Pirates Take Two In California
March 14, 2010
BERKELEY, Calif. - The East Carolina softball team completed its spring break trip with a pair of victories Saturday at the Cal Round Robin. The Pirates (11-11) defeated Cal State Fullerton 2-0 in the first game before topping UC Davis 4-0 in the afternoon contest. All six of ECU's runs were scored with two outs.
Senior Charina Sumner drove in the game-winning run in the opener with a fifth-inning single. Against UC Davis, senior Christina Merrida led ECU with two hits while classmate Vanessa Moreno drove in a pair of runs. Sophomore Priscilla Velasquez picked up the game-winning RBI with a first-inning single.
Junior Toni Paisley (7-7) recorded the victory in game one as she held the Titans to just one hit and retired the final 14 batters. She did not issue a walk and fanned 12, marking the fifth time this season, and 25th of her career, she reached double-digit strikeouts. Of the first seven outs Paisley recorded, six were whiffs. Ari Cervantes (1-7) took the loss for Cal State Fullerton (3-19), despite allowing just four hits and striking out four.
In the second game, sophomore Faith Sutton (4-4) went the first four-and-two-thirds innings, allowing four hits while striking out four. Paisley came on to throw the final two-and-a-third frames, earning her second save of the season as she gave up just one hit. Alex Holmes (5-5) suffered the loss for UC Davis (8-14) as she allowed six hits, four walks and one earned run.
In the first contest, Merrida hit a one-out single in the bottom of the first and stole second base but a lineout and groundout ended the threat.
In the bottom of the third, senior Kaui Tom led off with a walk. A lineout followed, but Tom stole second and advanced to third on a Merrida groundout. Another groundout ended the inning.
With one out in the top of the third, Cal State Fullerton got its only hit of the contest on a single to left field by Cervantes.
The Pirates had another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fourth but could not convert. Freshman Kai Clark led off with a walk and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Velasquez. Freshman Cicely Lopez grounded out but senior Cristen Aona drew the second free pass of the frame to put runners on first and second. A strikeout allowed Cervantes to escape without any damage.
East Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out rally. Senior Marina Gusman-Brown was hit by a pitch with one out and stole second base after a strikeout. Sumner came through with a single up the middle to drive in Gusman-Brown. Clark then drew her second walk of the game to put runners on first and second with two down. A groundout ended the threat. The fifth inning has been the team's highest scoring this season as 20 runs have been scored during the frame.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Pirates added their second run. Aona reached on a fielding error by the pitcher with one out. Moreno followed with a single into left field, putting runners on first and second. Tom grounded out to the pitcher, advancing both runners up a base. On the next pitch, Gusman-Brown hit a hard single into center field that plated Aona. Gusman-Brown stole second base but a strikeout closed the frame.
Paisley ended the game getting two pop-outs and a strikeout from the Titans.
In the second contest, ECU wasted little time as it took a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Merrida hit a one-out infield single and stole second. Sumner was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Clark struck out, but Velasquez singled to left, driving in Merrida. A groundout ended the inning.
UC Davis got two runners on base in the top of the second but could not convert. Sarah Axelson led off with a single to right center. After a pop-out on a bunt attempt and a strikeout, Marissa Araujo was hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Sutton rebounded to strikeout JJ Wagoner and get out of the jam.
The Pirates missed out on an opportunity to add to their lead in the third inning. Merrida and Sumner hit consecutive infield singles to start the frame but were left stranded after a pop-out and two groundouts.
Both teams went quietly until the top of the fifth, when the Aggies put two on with two outs. Megan Guzman and Alex Holmes hit back-to-back infield singles. Paisley came on in relief of Sutton and battled with Jessica Gonzalez, who had singled and walked earlier in the contest, for 13 pitches before striking her out looking to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Pirates broke the contest open with three runs to take a 4-0 lead. Merrida drew a one-out walk, but was forced out at second by a Sumner fielder's choice. Sumner stole second and Clark reached on a fielding error by the pitcher, putting runners on the corners with two outs. Velasquez received a free pass to load the bases. After falling behind 0-2, Lopez fought all the way back to draw a walk that plated Sumner. Moreno singled to center field on the next pitch to drive in the final two runs.
UC Davis' Araujo hit a one-out single in the seventh, but Michelle Espiritu lined into a double play to end the contest.
The Pirates' next action is Saturday, when Conference USA play kicks off with a three-game series at defending league champion Tulsa. A Saturday doubleheader begins at 2:00 p.m.