|Niners Battle but Fall to ECU on Saturday|
Charlotte, N.C.- Charlotte 49ers Softball battled against East Carolina in the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon but dropped a pair of conference games. ECU picked up the win in game one 4-3 and 11-6 in the night cap. Charlotte falls to 9-12 and 1-4 in Conference USA play, while East Carolina improves to 15-7 with a 4-1 Conference USA mark.
Chelsea Lisikatos led the way for the Niners going 3-5 from the plate with a grand slam, a double and two walks. Courtney Carroll, Jackie Kleinsmith, Jessica Plemmons and Samantha Slade picked up two hits in the loss. Natalie Capone drew four walks over the two games.
East Carolina (15-7, 4-1 C-USA) struck first in game one of the doubleheader plating two runs in the top of the third inning. Meredith Mitchell started the inning reaching base due to a throwing error. Chelsea K.-Glackin singled to centerfield to put runners in scoring position. With two outs, Kristi Oshiro doubled to left field plating both Pirate runners for an early 2-0 lead.
In Charlotte's half of the third inning, the Niners responded to tie things up at two apiece. Natalie Capone drew a walk with two outs to start the Niner rally. Sam Slade delivered the Niners its first run of the game with a triple into the right center gap. Jackie Kleinsmith brought home Slade from third for the two-all tie.
Two walks and a single in the top of the fourth inning for the Pirates had ECU in business for another run. Shelby Johnson drew a bases loaded walk to score the go-ahead run.
Charlotte (9-12, 1-4 C-USA) did not go away quietly and fought back into the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Courtney Carroll singled through the right side of the infield to lead off the inning. Capone moved Carroll up 60 feet with a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. Kleinsmith picked up her second RBI of the game with a base knock to center and again tying things up, 3-3.
With two outs and a runner at second base for the Pirates in the top of the sixth, K.-Glackin delivered what would be the winning run with a single to right field. K.-Glackin was thrown out trying to go to second but the runner from second would score.
Lexi Betancourt (8-6) picked up the loss in game one tossing seven innings allowing four runs (two earned) off seven hits and five walks. Betancourt picked up six strikeouts in the loss. ECU's ace Sarah Christian (11-2) picked up the win tossing five innings allowing three runs off seven hits. Caroline Umphlett picked up the save tossing the final two innings of shutout ball.
ECU took the early lead in the night cap scoring in the first inning. Alex Fieldhouse reached on a fielding error by the Niners allowing Johnson to score for the first run of the game.
The Pirates extended its lead to 5-0 in the top of the third inning. Johnson started the inning with a single and advanced to second on the stolen base. Oshiro followed suit and singled and advanced to second on the stolen base. Abby Wynne grabbed an RBI single to left field. Wynee moved up 60 feet with the third Pirate stolen base of the inning. Casey Alcorn would produce the second run of the inning with a single into left field. Jasmine Robbins followed with a base knock and gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead.
Charlotte roared back in its half of the third inning to cut the deficit to one at 5-4. Capone led off the inning with a four pitch walk. Kleinsmith pushed Capone to second after the hit by pitch. Jessica Plemmons loaded the bases with a four pitch walk. ECU went to the bench to stop the bleeding. Caroline Umphlett went to the circle and on her third pitch Chelsea Lisikatos took a 1-1 pitch over the centerfield wall for a grand slam. Lisikatos' first grand slam of her career and fourth home run on the season cut the Pirate lead to one.
East Carolina pushed two more runs across in the top of the sixth inning to give the Pirates a comfortable 7-4 lead. Wynne doubled to left field for the RBI. Fieldhouse hit a sacrifice fly to left field for the final run of the inning.
The Niners responded in its half of the sixth inning plating one run. Carroll led off the inning with a single into the left center gap. Pinch hitter Paige Wall did her job and moved Carroll up 60 feet with a sacrifice bunt. Carroll would move up another 60 feet on the passed ball before Capone delivered an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
With a 7-5 lead heading into the top of the seventh, East Carolina tacked on four more runs to push the lead to 11-5. The Pirates would score four runs off five hits and a Niner error to give the Pirates the cushion it needed for the win.
Jessica Plemmons gave the Niners the final run of the game on a solo home run to center field but the Pirate lead was too big for the Niners as the score would stand 11-6.
Chelsea Lisikatos picked up the loss and fell to 0-4 on the season tossing 2.1 innings allowing five runs off six hits. Lexi Betancourt gave up six runs off 13 hits in her 4.1 innings of relief. Betancourt struck out three and amassed over 100 punch outs this season. Casey Umphlett (3-1) picked up her third win this season tossing 4.1 innings allowing three runs off six hits. ECU's starter Gabbby Andino tossed the first 2.1 innings allowing three runs off one hit in the no decision.
Charlotte will square off with East Carolina in the final game of the series on Sunday at 10 am. the start of the final game was originally scheduled for 12pm but was pushed up due to inclement weather coming into the area around midday.