Aona Single Delivers 3-1 Win Over Marshall
April 26, 2009
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A two-run single in the top of the fifth from Cristen Aona drove in the game-winning run as East Carolina came from behind to defeat Marshall 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Dot Hicks Field. The victory over the Thundering Herd (27-17, 10-8 C-USA) allowed the Pirates (38-13, 19-5 C-USA) to win the series. ECU dropped only one conference series this season, its fewest since joining the league in 2002.
Toni Paisley, 28-8, picked up the win, rebounding from her defeat in game one on Saturday. She surrendered one run on just three hits. Katie Murphree, 11-6, suffered the loss as she allowed three runs, all in the fifth inning, and seven hits.
In the top of the first, East Carolina had a scoring chance but could not convert. Angel Barrella led off with a walk and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Charina Sumner. Murphree intentionally walked Jessica Johnson to put runners on first and second with one out. A fielder's choice and pop out allowed Murphree to escape the jam.
Marshall scored its run in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead. Kelly Nielson was hit by a pitch to start the frame and pinch runner Melissa Loesing stole second and then third base. Marcena Bertoldo put down a suicide squeeze bunt and Loesing beat the throw home from Johnson.
The Pirates scored all three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. Tiffany Shaw led off with a single to center and Jillian Gallagher came in to pinch run. A groundout by Barrella moved Gallagher to second and she went to third on a single by Sumner. Johnson followed with her second walk of the afternoon to load the bases with one out. Aona then hit the first pitch she saw to left field for a two-run single and a 2-1 lead. After a foul out, Christina Merrida hit a pop up just over the head of Murphree and out of reach of diving Bertoldo. All the runners were safe and Johnson scored on the play for the final run.
Paisley held Marshall to just one runner in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Pirates close the regular season at home next Saturday and Sunday. ECU will face Campbell at 3 p.m. and Virginia Tech at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Virginia Tech again on Sunday at 12 p.m.