Memphis Falls in Series Final to League Leading East Carolina
April 19, 2009
For Immediate Release
Memphis (20-25, 5-13) 001 000 0 - 1 6 3 East Carolina (33-11, 17-4) 201 021 x - 6 11 0 W: Paisley (26-6) L: Valle (7-11)
GREENSVILLE, N.C. - The University of Memphis softball team dropped the final game of a three-game series at East Carolina, 6-1, on Sunday at the ECU Softball Field.
Leila Dolfo led the team with a 2-for-4 performance and had a RBI single and a double in the game. The senior shortstop had five hits in the series.
The Tigers (20-25, 5-13) scored just two runs in the series sweep by ECU (33-11, 17-4), who lead Conference USA in pitching. East Carolina ace Toni Paisley (26-6) earned all three wins in the series and allowed one run on six hits with six K's in Sunday's contest.
East Carolina took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and had four-straight two out hits. Jessica Johnson began the hitting with a single to left field and scored the first run from second on a double by Cristen Aona to right center. Marina Gusman-Brown collected the third hit and scored Aona from second on a single to left field. Brown then tried to score from second on a single by Sarah Bibee, but was thrown out at home by left fielder Leandra Hines.
The Tigers cut the Pirates' lead to one with a run in the top of the third. Hines laced a one-out single to left field and then stole her 14th base of the season. Dolfo followed with a single up the middle to score Hines from second. ECU shortstop Kaui Tom attempted to force Dolfo out at second on a groundball hit by Lelani Bernardino, but Dolfo was running on the play and both runners were safe. However, Tori Gross lined into a double play to third base to end the Tigers' rally.
Aona knocked in her second run of the game in the third inning to regain the Pirates' two-run lead. Angel Barrella reached on a throwing error to lead off the inning. After advancing to second on a sac and to third on a fly out, Aona brought home Barrella with a two-out single deep in the pocket at short.
Memphis threatened with two runners in scoring position and one out in the top of the fourth. Maddie McKinley belted her sixth double of the season to right center and was followed on an infield single by Brittany Gooch. The senior center fielder stole second to put runners at second and third. But Toni Paisley struck out Nikki Moreno and Jessica Phillips to retire the side.
Southpaw Janelle Valle (7-11) was a game-time decision for the start due to soreness in her pitching hand after taking a line drive off of it in game one on Saturday. The sophomore entered the fourth inning with two earned runs allowed on six hits and two strikeouts after pitching a four-hitter the day before against ECU.
Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Bibee lined a shot up the middle that again went off Valle pitching hand and forced her to leave the game with Vanessa Walle entering in relief. The junior struck out the first two batters she faced and retired the side in order after the leadoff single off Valle.
ECU broke the game open with two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth. Barrella led off with a single and then scored on a throwing error from third off a sac bunt by Charina Sumner. The errant throw came on an attempt to throw out Barrella at second, but it rolled all the way to the centerfield fence. Barrella scored and Sumner reached third on the error. Aona brought in her third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Sumner.
Tom knocked in the Pirates' sixth and final run of the game in the sixth inning on the team's third-straight hit to lead off the inning. The single through the right side scored Christina Merrida from third.
The Tigers return to action on Friday against UCF to begin a six-game home stand at the Tiger Softball Complex to close out the 2009 regular season. Memphis will host a three-game series with UCF on Friday and Saturday and then finish with a three-game series with UAB on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 28-29.