Aona Leads Pirates To Sweep Of Memphis
April 19, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Cristen Aona drove in three runs and scored another as East Carolina defeated Memphis 6-1 on Sunday afternoon to complete the three-game series sweep. The victory extends the Pirates’ (34-11, 17-4 C-USA) winning streak to eight games. They have won the last six contests against Memphis (20-25, 5-13 C-USA).
The 17 Conference USA victories ties the 2005 squad for the most in a season in program history. The win also gives the Pirates four Conference USA series sweeps this season, the most in a year in program history.
Toni Paisley, 26-6, picked up her fifth victory of the week for the Pirates as she scattered six hits and struck out six.
After sending Memphis down in order to start the game, ECU scored two runs in the bottom of the first. With two outs Jessica Johnson singled to left, stole second and scored on Aona’s double to right center. The base knock extended Aona’s hitting streak to a eight games, tied for the longest in her career.
Marina Gusman-Brown kept the inning alive with a single to left that drove in Aona. Sarah Bibee also singled to left but Gusman-Brown was thrown out at home to end the inning. With the two runs, East Carolina has outscored its opponents 31-9 in the first inning.
The Tigers got on the board with a run in the top of the third to make the score 2-1. Leandra Hines singled to left, stole second and scored on a single to center by Leila Dolfo. Lelani Bernardino followed with a ground ball to Kaui Tom at shortstop. Tom tried to force Dolfo out at second, but Dolfo beat Tom to the bag, putting runners on first and second with one out. Tori Gross then hit a line drive that was caught at third by Aona, who threw Dolfo out at second for the inning-ending double play.
In the bottom of the third, the Pirates regained their two-run lead. Angel Barrella led off reaching on an error by the shortstop and moved to second on Charina Sumner’s sacrifice bunt. Johnson flew out deep to left and Barrella tagged and went to third on the play. Aona collected her second two-out RBI of the contest on her infield single that drove in Barrella for a 3-1 ECU advantage. It was Aona’s fifth multi-RBI game in the last eight contests and team-leading 11th two-out run batted in.
In the top of the fourth for Memphis, Maddie McKinley hit a one-out double and Brittany Gooch followed with an infield single, putting runners on first and third with one out. Gooch stole second, but Paisley struck out Nikki Moreno and Jessica Phillips to end the threat.
East Carolina added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 5-1 lead. Barrella led off with a single up the middle and Sumner put down a bunt. The Tigers’ third baseman attempted to throw out Barrella at second, but the throw sailed into the outfield and past the charging center fielder, allowing Barrella to score and Sumner to go all the way to third. Aona added her third RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly to right that plated Sumner for the 5-1 advantage.
The Tigers went down in order in the seventh inning to secure the victory for the Pirates.
East Carolina will look to extend its winning streak on Tuesday when it plays a single game at 6 p.m. against No. 13 North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The Pirates will then host in-state rival UNC Greensboro on Wednesday for a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.