Lady Pirates earn No. 2 Seed in C-USA tournament

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2009

By Staff
ECU Sports Information
GREENVILLE — The East Carolina softball team will enter this week’s Conference USA Tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing the regular season with a 40-14 overall record and a 19-5 mark in league games, the most C-USA wins in program history. The Pirates will play No. 7 seed, and host, UTEP Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex in El Paso, Texas.
East Carolina had three more C-USA wins than Tulsa, 16-4, but the Golden Hurricane had a higher winning percentage (.800 to ECU’s .792) and claimed the regular season conference title. The No. 2 seed for the Pirates is their second since joining C-USA in 2002. The other second-place finish came in 2007, when East Carolina advanced to its only Conference USA championship game.
The Pirates have been led in the circle this season by the seven-time C-USA Pitcher-of-the-Week, redshirt sophomore Toni Paisley. With the release of the newest NCAA statistics, through April 26 games, Paisley was ranked fourth nationally in wins (28), 10th in strikeouts (268), 17th in shutouts (8) and ERA (1.21) and 25th in saves (3). After winning two games this weekend, Paisley raised her victory total to 30 and lowered her ERA to 1.17.
On offense, senior first baseman Jessica Johnson leads the squad with a .356 batting average, 53 hits, 11 doubles, eight home runs, 37 runs batted in and a .604 slugging percentage.
Last season at the league tournament in Houston, Texas, the fifth-seeded Pirates used a five-run seventh inning to defeat Marshall 7-2 in the first round. Charina Sumner drove in the game-winning run with a double and Cristen Aona added a two-run homer in the game-clinching inning. East Carolina was eliminated from the tournament in the next round by No. 1 seed Houston, 5-1.
ECU won its regular season finale Saturday, taking a 4-0 win over Virginia Tech.
A two-run single by junior Marina Gusman-Brown in the fifth and a two-run double by senior Johnson in the sixth powered ECU to the Senior Day win.
Paisley (30-8) picked up the victory and her ninth solo shutout of the season. The 30 wins are the fourth-most in a season in program history, eight behind Jenny Parsons' 38 victories in 1992. Paisley's 33 complete games this season are also the sixth-most in a year in ECU history.
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Conference USA Thursday First-Round Tournament Schedule
Game 1 – No. 8 UAB vs. No. 9 Memphis 11:00 a.m.
Game 2 – No. 4 Marshall vs. No. 5 UCF 2:00 p.m.
Game 3 – No. 1 Tulsa vs. Winner of Game 1 4:30 p.m.
Game 4 – No. 2 East Carolina vs. No. 7 UTEP 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 – No. 3 Houston vs. No. 6 Southern Miss 10:00 p.m.