Softball Splits With UAB
April 16, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - East Carolina visited Conference USA-leader UAB Saturday and won the first game 3-2 in 11 innings before falling in the second contest 2-0. In the opener, Pirate freshman center fielder Jasmine Robbins threw out the potential game-winning run at home plate in the bottom of the 10th and drove in the deciding score with a double down the left-field line in the top of the 11th. Senior Toni Paisley became the Conference USA career leader in wins, innings pitched and appearances in game one. The second game had the Blazers' Kristen McGrath hit a two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to account for the only runs of the contest.
With the victory in game one, the Pirates (30-16, 10-7 C-USA) reached the 30-win plateau for the eighth-straight season. Within C-USA, only Tulsa has a longer active streak of 30-win seasons with 10. The only other league program to have won 30 or more games in both of the last two years is UAB (31-12, 12-2 C-USA).
During the first game, Paisley (23-8) did not allow a hit until the bottom of the seventh inning and scattered five in the complete-game victory. She allowed one earned run, issued a trio of walks and struck out 15. The victory was the 109th of her career, pushing her past DePaul's Lindsay Chouinard (2000-03) for the league record. During the first inning, Paisley also became the C- USA all-time leader in innings pitched (986.0) and appearances (168). She surpassed Chouinard for the innings standard (975.0) and 2007 teammate Keli Harrell for the appearances mark (167). The 15 whiffs also gave Paisley sole possession of 28th on the NCAA Division I career list with 1,171. UAB's Leigh Streetman (10-5) took the loss as she allowed three runs, two earned, and fanned 12. She also walked three.
In the second contest, junior Faith Sutton (7-8) suffered the setback. She threw all six innings and allowed five hits, three walks and fanned four while giving up the two-run homer. Alisha Smith (8-3) picked up the win for the Blazers, limiting the Pirates to three hits. She issued one walk and struck out eight.
In the opener, the only base runner for either team through the first three innings was ECU senior Sissy Jimenez, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the second. She did not move beyond first, as a pop out, foul out and groundout followed.
East Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth after tallying the first hits of the game. Freshman Kristi Oshiro led off with a single to right center and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by classmate Alex Fieldhouse. Following a foul out, freshman Jordan Lewis drove in Oshiro with a single to left field. Junior Suzanne Riggs drew a walk, but a pop out to Streetman in the circle ended the threat.
The Pirates added another run in the top of the fifth for a 2-0 lead. Robbins started the inning with an infield single to third baseman Kate Armstrong, who dove for the ball and knocked it down but had no play. With freshman Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin at bat, UAB's catcher, Mandy Lowman, threw down to first for the pickoff. The throw went wide, however, and allowed Robbins to move to second. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kaluhiokalani-Glackin. Freshman Jill Jelnick followed with a single off the glove of Armstrong and into left field, plating Robbins for a 2-0 lead. Oshiro picked up a walk to put runners on first and second with one out, but two strikeouts got Streetman out of trouble.
UAB got a run back in the bottom of the fifth without the help of a hit. Lowman battled for 11 pitches before drawing a leadoff walk for the Blazers' first base runner of the game. Tiffany Smith entered to pinch run for Lowman and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Armstrong. Paisley's throw on the Armstrong bunt went into right field and allowed Smith to move to third. Jelnick was backing up the play in right and threw to Kaluhiokalani-Glackin covering second to tag out Armstrong. Paisley retired Kristen McGrath on a foul out to Fieldhouse near third base for the second out. With two strikes on Erica Sisson, Smith took off from third and stole home to make it a 2-1 game. Paisley struck out Sisson to close the inning.
In the top of the seventh, ECU had a two-out threat, but could not push across another run. Jelnick singled to center with two down and stole second, but was left stranded after a foul out.
The Blazers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh and stole home again to tie the game at 2-2. Catherine Douglass led off with a single to Kaluhiokalani-Glackin at shortstop, beating out the throw for UAB's first hit of the game. Kayla Orr followed with a bunt that went in the air and over the head of a charging Fieldhouse at third. Lowman was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Paisley retired Armstrong and Kristen McGrath on strikeouts swinging. With two strikes on pinch hitter Megan McGrath, Douglass stole home to knot the game at 2-2. Megan McGrath fanned looking to end the seventh.
In the top of the eighth, the Pirates put two runners on with two outs as Lewis singled off the glove of Streetman and Riggs drew a walk. A pop out to Streetman closed the threat.
Neither team had another runner reach second base until the bottom of the 10th, when UAB nearly won the game. After a strikeout started the inning, Megan McGrath was hit by a pitch and replaced by pinch runner Donna Plath. Lauren Webster followed with a single to left field, putting runners on first and second with one out. Paisley retired Sallie Van Kirk on a strikeout swinging before Caley Walden then singled to left center. Plath tried to score, but was retired at the plate by a perfect throw from Robbins to keep the game tied 2-2.
The Pirates took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th on a clutch hit by Robbins. With one out, Riggs singled off Anderson and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Robbins then ripped a double down the left-field line to plate Riggs. The hit was Robbins' career-high third of the contest. A strikeout allowed Streetman to escape without further damage.
Paisley got the first two outs of the 11th with a groundout and fly out. Lowman drew a four-pitch walk with two down. Paisley fell behind Armstrong 3-0, but came back to retire her on a groundout to Kaluhiokalani-Glackin to seal the victory and lift ECU's record to 3-4 in extra-inning contests this season.
In the second game, UAB threatened right away as Walden started the bottom of the first with an infield single and stole second. After a strikeout, Orr walked to put runners on first and second. Lowman popped out to Oshiro at second base, but a fielding error loaded the bases with two outs. Sutton got out of trouble by getting Kristen McGrath to ground into a fielder's choice with Fieldhouse stepping on third for the force out.
East Carolina got its leadoff batter on in the top of the third as Robbins reached on a throwing error by Armstrong. A trio of groundouts left Robbins stranded on third.
The Pirates had another opportunity in the top of the fourth, but were held off the board. With one out, Riggs singled to right field. Following a strikeout, sophomore Kai Clark drove a single to left, putting runners on first and second with two down. A strikeout looking closed the threat.
UAB threatened in the bottom of the frame but did not score. Lowman led off with a walk and was replaced by pinch runner Kristi Morton, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Kristen McGrath lined out to Robbins, who made her second diving catch of the day, and a groundout to Oshiro ended the threat.
Another defensive gem helped the Pirates avoid trouble in the bottom of the fifth. Smith led off with a double over the head of Riggs in left, but tried to stretch it into a triple and was thrown out by Riggs. Van Kirk sent the first pitch of her at-bat into center field for a single. A pop out and fly out kept the game locked at 0-0.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Riggs doubled down the left-field line, but a strikeout left her stranded.
The Blazers put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth and scored the game's only runs. Webster singled to center with two outs and Kristen McGrath homered to left center.
Smith retired the first two Pirates in the seventh with a groundout and strikeout. Robbins drew a two-out walk, but a strikeout ended the game.
The teams decide the three-game series Sunday with a 2:00 p.m. contest.