Softball Splits Again
March 14, 2009
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The East Carolina softball team split a doubleheader at Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon, winning the first game 2-1 before falling 6-3 in the second contest. Toni Paisley's second no-hitter of the week and Marina Gusman-Brown's two runs batted in led the Pirates (15-8, 3-2 C-USA) to the victory in game one. In the second game, Southern Miss (13-14-1, 2-3 C-USA) used a four-run fifth inning and five Megan Hill RBIs to secure the win. Gusman-Brown drove in all five of the East Carolina runs on the day and Jessica Johnson went 3-3 in the game two. The no-hitter was the fourth of Paisley`s career and tied her for third on the C-USA career list.
In game one, the Pirates scored their only runs in the first inning. Christina Merrida started the contest with a walk and Charina Sumner followed with a bunt single. Johnson's sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third before Gusman-Brown doubled to center field and drove in both to gave ECU the 2-0 advantage. The Pirates have scored 19 first-inning runs this season, making it their highest-scoring frame.
East Carolina had its only other scoring threat in the top of the third as Sumner doubled with one out and Johnson was hit by a pitch. Gusman-Brown then struck out and Angel Barrella grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Paisley sent down the first 10 Southern Miss batters that she faced before walking Leslie LeJune with one out in the bottom of the fourth. LeJune stole second, but Paisley got the Golden Eagles' clean-up batter, Megan Hill, to pop out to Sumner to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Southern Miss' Courtney Hill reached on an error by the shortstop with two outs. LeJune then worked her second walk of the game to put runners on first and second. The Golden Eagles' three-hitter in the order, Kristin Pilgrim, lined out to Cristen Aona at third to end the inning.
The bottom of the seventh had Southern Miss score its run when Ashley Razey was hit by a pitch and Lauren Castellvi reached on an error by the third baseman. A passed ball then moved the runners to second and third with only one out. Logan James' sacrifice fly to center field cut the ECU lead in half and made the score 2-1. Paisley then struck out pinch hitter Alexis Hurley to end the game.
The second game had Southern Miss taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Stephanie Shiflet and Courtney Hill hit back-to-back one-out singles with Shiflet advancing to third on Hill's hit. LeJune then hit a bouncer back to Paisley, who threw home to get Shiflet out on a fielder's choice. Pilgrim followed with a walk to load the bases with two outs. Megan Hill then stroked a single to center field that gave the Golden Eagles the two-run advantage.
East Carolina answered with a run in the top of the fourth to make the score 2-1 in favor of Southern Miss. Johnson singled to center with one out and scored on Gusman-Brown's double off the wall in left.
Southern Miss then scored four in the bottom of the fifth to put the game away. Courtney Hill singled with one out, stole second base and scored on Pilgrim's single to center for a 3-1 lead. Megan Hill then drove in LeJune, who had walked, and Pilgrim with a home run to left field for a 6-1 advantage.
The Johnson and Gusman-Brown combination produced two more runs for the Pirates in the top of the sixth. Johnson led off with a walk and Gusman-Brown hit a home run to center to make the Golden Eagle lead just three runs at 6-3. Jillian Gallagher and Bibee hit back-to-back two-out singles in the frame, but pinch hitter Priscilla Velasquez struck out to end the inning. Gallagher singled in both of the day's games to extend her team-best hitting streak to eight games and give her 11 hits in the last six games.
Sumner and Johnson hit one-out singles in the top of the seventh, but that was all the ECU offense could manage. It was the first time all season the Pirates lost when scoring more than two runs in a game.
The two teams finish the series tomorrow with one game scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.