Ross, Pridgen Homer, Softball Takes Series Finale From ECU 6-1
April 23, 2006
East Carolina (33-22, 7-11 C-USA) 001 000 0 - 1 6 2 Memphis (26-22, 8-9 C-USA) 111 300 x - 6 7 0SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - Kara Ross had a three-run homerun and four RBI and Lindsey Pridgen hit her fourth round-tripper of the season to lead the Memphis softball team to a 6-1 win in the C-USA series finale with East Carolina Sunday at Greenbrook Park.
With the win, the Lady Tigers (26-22; 8-9 C-USA) take a one and a half game lead over the Pirates (33-22; 7-11, C-USA) for the sixth and final spot in the Conference USA Tournament, which will be hosted by Tulsa, May 11-14.
"This was a huge win for us," said Coach Windy Thees. "It was great to see Kara (Ross) come up with the big hits and key RBI, and Lindsey (Pridgen) stayed hot and continued to hit the ball well."
The U of M scored a run each in the first three innings and plated three on Ross' homer in the fourth, and that was more than enough help for Lady Tiger starter Nicki Johnson, as she scattered six hits and allowed just one run to take the win in the circle.
"Nicki (Johnson) really stepped up and threw two great games for us this weekend," said Thees. "It is great to have two pitchers (Johnson and Jenna Kubesch), who can be No. 1's for us."
The U of M extended the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the second, as Pridgen smashed her fourth homerun of the season, a solo shot to leftfield.
ECU cut the deficit in half in the top of the third, using a pair of doubles by Alison Monce and Erin St. Ledger to make the score 2-1.
Memphis went back on top by two in the bottom half of the third, with Ross picking up her first RBI with double down the rightfield line that scored McNulty, who had singled, and gave the Lady Tigers a 3-1 advantage.
East Carolina attempted to cut into the lead twice in the top of the fourth, but saw two runners thrown out at the plate. Gross nailed pinch runner Brently Bridgeforth at home for the second out of the inning before Cara Stiles gunned down Krista Jessup from centerfield to end the frame.
Ross then put the game away in the bottom of the fourth with her three-run bomb to rightcenter that set the final margin of 6-1. The shot was Ross' third round-tripper of the season, and scored Hayden, who singled, and McNulty, who walked.
The pair two homeruns on the day gave the U of M its first multi-homerun game in C-USA play. The contest was also the first game with two or more homeruns since McNulty and Leila Dolfo each homered in the second half of a double-header against Grambling State on March 22.
Following the big fourth inning, Johnson faced just one more than the minimum over the final three innings, as she scattered six hits and fanned four to improve her record to 12-8 with the complete-game victory.
Keli Harrell took the loss for ECU, giving up seven hits and the six runs - five earned - in six innings and falling to 20-14 on the year.
Ross led the U of M at the plate, going 2-for-3 with the double and the homer, while Pridgen, Hayden, Gross and Laura Mahoney added a hit apiece.
The Lady Tigers will now have five days out of action to prepare for final exams before hosting Marshall in a three-game C-USA series, next Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30 at Greenbrook Park.