May 20, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas - Taking advantage of the opportunity given, BYU defeated East Carolina 1-0 in the first game of the NCAA Regionals on Thursday.

BYU (44-11) advances to play 2:30 p.m. CDT on Friday against the winner of Texas and Iona in Thursday's second game.

Kristin Delahoussaye and JC Clayton began the fourth inning with back-to-back singles for the Cougars' first hits of the game. After Angeline Quiocho and Andrea Ramirez popped out, Caschjen Atagi was hit by a pitch.

With the bases loaded and two outs, East Carolina pitcher Toni Paisley again hit a BYU batter, this time beaning Jessica Fitu to send home Delahoussaye and give BYU a 1-0 lead.

"East Carolina is a good team," said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. "They play scrappy and don't give up a lot of runs. We just stayed with it."

BYU starting pitcher Paige Affleck, a 30-game winner in the regular season, struck out five batters in the second through fourth innings, eventually finishing with six strikeouts in a four-hit shutout.

East Carolina threatened to score in the top of the sixth, putting runners on second and third with the Pirates' star hitter Marina Gusman-Brown at the plate. Brown sent a low hopper to left which the shortstop Clayton bobbled, but the East Carolina base runner was called for interference, ending the inning with no runs for the Pirates.

Clayton, the MWC Freshman of the Year, finished the game as the only Cougar with two hits, going 2-for-3. A number of other hits went long and to the warning track, but the Texas air kept the ball in the park.

"We hit the ball well, it just didn't go anywhere with this humidity," Eakin said. "But the fact that we've played in a regional before and been here before was really the key to staying with it and winning the game."