Softball Takes Two Saturday
Feb. 27, 2010
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Senior Christina Merrida scored a run and drove in another to lead East Carolina to a 2-0 victory over Towson Saturday afternoon. In the night game against Morehead State, senior Charina Sumner hit two triples and drove in a pair to lead the Pirates to a 6-3 win. The triumphs push East Carolina’s (5-7) winning streak to three games.
In game one, junior Toni Paisley (4-4) earned the win, the 59th of her career, giving her the eighth-highest total in Conference USA history. A first-inning walk to Towson’s Sammi DiPompo broke her string of consecutive batters retired at 25, but the two-hit shutout was her first of the season and 23rd blanking of her career. The 13 strikeouts were two shy of her career high and gave her four games this season with double-digit whiffs.
Katie Lingmai (1-1) took the loss for Towson (2-3) despite allowing just four hits and striking out three.
In the second contest, sophomore Faith Sutton (1-3) earned the first victory of her East Carolina career, surrendering three runs on seven hits in six-and-two-thirds innings. Paisley recorded the last out of the game to earn her first save of the season. Alex Gjevre (0-4) took the loss for the Eagles (1-6) after giving up five runs on five hits in three innings.
In the opening game against Towson, East Carolina had a chance to score in the bottom of the first as Sumner drew a four-pitch walk and stole second base before Merrida received a free pass. A sacrifice bunt by freshman Kai Clark advanced the runners to second and third with one out, but a pop-out and fly-out ended the threat.
Mindy Bean was hit by a pitch to begin the Towson second and advanced to second on a Courtney Wittner sacrifice bunt. Jillian Donnelly was plunked with one out to put runners on first and second. Paisley escaped without damage as a fielder’s choice and strikeout looking ended the inning.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third with an unearned run. Merrida smacked a two-out double to left center, stole third base and scored when the catcher’s throw got away from the third baseman.
Both teams went quietly until ECU scored again in the fifth for the 2-0 final. Merrida drove in Sumner with two outs after Sumner walked then stole second and third.
The Tigers recorded their second and final hit of the contest in the top of the sixth when Stef Streets hit a two-out double off the top of the wall in left field. Paisley ended the inning with her 11th strikeout of the game and retired Towson in order in the seventh to end the game.
The Morehead State contest got off to a fast start as Sumner tripled to center field to lead off the top of the first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Merrida. After totaling four RBI all of last season, Merrida has picked up four in the past three games. For Sumner, the run scored was the 112th of her career, putting her in 10th place in program history.
The Pirates tacked on two more runs in the second inning when Sumner hit her second triple of the contest to drive in two with two outs. Sophomore Priscilla Velasquez was hit by a pitch to start the frame. Senior Vanessa Moreno laid down a bunt that was misplayed by the third baseman, resulting in the runners being safe on first and second. A sacrifice bunt by freshman Cicely Lopez moved the pair up a base. Senior Kaui Tom lined out to third, but Sumner came through with the triple for a 3-0 advantage.
The three-base hit was the 14th of Sumner’s career, putting her in a tie for fifth place on both the East Carolina and Conference USA career charts. With two triples in the game, Sumner also became the first Pirate to accomplish that feat since Lacassa Hill smacked two against Liberty April 17, 2004.
In the bottom of the frame, the Eagles trimmed their deficit to 3-2. Rebecca Butler led off with a home run to center field. Bianca Cardenas followed with a walk before Amber Riddle and Kayla Brill singled to load the bases with no outs. A sacrifice fly by Anna Sommer drove in pinch runner Taylor Sherritt, but Sutton recovered, inducing back-to-back pop-outs to end the inning.
ECU scored twice in the third to make it 5-2. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with one out and brought Moreno to the plate. She sent a single to center field that drove in Clark, who had walked. Lopez followed with another single, this one plating senior Cristen Aona, who had also drawn a walk.
The Eagles ran themselves out of a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fourth. Cardenas led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a single by Riddle. On the next pitch, Riddle stole second base and Clark attempted to throw her out. On Clark’s throw to second, Cardenas broke home, but shortstop Tom threw back to Clark to tag Cardenas out at the plate. Riddle rounded second too far following her steal and was tagged out between second and third by Aona to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Velasquez provided the Pirates' final run as she led off with her first career home run to make it 6-2. Her two runs scored in the game gave her a career high.
Morehead State added the game’s final run in the bottom of the seventh as Kayla Ashbrook hit a two-out single that scored pinch runner Sam Sparks. With runners on first and second, Paisley came in and struck out Elizabeth Wagner to end the contest.
Tomorrow, ECU completes this weekend’s action at approximately 11:00 a.m. against Penn State.