ECU softball team falls to Knights

Published 11:16 am Monday, March 10, 2008

By Staff
ECU Sports Information
ORLANDO, Fla. — After jumping out to a 4-0 advantage, the East Carolina softball team fell victim to a late UCF rally, dropping the series finale 10-6 at the UCF Softball Complex Sunday afternoon.
Charina Sumner and Christina Merrida led off the contest with consecutive singles, leading to East Carolina's first run when Jessica Johnson singled with one out, scoring Sumner. The Pirates (18-6, 2-1) added to their lead in the second. With one out, Beth Nolan singled to left field. Then with two out, Sumner stepped up and laced a double to left center that scored Nolan and gave ECU a 2-0 advantage.
The Pirates put two more on the board in the third. With Erin St. Ledger on first and one out, Stacey Andrews and Cristen Aona put together consecutive singles to load the bases. Then, Vanessa Moreno hit a pitch through the left side that enabled St. Ledger and Andrews to score, pushing the lead to 4-0.
Brooke Swann came in to relieve starter Toni Paisley in the bottom of the third and she was promptly greeted by consecutive infield singles by Marquita Council and Tiffany Lane. Breanne Javier then doubled to center, scoring Council and pulling UCF to within a run. A subsequent sac fly by Hillary Barrow made the score 4-2 heading into the fourth inning.
The Knights (15-12, 1-2) broke through in the bottom of the fifth, using five hits and an ECU error to post four runs, giving them a 6-4 lead. The Pirates responded in the top of the sixth, as Nolan singled to left field to begin the inning. Kaui Tom was then hit by a pitch, putting East Carolina runners on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt by Sumner and a Merrida walk loaded the bases, St. Ledger lined a pitch just past the UCF first baseman, scoring Tom and Gallagher, who replaced Nolan on the base path.
The Knights would not be denied on their home field, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth on four hits to put the game away. The Pirates put two on with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Ashleigh Cole was able to retire Tom to end the contest.
Swann (10-4) took the loss for East Carolina, giving up 10 earned runs on 12 hits. Paisley hurled the first two frames, allowing no runs and only one hit while striking out two. The sophomore now stands just eight strikeouts away from moving into sixth on the career ledger. Reigning C-USA Hitter-of-the-Week Andrews completed another strong weekend, as she hit 7-for-14 in the three games with two runs scored, two RBI and a stolen base.
The Pirates head to Athens, Ga., on Tuesday and Wednesday as they participate in the Bulldog Classic, hosted by the University of Georgia. East Carolina will face North Florida and Georgia twice each. The Pirates open the Classic against the Ospreys at 2 p.m. Tuesday.