Softball Finishes Sweep Of Memphis
May 9, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After clinching its first Conference USA regular season championship Saturday, the East Carolina softball team continued to make history by shutting out Memphis in a 1-0 victory Sunday. The Pirates became the first Conference USA team ever to blank opponents in three league series in the same season. ECU (39-16, 16-5 C-USA) did not allow a run to UCF, Southern Miss or Memphis this year.
A single from senior Marina Gusman-Brown that drove in classmate Charina Sumner in the first inning proved to be the game's only run. Junior Toni Paisley earned her 19th shutout of the season to take over the national lead. The victory over the Tigers (24-25, 8-15 C-USA) was also the Pirates' seventh 1-0 triumph of the season. Additionally, East Carolina's five Conference USA losses matches the program record for the fewest in a season, set a year ago.
Paisley (27-9) went the distance, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out six. Vanessa Walle (8-12) took the loss as she threw the first two innings for the Tigers, giving up a run on two hits. She also struck out a batter. Lauren Carley came in for the next three innings and held the Pirates without a hit. Carly Hummel ended the Memphis pitching effort, throwing the final two frames and surrendering one hit.
The Pirates scored the game's only run in the top of the first. Sumner led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by classmate Christina Merrida, went to third on a groundout by senior Vanessa Moreno and scored on a single to left field by Gusman-Brown.
Neither team mounted another scoring threat until the bottom of the fourth, when Memphis had a runner thrown out at the plate. Leigh Rowan hit a one-out single off the glove of a diving Cristen Aona at third base. Kim Sirman entered to pinch run for Rowan. Walle followed with a double off the wall in center field and Sirman attempted to come all the way home from first on the hit. The relay from Merrida in center to shortstop Kaui Tom to catcher Kai Clark was in time and Clark put the tag on Sirman for the second out of the inning. Jessica Phillips then drew a walk and pinch hitter Kailey Kassner was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two down. Paisley escaped the damage by getting Keanah Prestridge to ground out to Sumner at second base.
The Tigers tried to rally again in the bottom of the fifth but were held off the board. Alex Marshall started the frame with a single. After a pop-out on a bunt attempt, Marshall advanced to second on a passed ball. A groundout by Lelani Bernardino moved Marshall to third, but she was left stranded after Heather Mott fouled out to Clark behind home plate.
East Carolina had a chance to add more runs in the top of the sixth, but could not convert. Merrida led off with her first career triple over the head of Rowan in right field. A groundout, pop-out and another groundout ended the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth, Memphis again had its leadoff batter reach as Rowan singled over the first base bag and into right field. Paisley retired the next three batters on a strikeout, pop-out and groundout to close the inning.
Paisley retired the Tigers in order in the seventh to preserve the victory.
East Carolina returns to action Thursday in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament. The Pirates enter as the top seed and play the No. 8 seed Southern Miss at 5:30 p.m. at the Cougar Softball Stadium in Houston.