The East Carolina University softball team just gained some valuable transfer students that will have an immediate impact on the coming season. Junior infielder Chandley Garner and junior pitcher Kama Woodall have committed to transfer from North Carolina State University in order to attend ECU and play for the Pirates during the upcoming 2020 season.
These are two huge offseason acquisitions for ECU, which might be thanks to the team’s underdog performance during the American Athletic Conference Softball Tournament, which began on May 5.
With only four conference wins during the regular season, ECU came into the AAC Tournament as the second-worst team in the conference and as the No. 7 seeded team. The team was pitted against No. 2 seeded University of Tulsa, who were the reigning champs of the tournament, and managed to win 4-3. Unfortunately for ECU, the tournament was cancelled because of rain, and the team could not use its momentum in the next game.
Teams inside and outside of the conference must have taken notice, because in a span of a week, two players have decided to transfer from their respective universities to play for ECU.
Woodall was 3-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 2019, which was the top mark on NC State’s 2019 pitching roster. She struck out 20 on batters in 50.1 innings of work and held opposing hitters to a .256 batting and had two saves on the year.
During her freshman year, Woodall was apart of NC State’s No. 17 ranked recruiting class, and was individually ranked No. 94 nationally for 2017 recruits.
Currently, the Pirates have returning sophomore pitchers Liv Garmin, Erin Poepping and Whitney Sanford. With all three returning pitchers having at least two years of experience, adding another seasoned pitcher would only benefit of the team.
On the other hand, Garner could help add some much needed power hitting to ECU’s lineup. During her freshman year, Garner started 52 out of 54 games, which was the most among NC State's 2018 freshman class. She led the team with 10 multi-hit and eight multi-RBI games and in her first career game with the Wolfpack, Garner hit a grand slam.
Although in her sophomore season, Garner only started 21 games and played in 41 games, she was still posting multi-hit performances in key games. On April 13, Garner hit a triple and drove in two runs against Notre Dame University, one of the best softball schools in the nation.
With returning infielders like junior Kendra Ziemba, redshirt-junior Tate McClellan and sophomore Ashleigh Inae, Garner can add to an already experienced infield. These seasoned infielders can also mentor returning freshman infielders Sydney Griggs and Keira Womack, in order to set up the future of the team.
Both Garner and Woodall will prove to be very valuable assets to this hungry ECU softball team. If they could manage to upset a No. 2 seeded team while being the second-worst team in the conference, who knows what they can accomplish with two more experienced players at its disposal.