Softball Completes Sweep Of UCF
March 29, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Another solid pitching performance by Toni Paisley and runs batted in from five players led East Carolina (24-9, 9-3 C-USA) to a 5-0 victory over UCF (16-20, 2-7 C-USA) on Sunday afternoon. Not only did the Pirates sweep the series from the Knights, but they also held UCF scoreless in the three games. ECU's 9-3 start in Conference USA play this season ties the 2005 squad for the program's best-ever 12-game record. The victory also gives ECU back-to-back C-USA sweeps for the first time since the last two league series in 2006.
Paisley picked up the win -- the 43rd of her career, which tied her for seventh-most in school history -- and improved to 18-4 on the season. It was Paisley's seventh-straight appearance allowing one run or fewer.
Also during the game, Jessica Johnson's one run batted in moved her into sole possession of ninth-place on the Conference USA career RBI chart. Johnson and Christina Merrida both collected two hits for ECU.
The Pirates started their scoring in the bottom of the second inning with one run. Cristen Aona was hit by a pitch with one out and Paisley followed with a double to right center that drove in Aona.
In the bottom of the third, East Carolina added two more runs to make the score 3-0. Merrida led off with a single to left, moved to second on Charina Sumner's sacrifice bunt and scored on Johnson's single to right field. Four pitches later, Angel Barrella tripled down the right-field line to plate Johnson and make the score 3-0. The triple was the third of the season for Barrella.
UCF threatened in the top of the fourth when Tiffany Lane led off with a walk and advanced to second on Breanne Javier's sacrifice bunt. Paisley then induced a pop out and groundout, both to Kaui Tom at shortstop, to end the inning.
ECU tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth for a 4-0 lead as Merrida singled with one out, stole second and moved to third on Sumner's groundout. Gusman-Brown then sent a knuckling pop up to the right side of the infield that no Knight could handle, resulting in a single and Merrida crossing the plate.
The Pirates added their final run in the bottom of the fifth. Paisley was hit by a pitch with one out and Jillian Gallagher came in as a pinch runner. Gallagher then moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on pinch-hitter Sissy Jimenez's single up the middle.
The Knights tallied their first hits of the afternoon in the top of the sixth as Lane and Javier tallied back-to-back one-out singles. Paisley escaped the jam again, getting Hillary Barrow to line out to Aona at third and Vanessa Perez to ground into a fielder's choice.
In the top of the seventh, Lindsay Dean led off with a walk and Natalie Land followed by reaching on an error, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Paisley then retired the next two Knights before hitting Abby McClain with a pitch to load the bases with two outs. With a 2-2 count, Paisley got Lane to ground out to Sumner at second to end the game.
Next on the slate for the Pirates is a trip to Chapel Hill on Wednesday to face their third in-state rival of the season, No. 18 North Carolina, for a single game starting at 6 p.m.