the threat.
In the bottom of the third, Marshall broke the game open with four runs to go ahead 5-0. Telles led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Amanda Lara. Ashley Gue and Gamby hit consecutive singles to fill the bases for Valle, who singled off the wall in left to plate Lara and Gue. A fielder's choice provided the first out. Hughes struck out swinging, but the pitch was in the dirt and she reached first base to reload the bases. Hope delivered a chopper over the head of sophomore third baseman Alex Fieldhouse and into left field for an RBI single and 4-0 edge. Another fielder's choice resulted in the final run of the frame as a lineout to Fieldhouse closed the inning.
The Pirates had their first scoring threat in the top of the fourth, but failed to convert. Senior Suzanne Riggs led off with a walk and classmate Priscilla Velasquez followed with a single up the middle. Williamson recovered with a strikeout, fielder's choice and groundout.
After the defensive hold, the Thundering Herd scored two more in the bottom of the frame to make it a 7-0 advantage. Telles led off reaching on an error and moved to second on a Gue sacrifice bunt. Gamby stroked a single to right, putting runners on the corners with one down. Valle popped out to sophomore shortstop Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin, but Alysia Hively doubled to right center to plate Telles and Gamby. Pinch hitter Taylor Winton grounded out to Fieldhouse to close the inning.
East Carolina scored its run in the top of the fifth to make it a 7-1 deficit. Sophomore Jasmine Robbins led off with a double to right center. Junior pinch hitter Cicely Lopez reached on a fielding error by second baseman Gue that put runners on the corners with no outs. A fielder's choice by Jelnick drove in Robbins, but another fielder's choice and a strikeout ended the frame.
Williamson sent down ECU in order in the sixth and Marshall capped the scoring with a run in the bottom of the inning. Telles led off with a single to left center, Gue dropped down a bunt single and Telles scored on a Gamby single to center field. A pair of shallow fly outs to left field and a groundout kept the Thundering Herd from adding more runs.
In the top of the seventh, Williamson again sent down the Pirates in order to end the contest.
-- Senior Suzanne Riggs drew the 70th walk of her career in the top of the fourth, tying her with Dana Hulings (1994-97) and Lisa Corprew (1991-94) for eighth on East Carolina's all-time list.
-- Since the beginning of April, junior Kai Clark led the Pirates with a .389 (14-for-36) batting average, including a .533 (eight-for-15) mark in the final five games.
-- Sophomore Jasmine Robbins finished the game one-for-three. In the final 19 games, she led the Pirates with six doubles, tied for the lead with 10 runs batted in and stood second on the squad with 16 hits.
-- East Carolina's run in the fifth inning snapped Marshall's streak of holding opponents scoreless at 30 frames.
-- ECU ended the campaign 10-22 in road or neutral contests.
-- The Pirates finished the season at 25-28. This is just the third losing campaign since the fastpitch program began in 1984. The other two were in 1989 (18-20) and 2003 (24-31).
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