Pirates Split To Open Season, Carolina Classic

The East Carolina softball team bounced back after a season-opening 5-1 loss to North Carolina to rout North Carolina Central in five innings, 13-0, in the nightcap at the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill at Anderson Stadium. The Pirates stand at 1-1 after day one of the tournament while the Tar Heels begin their season 2-0 and the Eagles fall to 0-2.

ECU threatened in the top of the first when with one out, Christina Merrida doubled to center and Erin St. Ledger walked. However, with the bases load and two outs on the board, Cristen Aona struck out, ending the inning.

North Carolina struck first in the bottom of the third. Danielle Spaulding led off with a walk before Emily Troup doubled, scoring Spaulding, who had taken second on a sacrifice bunt. The Tar Heels added their second run on an Anna Roberts single, scoring Troup.

North Carolina expanded its lead to 3-0 in the next inning as Breanna Brown and Cassie Palmer singled. Palmer's single scored Brown from first.

The Tar Heels finished their scoring in the sixth. With one out and Whitney Allen on first, Jennifer Jacobs pinch hit for Christine Knauer and drew a walk. Palmer then singled, scoring both Knauer and Allen.

Cristen Aona spoiled Lisa Norris's shutout bid in the top of the seventh when she ripped a long ball that easily cleared the center field fence, giving the game its 5-1 final score.

Sophomore Toni Paisley went the distance for the Pirates, allowing five runs on seven North Carolina hits and striking out seven. Of East Carolina's four hits, three of them were for extra bases.

In the Pirates' second game of the day, they jumped on North Carolina Central early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Charina Sumner was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Merrida then singled, advancing Sumner to third. After Jessica Johnson walked, Aona doubled, scoring Sumner and Merrida to give ECU a 2-0 advantage. Angel Barrella then singled, scoring Johnson and ending the scoring in the inning.

The Pirates put the game out of reach in the second, scoring eight runs to extend their lead to 11-0. Stacey Andrews was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and advanced to third on an error by the Eagles catcher. East Carolina then used three consecutive hits to score three runs before Aona smacked her second home run of the day, putting two more runs on the board. Then, with Vanessa Moreno on second and Barrella on first, Andrews cleared the center field fence and the bases for her second-career long ball.

The Pirates added two more runs in the third, providing the final 13-0 margin.

Freshman Britt Howell went three innings, allowing one hit and striking out one while junior Brooke Swann threw the last two innings to complete the shutout. Swann did not give up a hit as she fanned three. Merrida was a perfect 4-for-4 on the game while Aona went 3-for-4 to finish 4-for-7 on the day.

ECU continues play at the Carolina Classic tomorrow at 10 a.m. as it faces 2-0 Kent State at 10 a.m. The Pirates will then take a break before battling George Washington in Saturday's final game at 5:30.


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