Pirates Fall Twice In Florida
Feb. 14, 2010
CLEARWATER, Fla. - On its final day of action at the USF DeMarini Tournament, the East Carolina softball team dropped a pair of games, losing 3-0 to No. 13 Georgia Tech (3-0) and 2-1 to Long Island (2-1). The defeats move the Pirates' record to 1-3.
In the opener, Georgia Tech freshman pitcher Hope Rush (2-0) surrendered just a first-inning walk and back-to-back seventh-inning singles with two outs. In her first career start Saturday, Rush gave up five hits and shut out No. 3 Florida en route to another 3-0 victory.
East Carolina's Toni Paisley (1-1) gave up three runs on five hits, two of which were home runs. She struck out 10 during the game.
The Yellow Jackets jumped on the Pirates for a run in the first inning as Jen Yee hit a one-out solo home run to right field. Yee gave Georgia Tech a 2-0 lead in the top of the third when she doubled to left center with two outs to drive in Kate Kuzma, who had singled earlier in the inning. Yee finished the game going 2-2 with two runs batted in, a run scored and a walk.
In the top of the fourth, the Yellow Jackets put their final run on the board as Kristen Adkins homered to center field.
Georgia Tech had a chance to add to its run total in the top of the sixth, but solid defense helped the Pirates escape without any damage. Yee led off with a walk and Kelsi Weseman followed with a short fly to center field. Senior Christina Merrida charged hard, dove and caught the ball in her outstretched glove. Rush came up next and singled down the left field line to put runners on first and second. A walk to Jessica Sinclair loaded the bases with only one out. Adkins swung at the first pitch she saw and popped out to senior Charina Sumner, who stepped on second base to double off pinch runner Kelly Eppinger.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Pirate senior Marina Gusman-Brown broke up Rush's no-hit bid with a single to right field. Junior Sissy Jimenez followed with another single to right, but Gusman-Brown ended the game when she was thrown out at third base trying to advance on the hit.
In the second game, sophomore Faith Sutton (0-2) took the loss as she gave up two runs, both unearned, on six hits. Long Island starter Blaire Porter (2-0) recorded the victory, limiting the Pirates to five hits and one run while striking out six.
ECU had a chance to score in the first inning when senior Vanessa Moreno and Gusman-Brown hit consecutive two-out singles. A ground ball to the second baseman provided the final out of the frame.
Long Island also had an opportunity in the first inning as Bianca Mejia led off with a single to left field and Brynn Lewis drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second. As it had for the Pirates, a groundout closed the inning.
The Blackbirds took advantage of an ECU error and a pair of singles to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. A sacrifice fly to right field by Raylene Asman drove in Chelsea Martinson, who had reached on a dropped pop up by the catcher, for the first run. Mariesha Marker then sent a hard ground ball to Kaui Tom at shortstop. Tom dove and made the stop but could not get an out on the play, allowing Karina Cervantes to score the second run.
In the bottom of the third, Long Island had another scoring opportunity when Sterling Hoham led off with a walk, went to second on a passed ball and advanced to third on an infield single by Amanda MacIntosh. With runners on the corners and one out, Sutton induced two pop outs to end the threat.
Neither team mounted another threat until the bottom of the fifth when two singles and another Pirate error put LIU runners on second and third with one out. Paisley came on in relief of Sutton and recorded a strikeout before walking Martinson to load the bases with two down. Paisley escaped without any damage when Cervantes popped out to Tom.
Paisley finished the weekend with 17 strikeouts, leaving her one shy of entering the Conference USA top 10 as she has fanned 555 batters in her career.
The Pirates broke up the shutout with a run in the top of the sixth. Freshman Cicely Lopez pinch hit for Merrida and drew a walk. Merrida re-entered to run and scored when Gusman-Brown hit a two-out triple off the bottom of the wall in right field.
The late comeback fell short, though, as Gusman-Brown was stranded and no ECU batter reached base in the top of the seventh.
East Carolina returns to the Sunshine State next weekend for the Lipton Invitational in Gainesville. Friday, the Pirates play Marshall at 9 a.m. and Campbell at 11:15 a.m. The contest against the Thundering Herd will not count toward this season's Conference USA standings.