Pirates Split With Cougars
April 24, 2010
HOUSTON, Texas – The East Carolina softball team snapped its six-game losing streak in Houston with a 1-0 victory in game one before the Cougars came back to claim a 4-3 win in the second contest Saturday. In the opener, junior Toni Paisley threw her sixth-straight shutout and a first-inning single by senior Christina Merrida that drove in classmate Marina Gusman-Brown was all the Pirates (31-15, 10-4 C-USA) needed. Despite three ECU home runs, a three-RBI performance by Houston’s Melissa Gregson led the Cougars (25-22, 9-10 C-USA) to the game-two triumph.
In game one, Paisley (22-8) picked up the win as she scattered three hits and struck out eight. She did not walk a batter in earning her sixth consecutive blanking. Paisley has won 17 of her past 18 decisions and has given up only seven earned runs during the span. Houston’s Bailey Watts (11-9) took the loss as she surrendered four hits and an unearned run. She struck out 11 but also walked seven and hit three batters. She was helped by the Pirates stranding 12 runners on base.
The second contest had sophomore Faith Sutton (9-7) taking the loss for ECU as she gave up three runs on five hits, including two home runs, in four innings pitched. She struck out two and walked a pair. It was her first loss since April 10 against UAB. Paisley entered and threw the final two frames, surrendering four hits and a run. The Cougars’ Amanda Crabtree (10-10) recorded the win after her three-run, four-hit, five-strikeout performance. She also issued two walks.
In the opener, the Pirates scored the game’s only run in the first inning. Gusman-Brown led off the game with a sharp single to left field. She stole second base and advanced to third when the throw from the catcher went into center field and was misplayed by the fielder. A single by Merrida drove in Gusman-Brown for the one-run lead.
East Carolina had another chance to score in the top of the second but could not push across a run. Seniors Kaui Tom and Nicole Jordan drew back-to-back walks to start the inning before classmate Cristen Aona put down a sacrifice bunt that moved Tom to third and Jordan to second. Freshman Kai Clark followed with the third walk of the inning to load the bases with one out. A strikeout and fielder’s choice, however, ended the threat.
Neither team had another scoring opportunity until the top of the fifth when ECU seniors Charina Sumner and Vanessa Moreno walked to put runners on first and second with two outs. A groundout by Tom closed the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Aona and Clark were hit by pitches with one out. A strikeout brought up Merrida with two down. She sent a short fly into right center that was caught by a diving Angela Spittler to keep it a one-run game.
The Pirates put two runners on again in the top of the seventh as junior Sissy Jimenez walked and Tom singled. A strikeout ended the inning.
Paisley sent down the Cougars in order in the bottom of the inning to preserve the victory.
In the second game, ECU again took a 1-0 lead as Tom hit a home run to left center with two outs in the second inning.
The Cougars responded to tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a homer to right center by Spittler.
Houston then took the lead in the bottom of the third. Ashleigh Jones hit a one-out triple to right center and with two outs and on an 0-2 pitch, Gregson hit a long ball to right field for a 3-1 Cougar lead.
East Carolina cut the deficit down to one run in the top of the fourth as senior Vanessa Moreno hit a two-out home run over the wall in dead center field to make it a 3-2 Cougar advantage.
In the bottom of the fifth, UH tacked on its final run as Jones led off with her second triple of the game and scored on a Gregson one-out single to left field.
Jimenez provided the final run of the game with a sixth-inning solo shot to center field. The Pirates went down in order in the seventh, ending the game.
The teams play the decisive third game tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.