UTEP Downs Pirates 4-3 In 13 Innings
May 7, 2009
EL PASO, TEXAS - East Carolina scored three unearned runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings but fell 4-3 in 13 innings as No. 7 seed UTEP upset the No. 2 seed Pirates in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament in El Paso, Texas. Conference USA Freshman-of-the-Year Chelsea Troupe hit a game-winning home run, her second of the game, for the Miners. Troupe set the Conference USA Tournament record for hits in a game, finishing with five in the contest.
It was the longest game in Conference USA Tournament history. East Carolina has now played in the two longest games in the league's postseason tournament, as the other occurred in 2007 when the Pirates defeated UCF 1-0 in 12 innings.
The Pirates (40-15) bow out of the tournament and wait until Sunday to see if they make the NCAA Regionals. UTEP (26-28-1) advances to the conference semifinals tomorrow and will face the winner of tonight's Houston and Southern Miss game.
Toni Paisley, 30-9, suffered the loss as she surrendered the four runs on 12 hits. Stacie Townsend, 17-17, picked up the win for the Miners, allowing three unearned runs on 11 hits.
UTEP loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first but did not score. Becky Smith hit the first pitch of the game to center field for a double and Troupe followed with a bunt single and steal of second base. Paisley intentionally walked C-USA Player-of-the-Year Camilla Carrera to load the bases with no outs. Townsend struck out looking and Amber Bennett struck out swinging. Jennifer Davis ripped a hard grounder down the third-base line that Cristen Aona backhanded and then stepped on third to force out Troupe and end the inning.
In the bottom of the second, East Carolina had a chance to score and could not convert. Marina Gusman-Brown led off with an infield single. With the hit-and-run on, Charina Sumner sent a line drive to the shortstop, who dropped the ball, allowing Gusman-Brown to reach second and Sumner to be safe at first. Paisley struck out, Gusman-Brown was caught stealing third and Kaui Tom fouled out to end the threat.
Both teams went quietly until the top of the fifth when the Miners took a 2-0 lead on a two-run home run by Troupe. Smith was hit by a pitch with one out, stole second and came home on the Troupe long ball.
The Pirates mounted a threat in the bottom of the sixth, getting two runners on with a walk and fielding error, but Jessica Johnson lined into a double play to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, UTEP added another run to make it 3-0. The Miners loaded the bases with one out on a bunt single, a walk and a hit batter. A foul pop by Bennett drove in Smith, who had singled, for the 3-0 lead.
East Carolina scored three times with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to tie it. The team loaded the bases with no outs as Aona led off with a walk, Gusman-Brown was safe on an error and Sumner singled to right field. After two outs were recorded, Sarah Bibee hit a grounder to the shortstop, who threw the ball high to second, allowing a run to score and the bases to reload. Angel Barrella then singled to center field to tie the game at 3-3 and move the contest into extra innings.
Paisley sent down the Miners in order in the top of the eighth and the Pirates loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the frame but could not convert. Gusman-Brown singled with two outs and Sumner and pinch hitter Sissy Jimenez drew consecutive walks but Tom struck out to end the threat.
Carrera singled and Townsend was hit by a pitch with two outs in the top of the ninth but Paisley got Bennett to pop out to retire the side.
In the bottom of the ninth, Barrella and Christina Merrida hit back-to-back singles with one out to put runners on first and second. Johnson flew out to left and Aona fouled out to end the inning.
The Miners mounted a threat in the top of the 11th as Troupe led off with a single to left and Carrera singled to center and advanced to second on the throw to third. After Townsend struck out, Bennett attempted to put down a suicide squeeze but popped it up to Paisley, who caught it and doubled Troupe off on the play.
Aona led off the bottom of the 12th with a single up the middle and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Sumner followed with a walk. Paisley then sent a smash down the first-base line that was fielded, leaving runners on second and third with two outs. Tom struck out for the third time to end the inning.
With two outs in the 13th, Troupe sent the ball deep over the wall in left field.
Bibee led off the bottom of the frame with a single to right field, but the next three Pirates went down in order, preserving the UTEP victory.