Pirates Earn Crucial Sweep Of Southern Miss
May 5, 2007
HATTIESBURG, MISS. - The ECU softball team used 16 runs on 22 hits, a one-hitter by Toni Paisley and two Kaui Tom home runs to post an important doubleheader sweep of Southern Miss Saturday afternoon in Hattiesburg. The Pirates won game one 11-1 in six innings while also taking the second contest 3-0. ECU improves to 37-18 on the season and 13-9 in conference play while the Golden Eagles fall to 18-37 overall and 8-13 in conference games. The sweep moves the Pirates close to clinching the second seed in the upcoming C-USA Softball Championship presented by Coca-Cola.
The Pirates went on top 1-0 in the first inning of game one. Charina Sumner led off the game and reached first after she was hit by a pitch. She then advanced to second after a sacrifice bunt by Tom. Sumner reached home when Erin St. Ledger reached on a fielding error by the second baseman, giving ECU the 1-0 lead. Southern Miss evened the score in the bottom of the third when Brandi Alonzo homered to right center. That hit would be the only hit given up by Pirate hurler Toni Paisley on the day.
ECU went back on top in their half of the fourth as Cristen Aona led off the inning with a double to left. Sumner later singled through the middle to score Aona, upping the Pirate advantage to 2-1. Tom then stepped to the plate and made Sumner's stay on the bases a short one as she ripped a shot over the left field wall to make the score 4-1 in favor of ECU.
The Pirates would put the game away in the sixth inning, scoring seven runs on four hits. Sumner and Tom both walked to begin the inning. Jessica Johnson then deposited a Samantha Davis pitch over the left field wall for her team and league-leading 15th round-tripper of the season. A two-RBI double by Joyce Roodenburg and a two-RBI single by Sumner gave ECU an 11-1 lead. The Golden Eagles failed to muster any offense in the bottom of the sixth as the game ended due to the conference mercy rule.
Toni Paisley won her 18th game of the season, ninth in conference play and seventh of her last eight decisions. The freshman allowed just one run on one hit and struck out seven in the complete game effort, her 17th complete game of the season. Paisley's record now stands at 18-5 overall and 9-3 in conference play. Johnson and Sumner combined to go 5-for-6 with four runs scored and six RBI.
In game two, the Pirates broke onto the scoreboard in the top of the third when Sumner tripled down the right field line to lead off the inning. Tom then took a 1-1 pitch and smashed it over the left centerfield fence for her second home run of the day and sixth of the season.
Sarah Bibee led off the fourth inning with a single to center and scored on consecutive singles by Aona and Christina Merrida to make the score 3-0. With two outs in the top of the seventh, St. Ledger reached first on an error by the second baseman. Vanessa Moreno then hit ECU's fourth home run of the day to give the Pirates the 5-0 advantage. That would be the final score as ECU shut down Southern Miss in the bottom of the seventh to complete the doubleheader sweep.
Senior Keli Harrell won her 17th contest of the year and improved her record to 17-11 overall and 4-6 in conference play with the complete-game shutout. She scattered four hits while walking two and striking out three. Sumner turned in another solid effort at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI.
The Pirates will look to assure themselves the second seed in the conference tournament as they close out the series and the regular season with a single contest tomorrow. Depending on the result of Tulsa's doubleheader with UTEP in El Paso later tonight, ECU may have second place clinched as early as the conclusion of game one of that doubleheader. If Tulsa drops just one game tonight or tomorrow, the Pirates will finish second in the conference. First pitch in Hattiesburg tomorrow is slated for 1 p.m. This is a change from the originally scheduled first pitch of 2 p.m. Live stats will again be available through a link on the softball schedule page of ecupirates.com.