Senior Marina Gusman-Brown drove in three runs in the second game against Elon Thursday night.
May 6, 2010
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The Pirates closed the ECU Softball Field in style with an 11-game home winning streak after a pair of victories over in-state rival Elon Thursday evening. An unearned run gave East Carolina (36-16) a 1-0 win in the opener before a three-hit, three-runs-scored performance from senior Vanessa Moreno led the team to an 8-0 victory in the second contest. Seniors Cristen Aona and Marina Gusman-Brown also pitched in, combining to drive in five runs in the nightcap.
The Pirates finished the season undefeated against teams from North Carolina, going 11-0 and outscoring Campbell, N.C. Central, UNC Greensboro, N.C. State, UNC Wilmington and the Phoenix 71-7.
Junior Toni Paisley (25-9) earned the victory in game one after giving up three hits and a walk. She struck out 12 in the contest, raising her season total to 302. She is just the second pitcher in Pirate history to pass the 300-strikeout plateau and is 37 behind Keli Harrell for the single-season record. It was also Paisley's 17th shutout of the year, tying her with Washington's Danielle Lawrie for the national lead. Erin O'Shea (15-8) took the loss for Elon (33-19) after going the first five innings and surrendering three hits and an unearned run. She also fanned two. Pam DelPizzo pitched the final inning, allowing two walks.
In the second contest, sophomore Faith Sutton (11-7) recorded the win as she threw all six innings. She scattered four hits and did not walk a batter. Sutton also picked up seven strikeouts. Elon's Lauren Taylor (14-7) was saddled with the defeat after giving up four runs, but only one earned, on five hits and a pair of walks in four innings. She also fanned two. Kari Pervell pitched the final one-and-two-thirds frames for the Phoenix, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks.
In the opener, Elon's Emerald Graham recorded the first hit of the contest with a leadoff single in the top of the second. After a strikeout, Graham stole second, but two more whiffs closed the inning.
Aona led off the ECU third with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Suzanne Riggs. Aona, however, was left stranded after a pop-out and foul-out.
The Pirates broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with an unearned run. Senior Charina Sumner hit a one-out double. Classmate Kaui Tom followed with a short pop into left center. Neither the left nor center fielder could make the play and Tom ended up on second with a double. Sumner went to third after making sure the ball was not caught. Junior Sissy Jimenez stepped to the plate and sent a fly ball into center field that Graham dropped, allowing Sumner to score. A strikeout and groundout ended the Pirate threat.
The Phoenix put a pair of runners on with two outs in the top of the fifth as Ashlee Crewe singled and DelPizzo drew a walk. Paisley recovered to strike out Jacqueline Gonzalez looking to escape the jam.
East Carolina had the final scoring chance of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Christina Merrida drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. Following a fly-out, Jimenez received another free pass to put runners on first and second with two outs. A lineout closed the inning.
Elon went down in order in the seventh to preserve ECU's sixth 1-0 win of the season.
In the second game, Gonzalez singled to open the contest. With the hit-and-run on, Hannah Shelton hit a pop-up to shortstop Tom, who made the catch and doubled off Gonzalez. Tomeka Watson singled to center field, but a Graham groundout closed the inning.
East Carolina pushed across three runs in the bottom of the first. Tom and Moreno hit back-to-back singles with one out before Aona singled up the middle, driving in Tom. The center fielder misplayed the hit, allowing Aona to advance to second and Moreno to third. Gusman-Brown followed with a single through the left side of the drawn-in infield, plating Moreno and Aona for the three-run advantage.
The Pirates added another run in the bottom of the third. Tom was hit by a pitch to open the frame. Moreno followed by hitting into a fielder's choice as Tom was thrown out at second. Aona then drew a walk, putting runners on first and second with one out. A groundout by Gusman-Brown advanced the runners a base before senior Nicole Jordan drew a walk. Ball four to Jordan was a passed ball by the catcher, allowing Moreno to come home for a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, East Carolina tacked on two more runs. Aona drew a walk and Gusman-Brown followed with a triple to right center. Two pitches later, a passed ball brought home Gusman-Brown for a 6-0 advantage. Jordan singled and sophomore Priscilla Velasquez walked, but a strikeout ended the threat.
The Pirates ended the game in the sixth by scoring a pair of runs with two outs. Merrida led off with a single and came home two outs later when Moreno converted an 11-pitch at-bat into a double down the left-field line. Aona followed with a double to the gap in right center that drove in Moreno for the eight-run advantage to end the contest.
East Carolina resumes action this weekend, closing out the Conference USA regular season with a three-game series at Memphis (24-22, 8-12 C-USA). The teams play a doubleheader Saturday starting at 2:00 p.m. and complete the weekend with a 1:00 p.m. Sunday contest.