Pirates Drop 6-4 Decision To Hawai'i

UABSPORTS.COM Senior Charina Sumner collected two hits against Hawai'i Sunday morning.
Senior Charina Sumner collected two hits against Hawai'i Sunday morning.

March 7, 2010

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HONOLULU, Hawai'i - The East Carolina softball team overcame a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead but could not hold on as it fell to Hawai'i 6-4 Sunday morning at the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational Tournament. Senior Marina Gusman-Brown, an Aloha State native, hit a grand slam in the top of the fifth to provide the Pirates (7-10) with their only runs. Hawai'i's Alexandra Aguirre drove in the winning run in the bottom of the fifth inning, improving her team to 12-7.

Junior Toni Paisley (5-7) took the loss as she allowed six runs on seven hits. She also fanned five. For the Rainbow Wahine, Kaia Parnaby (7-3) recorded the victory, surrendering four runs on six hits. She struck out three in her five innings. Stephanie Ricketts picked up her first save of the season as she threw a hitless final two innings.

In the first inning, the Pirates had a scoring chance as senior Charina Sumner led off with a single to right field and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by classmate Christina Merrida. Freshman Kai Clark struck out, but Gusman-Brown followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with two outs. A strikeout by sophomore Priscilla Velasquez ended the threat.

Hawai'i cashed in on its scoring opportunity in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Jessica Iwata hit a one-out double to left field. Melissa Gonzalez followed with a single to left field to put runners on the corners with one out. Gonzalez stole second base and catcher Clark attempted to throw her out. On the toss to second, Iwata broke home and slid in safely to give the Rainbow Wahine a 1-0 lead. Amanda Tauali'i struck out and Traci Yoshikawa lined out to end the inning.

In the top of the third, senior Kaui Tom reached on an error by Iwata at shortstop to start the inning. Sumner lined out to left, but Merrida hit a hard grounder that Iwata again mishandled, putting runners on first and second with one out. Clark flew out to center and Gusman-Brown hit one deep to right that was hauled in to end the inning.

The Rainbow Wahine scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. Gonzalez led off with a double to left center and was replaced by pinch runner Brynne Buchanan. Tauali'i was hit by a pitch and pinch runner Mikalemi Tagab-Cruz came in to run. With the runners on first and second and no outs, Yoshikawa hit a pop-up on the infield that fell in front of freshman second baseman Cicely Lopez for a base hit that loaded the bases. Paisley walked Jenna Rodriguez to force in Buchanan for a 2-0 score. Following a fly-out, Paisley hit Kanani Pu'u-Warren to push across Tagab-Cruz.

In the top of the fifth, East Carolina used Gusman-Brown's grand slam to take a 4-3 lead. Lopez led off the inning with a single to left field. Sumner tallied her second hit of the game with a one-out single to left field that moved Lopez to second. Merrida slapped an infield single to fill the bases with only one out. Clark popped out but Gusman-Brown came through with the grand slam to right centerfor the 4-3 lead. It was Gusman-Brown's second home run in as many days as she hit one against Seattle Saturday afternoon. The four runs batted in also established her career high.

The lead did not last long, however, as Hawai'i went ahead 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth. Iwata led off with a double to right center. Gonzalez followed with a spinning ground ball to junior Sissy Jimenez at first base that was misplayed, allowing Iwata to go to third and put Gonzalez on first. Gonzalez stole second base. After a foul-out, Yoshikawa singled to left to drive in Iwata to tie the score and move Gonzalez to third. Yoshikawa stole second and Gonzalez scored on a single to left by Aguirre for a 5-4 advantage. With Yoshikawa on third, Aguirre attempted to steal second base and was tagged out in a rundown. On the play, Yoshikawa scored before the out was recorded for the final run of the game.

Senior Vanessa Moreno started things for ECU in the top of the sixth with a double to left field. Classmate Cristen Aona was hit by a pitch for the second time to put runners on first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt by Lopez moved Moreno and Aona to second and third. Tom flew out to center field and Sumner to right to end the threat.

The Pirates went down in order in the seventh, ending the game.

East Carolina completes the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational this afternoon at 7:00 p.m. EST against the loser of the No. 1 Washington versus Seattle game.