ECU softball coach gets 'Kee' victory|Pirates’ skipper wins 600th game

Published 11:20 am Sunday, April 18, 2010

By Staff
ECU Sports Information
GREENVILLE — In a battle between two teams tied for second place in Conference USA, East Carolina came away with a pair of Saturday wins over UTEP (26-16, 8-6 C-USA). The Pirates (27-14, 8-3 C-USA) used a walk-off single from senior Charina Sumner to record a 1-0 victory in the opener before a two-run double by senior Nicole Jordan propelled ECU to a 4-1 triumph in the second contest. The two wins gave head coach Tracey Kee her 600 and 601st career victories. She is one of only 45 active Division I coaches to reach 600 victories.
Jordan completed her best day as a Pirate as she went 2-5 during the two contests. She scored the game-winning run in the first game and drove in the deciding tally in the second. Junior Sissy Jimenez also had a solid performance, going 2-2 with a run scored, three walks and a sacrifice bunt.
In the opener, junior Toni Paisley (19-8) gave up just one hit, a double by opposing pitcher Stacie Townsend in the seventh inning. Paisley also walked two batters while striking out 12, including eight of the first nine outs, in the shutout. It was the 34th blanking of her career, moving her into a tie with Jenny Parsons (1990-93) for the most in ECU program history. Paisley has allowed just seven earned runs in her past 15 decisions. Townsend (22-10) took the hard-luck loss for the Miners as she scattered seven hits and struck out 10 in the battle between the league’s top two in whiffs.
In the second game, sophomore Faith Sutton (8-6) earned her second victory and complete game of the week. She has gone all seven innings the past three contests after having just one complete game in her first 14 starts. Sutton allowed five hits and a walk while fanning four. UTEP’s Courtney Auger (1-2) went the first one-and-a-third innings in the second game as she surrendered four runs, all earned, on two hits and a pair of walks. Joanna Krienitz came in and did not retire a batter but forced in two runs on illegal pitches. Kelly Curran rounded out the UTEP pitching effort as she went two-and-two-thirds innings, giving up one hit. Auger then re-entered to throw the final two frames.
In the opener, the Pirates had the first scoring chance in the bottom of the third but had a runner thrown out at home. Senior Christina Merrida reached on a bunt single, her second hit of the game, with two outs. She then stole second base before Sumner singled to right field. Merrida tried to come home but Kia Moore made a strong throw and catcher Kayleigh Walts applied the tag on a sliding Merrida.
The Miners received a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth, but the runner was left stranded after a foul-out on a bunt attempt and a pair of strikeouts.
UTEP recorded its only hit of the game in the top of the seventh when Townsend led off with a double to the gap in left center. Paisley retired last season’s C-USA Player-of-the-Year Camilla Carrera on a pop-out. The 2009 league freshman-of-the-year Chelsea Troupe was up next. She sent a hard grounder up the middle that Sumner dove for, made the stop and retired Troupe at first. Townsend went to third on the play but was left stranded after Walts popped out, ending the threat.
The Pirates answered by scoring the game’s only run in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Jordan singled up the middle and classmate Marina Gusman-Brown was hit by a pitch. Merrida struck out swinging, but Sumner drove a single into center field that plated Jordan. It was Sumner’s team-leading fourth game-winning RBI of the season. After not having a 1-0 win since Feb. 2008, the Pirates have picked up two this week.
In the second contest, the Miners scored their first run of the day in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Ashley Ellis drew a leadoff walk after a 14-pitch battle and scored on a double to left field by Walts. Courtney Ware put down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Walts to third. Kelynn Frye then laid down a bunt for a suicide squeeze. Senior Cristen Aona fielded the ball cleanly and flipped to freshman catcher Kai Clark, who put the tag on Walts for the second out of the inning. Sutton struck out Ashley Collazo to end the frame.
East Carolina answered immediately with four runs in the bottom of the second to take a 4-1 lead. Jimenez and senior Kaui Tom drew back-to-back walks before Aona laid down a sacrifice bunt that put runners on second and third with one out. Jordan brought both runners in with a double to the gap in right center. Senior Vanessa Moreno followed with a double to right field that moved Jordan to third. UTEP then made a pitching change, bringing in Krienitz, who was called for a pair of illegal pitches that forced in Jordan and Moreno for the final two scores of the inning.
The Pirates had another chance to push runs across in the bottom of the fourth but could not convert. Jordan and Moreno drew consecutive walks with one out but a strikeout and fly-out ended the threat.
East Carolina got singles from Merrida and Sumner to open the bottom of the fifth but both were left stranded. Jimenez laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners up a base before two groundouts were the second and third outs.
Sutton sealed the ECU victory as the only base runner she allowed in the final two frames was a two-out single by Kayla Oranger in the seventh.
The Pirates look for the three-game sweep tomorrow with a noon contest.