Pirates Take Two From Southern Miss
May 1, 2010
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Two shutouts and a clutch hit by sophomore Suzanne Riggs led East Carolina to a pair of victories over Southern Miss Saturday afternoon. The Pirates recorded a 4-0 win in game one before Riggs hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh for a 1-0 triumph in the second contest. Junior Toni Paisley and sophomore Faith Sutton allowed just four hits to the Golden Eagles (22-24, 6-14 C-USA) in the two games. The Pirates (33-16, 12-5 C-USA) keep their lead in Conference USA with the wins.
Paisley (23-9) earned the sixth shutout in her past seven starts in the opener. She limited Southern Miss to just a Jill Mathis single and struck out 13 in the 33rd game of her career recording at least 10 whiffs. The victory was also the 78th of Paisley's career, moving her into sole possession of fourth on the all-time Conference USA list. For Southern Miss, freshman and reigning Conference USA Pitcher-of-the-Week Gabby Luciani (10-9) took the loss after allowing four runs, one earned, on seven hits. She also walked a batter and struck out three.
In the second contest, Sutton (10-7) surrendered three hits and two walks while striking out a pair. It was her fifth seven-inning complete game in her past six starts. Sophomore Courtney Ramos (7-10) was saddled with the tough-luck defeat as she gave up four hits and three walks. She held the Pirates hitless until the bottom of the sixth inning.
The first game had East Carolina put two runners on base in the opening inning with a walk and fielder's choice, but a fly-out and strikeout ended the threat.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning as senior Vanessa Moreno led off with a home run over the wall in left field. The long ball was the 17th of her career, tying her for seventh on the ECU all-time list.
Southern Miss got a leadoff walk from Lauren Castellvi in the top of the third, but a fly-out, strikeout and pop-out left her stranded on the base.
East Carolina had a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third, but could not convert. Senior Christina Merrida led off with a single up the middle before a sacrifice bunt by classmate Kaui Tom moved Merrida to second with one out. Senior Marina Gusman-Brown followed with a single to the shortstop, who dove and made the stop, but had no play. Merrida went to third on the play and Gusman-Brown stole second, but a pop-out and strikeout closed the frame.
Preseason Conference USA Hitter-of-the-Year Megan Hill drew a walk to lead off the top of the fourth. Mathis singled off the glove of a diving Tom at shortstop to put runners on first and second. Alexis Hurley put down a sacrifice bunt that moved Hill and Mathis up a base. Paisley recovered to strike out Logan James and retire Chanell Thurman on a pop-out to escape.
In the bottom of the fifth, ECU senior Charina Sumner reached on an error to open the frame. Merrida put down a sacrifice bunt that moved Sumner to second, but a fly-out and lineout were the final outs of the inning.
The Pirates broke through for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game out of reach. After a pop-out started the inning, Moreno and senior Nicole Jordan hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. Senior Cristen Aona followed with a bunt, but the second baseman dropped the throw from the third baseman, allowing Moreno to score and moving Jordan to third. Freshman Kai Clark executed a suicide squeeze that plated Jordan for a 3-0 advantage. With Aona on third and Clark at first, Clark stole second. On the steal, Southern Miss' catcher Hurley threw down to try and get Clark. Aona broke home and scored for the third run of the inning.
Paisley sent down the Golden Eagles in order in the seventh to preserve the victory.
In the second contest, USM threatened in the first inning. Leslie LeJune led off the game with a single before Hill drew a one-out walk. A strikeout and foul-out ended the threat.
Moreno walked to lead off the ECU second before Jordan put down a sacrifice bunt. A pair of groundouts, however, closed the inning.
Neither team threatened again until the Pirates recorded their first hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out single over the head of the third baseman by Gusman-Brown. Junior Sissy Jimenez followed with a single to right field, putting runners on first and second. A hard groundout to Castellvi at second by Moreno ended the inning. Castellvi set the C-USA record for assists in a game with 11.
In the seventh, Jordan led off with a double to the gap in right center. A sacrifice bunt by Aona advanced Jordan to third before Riggs' game-winning single. For Riggs, the walk-off hit was her second of the season, as she delivered the winner against UTEP April 18. It was also ECU's fifth 1-0 win of the season.
The Pirates go for the three-game series sweep tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. That contest will serve as the team's Senior Day.