Thursday, May 02, 2002Chattanooga, Tenn. (May 2, 2002) -- Ten Southern Conference Softball Championships records were either tied or broken as No. 5-seeded East Tennessee State defeated the No. 4-seeded College of Charleston Cougars, 12-6, in the first round of the tourmanent from Frost Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn. The record-breaking victory was ETSU's first-ever victory in the Southern Conference Championships. The Buccaneers (24-30) came out swinging in the top of the first, teeing off on Cougar starter Carla Shepherd. Sophomore outfielder/pitcher Tiffany Vandergriff (Sale Creek, Tenn.) led off the inning with a single. Freshman centerfielder Danielle Spetar (Knoxville, Tenn.) then reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a single by senior designated player Melanie Collins (Greeneville, Tenn.). Later in the inning, with two outs, sophomore catcher Sheryl Clark (Bradenton, Fla.) walked to load the bases. Sophomore third baseman Miranda Byerly (Candler, N.C.) then cleared the bases with a three-run double to right-center. Freshman shortstop Mary Beth Hazelwood (Knoxville, Tenn.) kept the inning going by singling up the middle, scoring Byerly. The last two runs of the inning came home as freshman third baseman Lindsay Lane (Erwin, Tenn.) hit a two-run home run to right-center. East Tennessee State struck again in the top of the third, plating three more runs to make the score 9-0. Clark led the inning off with her second-straight walk. She advanced to second on an infield single by Hazelwood with one out. Both runners came home on Lane's second homer of the afternoon, a line drive over the left-center field fence. College of Charleston (21-29) cut the Buccaneer lead to 9-4 in the bottom of the third. Designated player Melissa Creeger hit a two-run double with one out, scoring centerfielder Heather Harris and second baseman Brooke Flowers. Creeger came home on a home run by leftfielder Amanda Cone. The Bucs put another run on the board in the top of the fourth as Spetar homered to lead off the inning. The home run was Spetar's seventh of the season, breaking a three-way tie with Vandergriff and Lane for the team lead. The Buccaneer lead was expanded to 12-4 as ETSU scored two more runs in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Sophomore outfielder Rhea Holler (Peoria, Ariz.) walked and advanced to second on a single by Clark. Byerly then laced a double down the right-field line, bringing both runners home. College of Charleston scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to close out the scoring. First baseman Martha McCall reached on a fielder's choice and and advanced to second when Jessica Schwartzkopf reached on an error. Both runners came home as Lauren Rabun doubled to centerfield. Vandergriff picked up the win (8-9) after relieving Buccaneer starter Courtney Jenkins in the fourth. She allowed no earned runs on two hits while striking out three in the last four innings of the game. Shepherd (7-8) took the loss for the Cougars, pitching just two-thirds of an inning, allowing six runs on five hits. Five players led the Bucs with two hits on the afternoon. Vandergriff, Spetar, Byerly, Hazelwood and Lane each had two base hits. East Tennessee State broke or tied six Southern Conference Softball Championship records in the game. The Bucs broke the record for most runs scored in a game (12) and Lane broke the mark for most home runs (2). Byerly tied the record for doubles (2) while Clark tied the record for walks (2) and runs scored (3). Lane and Byerly are now tied for the record for RBI (5). The Buccaneers and College of Charleston broke the record for most runs by two teams (18) and most hits by two teams (22). The Cougars set the mark for most runs by a losing team (6) and most hits by a losing team (9). The Bucs return to action Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. as they face the winner of tonight's game between the No. 1-seeded Chattanooga Lady Mocs and the No. 8-seeded Appalachian State Mountaineers.
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