May 22, 2010
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Austin Regional Central
AUSTIN, Texas - The East Carolina softball team (44-17) plays for the first regional title in program history Saturday at 2:00 p.m. against BYU (45-11). The Cougars topped the Pirates 1-0 Thursday in the opening game of the Austin Regional. That loss sent ECU to the loser's bracket, meaning the Pirates must defeat BYU twice to take home the regional title.
The Pirates Against The Cougars ...
BYU has won the only two meetings between the two teams, recording a 1-0 victory Thursday and a 7-6 triumph at the Stanford Invitational II March 21, 2008. Thursday in Austin, BYU scored the game's only run in the bottom of the fourth when Jessica Purcell-Fitu was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in a run. Senior Marina Gusman-Brown picked up two hits for ECU and classmate Charina Sumner had a double. Junior Toni Paisley limited the Cougars to five hits and struck out five. BYU pither Paige Affleck snapped East Carolina's 11-game winning streak as she allowed only four hits, one walk and two hit batters. She also fanned six.
Two seaons ago, the Pirates scored six unearned runs in the top of the fifth to take 6-4 advantage, but the Cougars scored twice in the bottom of the sixth and won on a Caschjen Davis walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the seventh.
Current seniors Vanessa Moreno, Cristen Aona, and Sumner each had one hit for the East Carolina's only three of the contest. In the six-run fifth inning, Moreno started the frame with a double to right center. Aona later hit a bases-loaded triple and scored on a wild pitch. Brooke Swann pitched the first five innings before Britt Howell came in for the final inning-plus, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk.
The Cougars' Daniela Snow went 3-4 with three runs batted in and Stephanie Platt-Hopkins chipped in with two RBI. Affleck threw the first four innings before Christie Zinanti and Christina Gwyn-Trice came in for the final three frames. Each pitcher surrendered just one hit.
Leading The Country ...
With the release of the NCAA statistics through May 16, East Carolina is ranked first in the nation with a .981 fielding percentage. The Pirates entered the Austin Regional having committed just 28 errors in 58 games. For the past three seasons, ECU has not finished lower than third in the country in fielding percentage (second in 2007, .977; third in 2008, .980; third in 2009, .978).
Individually, Paisley leads is first in the rankings with 21 shutouts.
Among The Nation's Best ...
In addition to leading the nation in fielding percentage, East Carolina's 1.41 earned run average is the third best.
Individually, Sumner is 18th in triples (5) and is the 29th toughest player to strike out, fanning once every 18.2 at-bats. Paisley ranks third in ERA (0.97), 10th in hits allowed per seven innings (3.64), 11th in strikeouts (340), 12th in victories (30) and 31st in strikeouts per seven innings (9.2).
Road Warriors ...
East Carolina has played 41 contests away from Greenville this season, going 27-14. In true away games, the Pirates have excelled, posting a 19-7 mark, the most true road wins in the country. ECU is 22-3 away from home since March 13.
Making The Most Of It ...
This season, East Carolina has driven in 62 of 118 runners from third base with fewer than two outs. That converts to 52.5 percent. Opponents have not been nearly as successful, or had as many chances, driving in runs in only 13 of their 44 opportunities, good for 29.5 percent.
Catch Us If You Can ...
When falling behind this season, opponents have had a very hard time coming back on the Pirates, and have not done so all year after the fourth inning. East Carolina has a 41-6 record when scoring first and is 35-0 when leading after four innings, 28-0 when ahead after five frames and 29-0 when leading after six.