Paisley, Johnson lead ECU over UCF

Published 11:49 am Sunday, March 29, 2009

By Staff
ECU Sports Information
GREENVILLE — Toni Paisley threw a one-hit shutout in game one and the Pirates scored three runs on wild pitches in the second contest as East Carolina (23-9, 8-3 C-USA) swept UCF (16-19, 2-6 C-USA) by identical 3-0 scores on Saturday afternoon. Paisley, 17-4 this season, picked up both victories, going the distance in the first game and the last inning-and-a-third in the second. The Pirate offense was led by Jessica Johnson and Angel Barrella, who both picked up three hits during the two games.
In the last eight games, all ECU victories, Paisley and game-two starter Brooke Swann have combined for a 0.47 earned run average and surrendered just four runs and 27 hits. For Paisley the solo shutout in game one and combined blanking in the second gave her 18 in her career and put her in sole possession of sixth on ECU career list. Swann moved into a tie for eighth with her game-two shutout.
Also moving up the school’s career record charts was Johnson, who drove in the first two runs for ECU in game one. The runs batted in gave her 136 in her career, moving her into fifth on the school’s career RBI chart and tied for ninth-place in Conference USA history.
In the first game, East Carolina had early scoring chances but could not push a run across. Johnson and Barrella hit back-to-back two-out singles in the first inning but were left stranded. One inning later, Paisley hit a double to center field with one out and was also left on base.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Pirates managed to push two runs across for a 2-0 advantage. Kaui Tom led off reaching on an error by the UCF second baseman and moved to second on Christina Merrida’s sacrifice bunt. Charina Sumner then singled to left, putting runners on the corners with one out. After a groundout by Marina Gusman-Brown moved Sumner to second, Johnson singled to center field and drove in both Tom and Sumner for the 2-0 lead.
Paisley helped herself in the bottom of the sixth, hitting the first home run of her career and making the East Carolina lead 3-0.
UCF scratched out its only hit in the top of the seventh when Breanna Javier singled to left with two outs in the seventh.
In the second game, the Knights had a chance to score in the top of the first after Vanessa Perez and Javier hit back-to-back singles, but Swann worked out of the jam and stranded both runners.
Both teams then went quietly until the top of the fifth when UCF again put two runners on base. Lindsay Dean singled to center field and Tenisha Dixon followed with a walk. Swann then got Abby McClain to ground into a fielder’s choice and Perez to groundout to Cristen Aona to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.
Again in the top of the sixth the Knights had a chance to score but failed to convert. Hillary Barrow singled with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on Tiffany Lane’s groundout. With two outs, Paisley came in for Swann and struck out Mary Helen Tyler to end the inning.
East Carolina’s offense, which had just two hits though the first five innings, got three in the bottom of the sixth and scored all three of its runs. Jillian Gallagher led off with a bunt single. After fouling off two bunt attempts and falling behind in the count 0-2, Sumner singled to center to put runners on first and second with no outs. Gusman-Brown then lined a hard shot to third that Barrow jumped up and caught, doubling Gallagher off second base on the play.
With the two outs, Johnson singled to the shortstop and Barrella walked to load the bases. Aona then came to the plate and fell behind in the count 0-2. On the next pitch UCF’s starter Ashleigh Cole threw a wild pitch, allowing Sumner to score. On Sumner’s slide into home, she kicked the ball out of the glove of the Knight catcher and Johnson also came into score as the Knight infielders chased down the ball. Cole uncorked another wild pitch in her next attempt, allowing Barrella to score and give the Pirates a 3-0 lead.
Paisley allowed a one-out walk to Dixon in the top of the seventh, but that was all the UCF offense could manage.
The Pirates will go for the sweep, and their ninth-straight victory, tomorrow with the series finale set to begin at noon.