May 12, 2011
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The University of Memphis suffered a 5-1 loss to East Carolina in the opening day of the C-USA Championship Tournament on Thursday at the ECU Softball Complex.
The loss knocked the No. 4 seeded Tigers out of the single elimination tournament, leaving the team to wait until NCAA selection Sunday to see whether their names will be called as an at-large bid. Memphis is 35-12 on the season with a RPI ranked No. 43 and has only two losses against teams outside the top 44.
ECU (37-20), the tournament host and No. 5 seed in the tournament, ranks No. 44 in the RPI. C-USA has five teams ranked in the top 45.
The NCAA Softball Championship field will be released live on Sunday at 9 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
ECU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, but Jessica Phillips tied the game with a solo shot to left center. The home run was the 15th of the season for the junior first baseman and drove in her 44th RBI of the year, both of which are school season records.
The home run was one of just three hits the Tigers would record off three-time C-USA Pitcher of the Year Toni Paisley (28-11). Memphis left six runners on base, including two in the third and seventh innings, but Paisley pitched out of the jams, recording 10 strikeouts.
"Jessica got us right back in it," said Memphis head coach Windy Thees. "I knew we were going to score, so trailing 1-0 was not a huge worry for me. Our girls were getting better every at bat. Once you start to see Toni Paisley two and three times in a game, you do a little better. She still has your number a little, but I knew we would start putting the bat on the ball. The home run was great to see, but we just made some mistakes with our pitches and ECU capitalized - especially with two outs."
Sophomore Carly Hummel (20-6) suffered the loss for the U of M in the circle. Hummel allowed two runs on three hits in five innings of relief with four strikeouts.
Senior southpaw Janelle Valle started the game for Memphis and was relieved by Hummel with runners on first and third with no outs in the second inning. Jasmine Robbins led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on the first hit in the game, a single to right by Jordan Lewis. Robbins would score on a groundout RBI by Priscilla Velasquez.
Memphis then tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on the solo home run by Phillips. However, ECU came right back and scored two, two-out runs in the top of the fifth to put the game away. Jill Jelnick and Kristi Oshiro both came around to score on a double by Lewis, her second hit in the game.
The Pirates would score two more runs in the seventh inning on a two-run bases loaded single by Velasquez, who finished with three RBI in the game.
Memphis ends the year with a 2-2 record on the road at East Carolina after winning the regular season series in Greenville, two games to one. The loss for Memphis is only the second in the last 16 games.
"This is the best team I have played on in my three years at Memphis," Phillips said. "My past teammates are great, but we really meshed this season. Our record this year is the best in program history because of the hard work of all our girls and the care and dedication of our coaching staff."