Lady Pirates sweep season-opening doubleheader

Published 2:33 am Sunday, February 8, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Toni Paisley made a triumphant return to the mound, while Caitlin Wainwright looks like a keeper for the East Carolina softball team.
Paisley, who missed most of last year with an injury, picked up a win and a save on Saturday’s opening day of softball for the Lady Pirates. The red-shirt sophomore notched the win in a 9-1 opening-season victory against the Virginia Cavaliers. Paisley then picked up the save in a 3-1 nod over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.
Paisley recorded the final three outs in the second game, which included a strikeout of Martha Davis to end the game.
Wainwright earned her first collegiate victory in the outing against Middle Tennessee. The freshman, a former standout at South Central High School, came on in relief of a struggling Brooke Swann.
Wainwright walked the first batter she faced on four pitches, but put it on cruise control after that. She went on to pitch four inning of shutout ball, allowing three hits and striking out four.
Jessica Johnson provided the bulk of the offense for ECU (2-0) in the first game. The senior banged out a pair of hits and drove in three runs.
The Lady Pirates set the tone early with two runs in the first inning. Virginia starter Allee Rife hit leadoff batter Christina Merrida with a pitch, and the speedy Merrida came around to score on a single by Johnson. Angel Barrella’s groundout brought in the other run.
ECU tacked on four more in the second. Johnson delivered the key blow with a two-run single.
ECU added single runs in the third, sixth and seventh innings. Marina Gusman-Brown smashed a home run over the fence in the sixth, while she also doubled in the second.
Brittney Banania’s RBI-single in the second gave Middle Tennessee the lead in the second game.
ECU answered in the bottom half with Kaui Tom’s run-scoring single up the middle.
The Lady Pirates tallied two more runs in the third. Merrida and Sumner had infield singles, while Gusman-Brown walked to load the bases with two outs. Barrella’s bloop double into left scored Merrida and Sumner for a 3-1 advantage.
That’s all Wainwright would need.
Nicole Jordan, a former standout at Jamesville High School, grounded out sharply to first base in her first at-bat with the Lady Pirates. Her pinch-hit appearance came in the fifth inning of the first game.
ECU plays the same two teams today. The Lady Pirates face Middle Tennessee at noon and Virginia at 2 p.m.