ECU softball team wins two in tourney

Published 6:35 am Saturday, February 16, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Britt Howell and Brooke Swann knew they’d have to step up to fill in for the injured Toni Paisley. East Carolina’s pitchers certainly did that in Friday’s opening games of the Pirate Invitational.
Howell pitched a shutout in leading ECU to a 1-0 win in eight innings over Boston College in the first game. Swann followed that performance with a two-hit gem in a 7-1 nod over Maine.
Howell (2-0) scattered eight hits while striking out one and walking one in the victory over the Eagles. The freshman had just one perfect inning. Boston College was able to get at least one runner on base in every other inning.
The Eagles loaded the bases in the seventh, but ECU first baseman Jessica Johnson snagged a line drive in foul territory off the bat of Gemma Ypparila to end the threat.
ECU (6-2) also had its chances against Boston College pitcher Allison Gage, but she worked out of some trouble as well. Gage, who walked one and scattered six hits, got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth and kept a runner at third in the fifth.
When the game went into extra innings, a runner was placed at second base to start the inning. While Howell was able to keep the Eagles from scoring, the Pirates finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth.
With Kaui Tom standing at second, Stacey Andrews sacrificed Tom to third. Charina Sumner followed with a sharp single up the middle that scored Tom with the game’s only run.
Sumner finished with two hits for ECU. Boston College got two hits apiece from Amanda Booth and Amy Tunstall.
The Pirates gave Swann plenty of run support early in the game against the Maine Black Bears. With a comfortable 4-0 lead after the second inning, Swann seemed to put it on cruise control.
Swann (2-1), who retired the first 12 batters she faced, struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter in the complete-game victory.
Cristen Aona, who had two hits and drove in two, singled home Christina Merrida in the first for a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates loaded the bases with nobody out against Maine pitcher Cayleigh Montano in the second. Montano, who allowed seven runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts and five walks, got the next two batters to hit into fielder’s choice outs.
However, Johnson slapped a two-run single into left to make it 3-0. Merrida, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored when Erin St. Ledger reached on an error to give ECU a 4-0 cushion.
Kaui Tom led off the fourth with a solo shot, her first homer of the season, for a 5-0 lead.
Alexis Souhlaris hit a home run with two outs in the sixth to get Maine on the scoreboard.
The Pirates tacked on two more in the sixth. Freshman Jillian Gallagher reached on a bunt single, her first hit as a Pirate. Gallagher stole second and later scored on a double-steal. Aona capped the scoring with an RBI-single.
The Pirates finished with 11 hits. Aona, Johnson and Tom had two apiece.
ECU will play Ohio University at noon today. The Pirates will play a second game at a time and opponent to be determined by the early morning game.
Boston College 000 000 00 – 0 8 0
East Carolina 000 000 01 – 1 6 1
WP: Britt Howell; LP: Allison Gage
Hitters: BC – Amanda Booth 2-3 (2B), Amy Tunstall 2-4, Taylor Peyton 1-3, Dani Weir 1-3, Carley McNary 1-3, Blair Destito 1-4; ECU – Charina Sumer 2-4 (RBI), Christina Merrida 1-3, Erin St. Ledger 1-3, Vanessa Moreno 1-3, Kaui Tom 1-3.
Maine University 000 001 0 – 1 2 1
East Carolina 130 1-2 x – 7 11 0
WP: Brooke Swann; LP: Cayleigh Montano
Hitters: M – Alexis Souhlaris 1-3 (HR), Kirstin Allen 1-3; ECU – Jessica Johnson 2-3 (2 RBIs), Cristen Aona 2-3 (2 RBIs), Kaui Tom 2-2 (HR), Jillian Gallagher 1-1, Paige Baggett 1-1, Erin St. Ledger 1-3 (2B), Christina Merrida 1-3, Sissy Jimenez 1-3.