East Carolina's softball team (21-31) fell in its opening game of the Conference USA Tournament by a 5-4 score to Marshall (33-20) on Thursday at the Collins Family Softball Complex. The Pirates allowed three unearned runs in the fifth inning to take the team's sixth-straight loss to close the season.
Sophomore Courtney Smith (5-16) was tagged with the loss and allowed five runs (two earned) in throwing her 13th complete game of the season. Andi Williamson (30-16) allowed all four runs for Marshall (none earned) in winning the contest.
After trailing for the entire game, Marshall was able to take the late lead with the three-run rally in the fifth inning on a Bri Anna Hope double with the bases loaded. The inning began innocently enough with Jazmine Valle walking. Emileigh Cooper ran for Valle. Shaelynn Braxton then reached on a dropped ball by the ECU centerfielder. After a strike out and a walk, Hope cleared the bases with her double to deep center to give the Thundering Herd a lead it would not relinquish.
Junior Jill Jelnick had a pair of hits and runs scored in defeat for the Pirates.
The Pirates scored first with a run in the opening inning. Jelnick singled to center and advanced all the way to third on the fielding error from the centerfielder. Fellow junior Kristi Oshiro followed with a single to left to score Jelnick with the game's first run.
The Thundering Herd wasted little time tying the game as Valle hit a solo two-out home run in the opening inning.
ECU scored the team's second unearned run of the game in the third inning. Jelnick reached on fielding error from the first baseman. She moved to second on a bunt and third on a ground out. She scored the unearned run as the ball that junior Jordan Lewis hit to third was thrown away.
The Pirates plated a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Senior Kai Clark walked to start the frame. Junior Jasmine Robbins reached on an error to put a pair of runners on base. After a pop out and a fielder's choice to eliminate Clark at third and allow Mitchell to reached, Jelnick singled to left field to drive in Robbins. The attempted throw to the plate was high and allowed Mitchell to score on the play as well to increase the ECU lead to 4-1.
Marshall drew a run closer in the fourth inning. Savannah Webster reached on a one-out double to left center. Kristina Braxton was inserted in to run for Webster. Bri Anna Hope was then hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on base. After a fly out for the second out, Alexandria Bayne singled through the right side to drive in Braxton with the team's second run.