Pirates Close Regular Season With Sweep Of Golden Eagles
May 6, 2007
HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Having clinched the second seed in the upcoming Conference USA Softball Championship presented by Coca-Cola by virtue of Tulsa's game one loss to UTEP last night, the ECU softball team made sure that they kept momentum on their side Sunday in Hattiesburg as they completed the series sweep of Southern Miss 8-4. The Pirates finish the regular season with a 38-18 overall record and a 14-9 mark in conference play while the Golden Eagles end their season at 18-38 and 8-14 in C-USA. ECU's 14 wins in C-USA play mark the second-most for the school since joining the conference in 2002.
The Pirates opened the scoring with a run in the first inning when Vanessa Moreno doubled to score Charina Sumner, who led off the game with a walk. ECU would add to its lead in the third as Kaui Tom led off the inning with a single to right field. Jessica Johnson then walked. After a sacrifice bunt by Vanessa Moreno moved the runners to second and third, Joyce Roodenburg singled to left field, scoring Tom and giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead.
ECU would put the game out of reach in the fifth inning. With one out, Johnson reached first as she was hit by a 0-1 offering from Shea Naramore. She then stole second before Moreno drew a walk. Moreno and pinch-runner Stacey Andrews then advanced a base on a wild pitch. Naramore proceeded to load the bases as she walked Roodenburg. Erin St. Ledger would fly out to right field, but her fly ball went deep enough to score Andrews, upping the Pirate advantage to 3-0. The next batter, Sarah Bibee belted her fourth home run of the year to give ECU an insurmountable 6-0 lead.
Southern Miss would score their first run in the bottom of the fifth when, with the bases loaded and no outs, Jennifer Fox reached on a fielding error by Christina Merrida. The Pirates would respond in the top of the sixth, as Charina Sumner singled to begin the inning and Jessica Johnson blasted a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall to make the score 8-1. The Golden Eagles added three runs in the bottom of the seventh on a three-run shot by Logan James to make the final score 8-4.
Toni Paisley closed the regular season in style, earning her second win of the weekend and 19th of the season. Her record now stands at 19-5 overall and 10-3 in C-USA action. Paisley threw her 19th complete game of the season while also recording 11 strikeouts, the third time in her last four appearances that she has posted double-digit strikeouts. Johnson's two-run shot in the seventh inning is her team and league-leading 16th home run. She has recorded four round-trippers in her last eight games.
ECU will head to Orlando this week for the 2007 Conference USA Softball Championship presented by Coca-Cola. The tournament, hosted by UCF, begins Thursday and will end with the championship game on Saturday. The Pirates will be the second seed and have earned a bye in the first round of the tournament. They will face the winner of the game between the three seed Tulsa and sixth-seeded Memphis in the second round on Thursday. The tournament is double-elimination and the champion earns C-USA's automatic berth into the NCAA Softball Championship.