Pirates Slip Past Lipscomb 1-0
Feb. 11, 2011
ATHENS, Ga. - The East Carolina softball team picked up in 2011 right where it left off a year ago, recording a season-opening 1-0 victory over Lipscomb Friday morning at the Red & Black Showcase. Senior All-America Toni Paisley escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh and struck out 12 to earn the victory. The Pirates (1-0) scored their lone run on a bases-loaded walk to freshman Kristi Oshiro in the top of the second inning.
It was a match-up of All-America pitchers as Paisley (1-0) went up against Lipscomb's Whitney Kiihnl (0-1). Paisley had the edge as she surrendered just two hits and a pair of walks while recording her 42nd career shutout and 37th game with 10 or more strikeouts. Kiihnl scattered four base hits but walked eight to go along with seven strikeouts.
The Pirates mounted the first threat of the game right off the bat with a pair of four-pitch walks, but could do nothing with them as two strikeouts and a runner caught stealing ended the top of the first.
ECU scored the game's only run when Oshiro drew a bases loaded walk to force in classmate Jordan Lewis, who recorded her first career hit to lead off the frame. Freshman Jill Jelnick ended the inning with a strikeout looking.
In the top of the fourth, the Pirates had another scoring opportunity as junior Priscilla Velasquez doubled to the gap in left center with one out. A lineout and groundout to Kiihnl ended the threat.
The Pirates got the leadoff batter on in the top of the fifth as Oshiro drew her third walk of the contest, but a fielder's choice, lineout and groundout closed the half inning. Oshiro finished her first collegiate game 0-1 with a trio of walks and the RBI.
Lipscomb (0-1) tallied its first hit of the contest in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Rena Cothron dribbled a ball in front of home. Paisley picked it up and threw wide of first base, but Cothron was already at the bag. Paisley rebounded to strikeout Breanna Thurman to end the threat.
Velasquez collected her second hit of the game with two down in the top of the sixth, but was left stranded following a groundout. Velasquez turned in a strong opening game, going 2-2 with a walk.
The Lady Bisons mounted their first scoring threat in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Mackenzie Tucker drew a walk. Courtney Billington got ahead in the count 3-0, but grounded out to freshman Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin at shortstop to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, pinch hitter Rebecca Lee led off with a walk and stole second base. Following a fly out and pop out, sophomore Kai Clark drew the frame's second free pass to put runners on first and second. Junior Suzanne Riggs sent a hard grounder to the second baseman, who had the ball bounce off her face. Kiihnl picked up the loose ball in the circle and fired home to retire Lee, who was attempting to score.
Paisley ended the game by escaping a jam in the bottom of the seventh. After striking out Mollie Mitchell to start the half inning, Vanessa Medina singled through the left side. Haley Elliott then reached on an error by Jelnick to put runners on first and second with one down. Cothron was retired on a strikeout looking before Thurman worked a walk to fill the bases with two outs. Pinch hitter Kristen Sturdivant entered and struck out on three pitches to close the contests.
The 1-0 victory was the Pirates' ninth such triumph in the last two seasons. ECU started five freshmen and played six total during the game.
East Carolina returns to action at 1:00 p.m. against Illinois State in the Redbirds' first game of the year.