GREENVILLE, N.C. – After taking a 15-inning affair in the first contest of a doubleheader with UCF, the East Carolina softball team completed a the sweep, winning 6-2 and 2-1 at the UCF Softball Complex in Orlando on Saturday afternoon. The Pirates are now 18-5 on the season and 2-0 in C-USA while the Knights dip to 14-12 and 0-2 in conference play.
Breanne Javier put UCF on top in the first game in the third inning when she scored on an error by Cristen Aona. That lead would last just two innings as East Carolina tied it in the top of the fifth. Charina Sumner ripped a double with two outs then stole third. She then scored when the Knights’ catcher threw past the third baseman, trying to pick Sumner off. Both squads could only manage one more hit each as the game entered extra innings.
UCF threatened in the ninth, but Sumner and Kaui Tom combined to produce an inning-ending double play. In the top of the tenth, Tom reached third with two outs. However, Jessica Johnson struck out, stranding the sophomore.
The Pirates broke through in the 11th. With one out, Aona walked. She then advanced to third when Vanessa Moreno doubled to right center. The next batter, Beth Nolan, drove a ball to left field that was deep enough to score Aona. Then, with the bases loaded via two walks, Sumner grounded out to short, ending the ECU threat. The Knights were able to knot the score 2-2 in the bottom of the 11th as they used three singles to plate the tying run.
In the top of the 15th, the Pirates exploded for four runs, putting the game away. After Aona and Nolan singled and reached on an error, respectively, Stacey Andrews continued her hot streak at the plate, lacing a triple down the right field line that scored Aona and Nolan. Tom then tripled, scoring Andrews. Then, Sumner singled through the right side, plating Tom to complete the scoring. UCF managed a single in the bottom half of the inning but Paisley retired the last two batters in succession.
Paisley, earned her first win in more than a month, throwing the last five innings in relief of junior Brooke Swann. The sophomore allowed five hits while giving up just one earned run and striking out three. Swann gave up just one unearned run in hurling a career-high ten innings. She allowed seven hits while fanning five. Andrews was 4-for-6 in the contest, including the game-winning triple in the 15th inning.
In the nightcap, ECU threatened to take the lead in the top of the second as it loaded the bases with two outs. However, Tom grounded out to Ashleigh Cole. It was the Knights who jumped on top in the bottom of the third. Cole led off with a double and was replaced on the base path by Morgan Bullard. After reaching third, Bullard scored on a wild pitch from Paisley.
The Pirates tied the game in the top of the fifth. Tom reached on an error by the UCF shortstop and advanced to second when Sumner grounded out. Then, Christina Merrida stepped up and singled up the middle, scoring Tom.
After leaving two stranded in the sixth, the Pirates tallied the game-winner in the seventh. Sumner and Merrida singled to lead off the inning. After Merrida stole second, Johnson took a ball to center field that was able to plate Sumner and make the score 2-1 in East Carolina’s favor. The Knights had a runner on third with two outs in the bottom half of the seventh but were unable to push her across.
Paisley pitched her fourth complete game of the season, running her record to 4-1 in the process. She scattered four hits while giving up just the one earned run. Aona and Merrida combined to go 4-for-7 with one RBI.
The Pirates close the series with UCF tomorrow as the teams play a single game at 12 p.m.