Softball Takes Two At Hampton
April 7, 2010
HAMPTON, Va. - The East Carolina softball team picked up a pair of five-inning victories over Hampton Wednesday afternoon at Lady Pirates Field. ECU (22-12) took the first contest 9-0 and the second 12-0 while running its shutout streak to five-straight games. Senior Marina Gusman-Brown led the offense with four hits, including two home runs in the second contest, five runs batted in and five runs scored during the two games. Classmates Cristen Aona and Kaui Tom each also hit a home run during game two.
The pair of wins improves the Pirates to 16-0 all time against the Lady Pirates of Hampton (15-24). This season, East Carolina has won 14 of its past 15 contests and is 20-5 since beginning the campaign with a 2-7 mark.
In the opener, Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week Toni Paisley (16-7) allowed three singles and no walks while striking out 12 to record her 11th-straight victory. The win was the 71st of her career, moving her into a tie with UCF's Allison Kime (2006-08) for sixth in Conference USA history. Travonna Byrd (5-10) took the loss for Hampton as she surrendered nine runs on eight hits and seven walks.
Sophomore Faith Sutton (6-5) was just as impressive as Paisley in going all five innings of the second game. She earned the fourth shutout of her ECU career after giving up just one single, striking out seven and hitting a batter. Sydni Benton (2-8) took the loss for the Lady Pirates after throwing the first four-and-two-thirds innings. She allowed 10 hits, a walk and 12 runs, seven earned. Jada Jeffries came in to record the final out.
In the opener, East Carolina took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Gusman-Brown led off being hit by the game's initial pitch. After Gusman-Brown stole second base, classmate Christina Merrida reached on an error by the first baseman. Senior Charina Sumner drove in both runners with a single to right field. The Pirates put two more runners on in the inning, but a double play ended the threat.
The top of the second had ECU break the game open with six runs to take an 8-0 lead. Aona led off with a walk and junior Sissy Jimenez followed with an infield single. A single into left field by senior Nicole Jordan scored Aona and moved Jimenez to second. Gusman-Brown followed with a double to the gap in left center, driving in Jimenez. Merrida picked up an infield single that brought in Jordan for a 5-0 advantage. Gusman-Brown and Merrida then executed a double steal with Merrida taking second and Gusman-Brown coming home for the sixth run.
After a pair of outs, a walk and a hit batter, Aona came up again in the second with the bases loaded. She delivered a single through the right side that brought in the final two runs of the inning.
Hampton got its first of three hits in the bottom of the second when Rebecca Magett singled through the left side with two outs. Tom made the stop, but was too deep in the hole between shortstop and third base to make a play. Magett was left stranded after a strikeout.
East Carolina continued its scoring in the top of the third with another run to make it 9-0. After a groundout and fielder's choice, Merrida was on first base with one out. Sumner singled through the right side, advancing Merrida to second. Freshman Kai Clark worked a walk to load the bases with two down. Tom then singled to right field, driving in Merrida, who scored a career-high three runs in the contest.
Hampton picked up two more singles during the contest, but could not push across a run in the five-inning ECU victory. Every Pirate player who recorded an at bat but one picked up a base hit, with Sumner producing the only two-hit performance.
In the second game, the Pirates wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Gusman-Brown led off with a home run over the wall in left center. It was the first time ECU had led off a game with a home run since senior Vanessa Moreno hit one against Southern Miss April 29, 2006.
East Carolina added another run in the top of the third as Jordan led off with a double to right center, advanced to third on a ground out to the pitcher by Gusman-Brown and scored on a two-out single to left field by Sumner.
The Pirates scored 10 times in the top of the fifth to put the game away. Aona (solo), Tom (two run) and Gusman-Brown (three run), each hit a home run in the frame. It was the first three-long-ball inning for the Pirates since belting three in the third inning against George Washington Feb. 9, 2008. Also driving in runs in the inning were Clark with a single and Sumner with a fielder's choice.
Gusman-Brown tied her career highs with four runs batted in and three hits during the game. She also became the first player to hit two home runs in a game since Erin St. Ledger against Kent State Feb. 8, 2008.
Sutton picked up two strikeouts in the bottom of the fifth to seal the win.
East Carolina resumes action this weekend with another key Conference USA series as UAB (22-9, 6-3 C-USA) comes to Greenville for three games. The Blazers are one of three teams tied for second in the league behind the Pirates. The series begins with a 1:00 p.m. Saturday doubleheader. The teams complete the weekend Sunday with a 12:00 p.m. contest.