East Carolina Blanks Maine 2-0
March 10, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After waiting out an hour rain delay, East Carolina defeated Maine 2-0 Thursday evening at the ECU Softball Stadium. The Pirates (18-6) scored both runs in the bottom of the fourth when junior Suzanne Riggs doubled over the head of the center fielder with two outs. Senior Toni Paisley picked up her 13th victory of the year and 50th career shutout.
Paisley (13-3) scattered four hits and fanned six in seven innings. She did not walk a batter but hit one. Kylie Sparks (2-3) took the tough-luck loss for the Black Bears as both runs were unearned. Sparks threw the first four-and-a-third innings, allowing four hits and striking out two. Ashley Kelley came in for the final inning-and-two-thirds and gave up one hit and struck out one.
Neither team was able to register a base runner until the bottom of the second when ECU freshman Alex Fieldhouse hit a two-out single up the middle. Riggs followed with a hard liner off the glove of the third baseman and into left field, putting runners on first and second. The threat was ended by a groundout to the third baseman by freshman Mahrisch Medina.
Maine recorded its first base hit of the game in the top of the third when Lindsey Jenkins lined a ball off the glove of a leaping Jill Jelnick at second base. Paisley ended the inning with a foul out and pop out.
The Black Bears (7-16) had the next threat of the game in the top of the fourth. Kali Burnham was hit by a pitch to open the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Terren Hall. A pair of strikeouts by Paisley kept the visitors off the board.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Pirates snapped the scoreless tie with a pair of runs. Senior Sissy Jimenez led off reaching on a throwing error by the second baseman and freshman Taylor Megargel entered to pinch run. After a strikeout, freshman Abby Wynne dropped a single into center field that moved Megargel to second. A pop out by Fieldhouse followed, but Riggs came through with a double over the head of the center fielder that drove in Megargel and Wynne. Medina closed the inning with a groundout to the second baseman.
Maine tried to rally in the top of the fifth, but could not convert. Meghan McLain doubled to the gap in left center with one out, but was left on the bag after a groundout and pop out.
The Black Bears loaded the bases with one out in the top of the sixth but were again held off the board. Jennifer Eberhardt singled to left and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Burnham. Hall followed with a single to left that put runners on the corners with one down. A fielder's choice back to Paisley by Kirstin Allen filled the bases with still only one down. The Pirates avoided damage as Jelnick turned the team's first double play of the year, catching a line drive off the bat of Dagmar Ralphs and tagging second as Hall got too far off the bag.
Paisley retired Maine in order in the top of the seventh to seal the victory.
East Carolina now heads into the second portion of its season with the start of Conference USA action. The Pirates kick off league play this weekend, hosting Memphis (13-4) for a three-game series. The teams play a doubleheader Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m. and complete the weekend Sunday with a 12:00 p.m. contest.