Five Run Third, Hayden Walk-Off Give Lady Tigers Split with ECU
April 22, 2006
East Carolina (33-20; 7-9 C-USA) 003 010 0 - 4 7 0 Memphis (24-22; 6-9 C-USA) 100 000 0 - 1 8 2SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - The Memphis softball team used a five-run third inning and a three-run, walk-off homerun by Kimmi Hayden to take game two of a double-header with East Carolina Saturday at Greenbrook Park and earn a split in the C-USA twinbill. The Lady Tigers rebounded to take the second game of the day 8-0 in five innings after dropping game one 4-1.
Memphis took an early 1-0 lead in game one, but East Carolina came storming back with a three-run third inning to take command of the contest en route to the 4-1 victory.
The U of M however, regrouped for the second game, getting a shutout from starting pitcher Nicki Johnson and clutch hits from Hayden and Jenna Kubesch, as it used two big innings to win by the eight-run rule.
"I feel really good about coming away with a split against a very solid East Carolina team," said Coach Windy Thees. "We had much better approaches at the plate in game two and came up with big hits when we needed them."
That second half of the twinbill was locked in a scoreless tie through two and a half innings, before Memphis broke the game open with the five-run third.
The Lady Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate and scored the five runs, all unearned on four hits, two walks and two Pirate errors. Kubesch dealt the big blow, with a two-RBI single to leftfield to score Hayden and Bridgette McNulty. Cara Stiles, Tori Gross and Kubesch each scored a run, while Gross and Lindsey Pridgen picked up a RBI apiece.
Johnson then kept ECU off the board in the next two frames to keep the score 5-0, and allow Hayden to end the contest with her homer in the bottom of the fifth. Pridgen reached on an error to lead off the inning and Stiles drew a one-out walk before Hayden blasted her third round-tripper of the season over the leftfield fence.
Johnson took the win in the circle in game one, striking out five and allowing just three hits to improve to 11-8 on the season. Brooke Swann fell to 6-3 on the year for ECU, as she gave up five unearned runs in 2.2 innings of work.
Five Lady Tigers picked up hits in game two, with Hayden going 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored to lead the way.
The first half of the twinbill was a much different story, as Memphis took the lead in the bottom of the first, and out-hit ECU eight to seven, but could not come up with the clutch hits.
The U of M went up 1-0 in the initial frame with McNulty scoring Cara from third on a sacrifice fly to leftfield.
East Carolina came back to take a 3-1 advantage in the top of the third, plating three runs on four hits. Vanessa Moreno had a two-RBI single to rightcenter to score Joyce Roodenburg and Ashley Bibee, before Jessica Johnson doubled down the leftfield line to bring home Moreno.
Following ECU's three tallies, the U of M had opportunities to cut into the lead in each of the next two innings, but left the bases loaded in the third and two runners on in the fourth.
The Pirates then tacked on an unearned run in the top of the fifth to take a 4-1 lead, and ECU starter Keli Harrell had little trouble the rest of the way, as she gave up just the one earned run and struck out four to improve to 20-13 on the season.
Kubesch was handed the loss for Memphis, going the full seven innings, and allowing the four runs - three earned - on seven hits, while striking out seven.
Stiles, Gross and Leila Dolfo each had two hits to pace the Lady Tiger offense in game one.
"Harrell is a great pitcher," said Thees. "She really kept us off balance and made big pitches to get out of some jams."
With the split, Memphis moves to 25-22 on the season and 7-9 in league play. ECU goes to 33-21 overall and 7-10 in C-USA to remain a half game behind the U of M and add even more importance to Sunday's series finale.
The Lady Tigers and Pirates will wrap up the three-game set tomorrow at Greenbrook Park with the first pitch set for 12 p.m.