Seven Pirates Earn All-C-USA Honors
May 11, 2011
IRVING, Texas - East Carolina had seven players selected to the All-Conference USA Teams announced Wednesday by the league office. Highlighting the Pirate honorees is senior Toni Paisley, who earned her third-straight C-USA Pitcher-of-the-Year award. She joins Houston's Angel Shamblin (2006-08) as the only hurlers in league history to take home the top award in three consecutive campaigns.
Paisley was ECU's representative on the first team while senior infielder Sissy Jimenez, junior outfielder Suzanne Riggs and freshman utility player Jill Jelnick were named to the second team. Jelnick also received all-freshman team accolades and was joined on the squad by Jordan Lewis, Kristi Oshiro and Jasmine Robbins. With four C-USA All-Freshman Team honorees, ECU ties Louisville in 2004 for the most selections by a team in a season in conference history.
For Paisley, it marks the second-straight season she been the Preseason C-USA Pitcher-of-the-Year and received the honor at the end of the campaign. She finished the regular season with a 27-11 record to go along with a 1.11 earned run average. A top 25 finalist for the Amateur Softball Association of America's Player of the Year Award, Paisley posted a conference mark of 12-5 and 0.90 ERA. The Lakewood, Calif., native led the league in overall and C-USA wins and strikeouts (344/162). This year, she became the Conference USA career record holder in wins (113), strikeouts (1,238), innings pitched (1,039.0) and appearances (176).
Jimenez saved her best offensive season for last, batting .269 overall with 32 hits and 15 runs batted in. In C-USA games, she hit .262 and finished with a career-high 17 hits. During March, the Oakdale, Calif., native hit an ECU second-best .313 with 15 hits. Jimenez drove in the game-winning run during the second contest at UTEP and played a big role in the Pirates' 10-1 victory over Tulsa, matching her career highs with three runs scored and three driven in.
Returning to full health for the first time since her freshman year, Riggs made the most of it, pacing the squad in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.306), runs batted in (35), slugging percentage (.459) and home runs (4). The April 4 and 18 C-USA Hitter-of-the-Week owns a team second-best 13 multiple-hit games and squad-high 10 multi-RBI contests. A Greenville product, Riggs tallied a career-high five RBI during the series finale at UAB and had two runs batted in during each of the three games at Southern Miss.
Starting for the Pirates in right field, at second base and as the designated player, Jelnick earned the All-C-USA Second-Team spot at the utility position. She ranks fourth on the team with a .297 overall batting average and hit a squad second-best .300 in C-USA games. The Aliso Viejo, Calif., native has been an offensive force during the last 12 games, batting .382 with 13 hits, nine walks and eight runs scored. Jelnick batted .625 for the three games at UTEP while drawing four free passes. The previous weekend, she hit .364 in the series at then-first-place UAB.
A mainstay near the top of the Pirate lineup this season is Oshiro, who has team-best marks in hits with 51, runs scored with 35 and walks with 36. She became the first ECU player to have 35 or more in all three categories since Kate Manuse (77 H/40 R/55 BB) in 2005. Oshiro led East Carolina during C-USA games with 18 hits and added 10 runs scored. The Mililani, Hawai'i, product hit a squad-high five doubles in league play, the second most in the conference. She finished the regular season with a team-best 15 multiple-hit games and has five multi-RBI contests and five game-winning runs batted in.
Robbins led East Carolina with a .333 batting average in Conference USA games while tallying 14 hits, eight runs scored and four RBI in league action. Like Jelnick, Robbins has been hot during the last 12 games, leading the team with a .394 batting average and 13 hits. She has posted ECU's best on-base percentage at .524 during the span and has a career long four-game hitting streak. During the series finale at UTEP, the Indian Trail, N.C., product tallied career highs with two runs scored and two stolen bases. A weekend earlier, at UAB, Robbins threw out the potential game-winning run at the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning of game one, then drove in the deciding score in the 11th.
Rounding out the Pirate selections is Lewis, who stands second on the team in runs scored (29), home runs (3) and runs batted in (19) while ranking third in hits (41). She is one of two Pirates with four or more RBI during a game as she drove in four against Towson and her 10 multiple-hit games are good for third on the squad. A Fremont, Calif., native, Lewis was named the Conference USA Hitter-of-the-Week for March 21 after batting .533 with eight hits and three runs batted in for the five games and matching her career best with three hits at Marshall.
East Carolina (36-20, 14-10 C-USA) returns to action Thursday in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament. The Pirates enter as the fifth seed and play fourth-seeded Memphis (35-11, 15-7 C-USA) at 4:30 p.m. at the ECU Softball Stadium.
2011 ALL-CONFERENCE USA SOFTBALL TEAMS