Pirates Split In California
March 21, 2008
PALO ALTO, Calif. - The East Carolina softball team split its first two games of the Stanford Invitational II Friday afternoon at Boyd and Jill Smith Family Stadium, dropping a tough 7-6 decision to BYU while taking out Princeton 8-0 in six innings. The Pirates move to 22-11 on the season while the Cougars improve to 17-11 and the Tigers fall to 3-13.
Charina Sumner walked to lead off the game against BYU then stole second. After Johnson was hit by a pitch with one out, Erin St. Ledger struck out and Stacey Andrews grounded out to second to end the half-inning.
The Cougars put the first run of the game on the board in the bottom of the second. Daniela Snow and Angleline Quiocho led off the at bat with consecutive singles. After Emi Willing and Caschjen Davis fouled out, Stephanie Hopkins stepped up and laced a single up the middle that scored Snow. BYU extended its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs on three RBI singles, a walk and a stolen base.
The Pirates responded in the top of the fifth, batting around to take the lead. Vanessa Moreno doubled to lead off the inning then scored a batter later on a fielder's choice play and an error by the Cougar pitcher. Sissy Jimenez then pinch hit for Christina Merrida and drew a walk. Merrida would then return to the base path and steal second. After Jessica Johnson struck out swinging, St. Ledger reached on an error by the pitcher, allowing Merrida to score and cut the East Carolina deficit to 4-2. Gallgher then pinch ran for St. Ledger and advanced to second on a wild pitch. The next batter, Stacey Andrews, was hit by a pitch to load the bases, bringing up Cristen Aona. Aona would come through, tripling down the right field line to clear the bases and put the Pirates on top 5-4. As Angel Barrella dug into the box, a wild pitch scored Aona to give ECU a 6-4 advantage. Barrella then grounded out to first unassisted to end the Pirate at bat. BYU put runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the inning but Swann induced a flyout from Jessica Purcell to terminate the threat.
East Carolina threatened to add to its lead in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Sumner doubled to center. She would reach third as Merrida walked. However, Johnson popped up to short for the third out. The Cougars battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth off of Pirate freshman hurler Britt Howell, who relieved junior Brooke Swann at the beginning of the half-inning. With Gonzalez and Vance on second and third with one out, Snow doubled down the left field line to score the runners. BYU finished the job in the bottom of the seventh, scoring the winning run off of a leadoff, walkoff home run by Davis to center field.
Howell took the loss for ECU, giving up three runs over one inning on three hits. The defeat was her first since Feb. 24. Swann registered no decision, giving up four runs on eight hits and three walks. The junior struck out four. Aona tallied the only three RBI for the Pirates as she notched her eighth RBI in her last three contests.
East Carolina jumped on top 2-0 in the bottom of the first against Princeton. Sumner led off the at bat with a single to right and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kaui Tom. Johnson was then awarded first as she was hit by a pitch. The next batter, St. Ledger, doubled to center, scoring Sumner. Aona then stepped up and singled through the right side for the Pirates' second run.
ECU added two more scores in the bottom of the second. Andrews led off the half-inning by smashing her fifth home run of the season to center, tying Johnson for the team long ball lead. Merrida was then hit by a pitch and proceeded to steal second. She would reach third a batter later on a passed ball. After Tom lined out to short, Johnson singled through the right side to score Merrida.
The Tigers tried to rally in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Jamie Lettire and Collette Abbott singled. However, Erin Miller struck out to extinguish the Princeton scoring hopes. Pirate starter Howell quelled another two-out Tiger rally in the top of the sixth, getting Miller to ground out with runners on first and second.
East Carolina finished off Princeton in the bottom of the sixth, plating four runs on four hits to make the final score 8-0. The game was called due to the eight runs after five innings mercy rule. Howell earned her fifth win of the season as her record stands at 5-2. She scattered six hits while striking out four. The shutout is her third of the season. Aona continued her recent hot streak, going 3-for-3 with three RBI. She now has 11 RBI in her last four games.
The Pirates return to action tomorrow as they contest a rematch with Princeton and a contest with Wisconsin. First pitch against the Tigers is scheduled for 1 p.m. while the game with the Badgers follows at 3 p.m.