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Baird's walk-off single lift Bucs to sweep at Frost Classic
Saturday, February 26, 2011
ETSU enjoys triumphant Saturday after rallying past UT-Martin and grounding the Rockets
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 26, 2011) - Freshman Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) capped off a three-run bottom of the seventh rally by recording a two-out walk-off RBI single to lift the Bucs past Tennessee-Martin, 5-4, at the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn. ETSU finished off the sweep by tying a season high with 12 hits en route to grounding the Toledo Rockets, 6-1, in the nightcap at Warner Park.
Following the sweep, the Bucs improved to 3-7 on the year; while hitting .368 (21-57) as a team on Saturday. Individually, freshman Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) led the Blue and Gold with her 4-for-6 effort, while sophomore infielder Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) was 4-for-7 with two runs scored. Joining Wolff with a hit in three straight games is junior Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) - who hit .500 (3-6) with a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored. Overall, nine different Buccaneer players recorded a hit on Saturday, including freshman Sadè Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) registering her first collegiate hit with a single and stolen base against Toledo.
The old adage is - a walk is as good as a hit - and the ETSU softball team lived by that motto in its come-from-behind win over Tennessee-Martin Saturday afternoon in the first game of the Frost Classic. Both Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) and Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) worked bases loaded walks in the bottom of the seventh, leading to Jackie Baird's heroics as she blasted a two-out walk-off RBI single, lifting the Bucs to the 5-4 win over the Skyhawks.
Baird, who was hitless in her previous eight at-bats until the game-winning hit, drove in pinch runner Mikayla Treadway (Unicoi, Tenn.) with the liner to right-center. ETSU was resilient in the opening game on Saturday as the Bucs came from behind twice in the contest. In the end, the Blue and Gold snapped a six-game losing streak as senior righty Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) earned her first win (1-3) of the season after tossing two-thirds of an inning of one-hit ball.
After sending the Skyhawks down in order to begin the top half of the first, the Bucs looked to have things brewing in the bottom half of the inning as ETSU had runners on first and second with only one out. However Kate Vanderham got Baird to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the scoring threat.
The Bucs were the first team to crack the scoreboard as ETSU took advantage of some illegal pitches by Vanderham in the second. After what looked like a Sam Lower ground out, Lower received another chance when Vanderham was called for another illegal pitch and singled to second - resulting in UT-Martin's head coach being ejected after arguing the call with the third base umpire. Lower eventually crossed the plate on Katie Wolff's RBI single to right, putting ETSU up 1-0.
Wolff and the Bucs worked out a jam in the fourth as the Skyhawks had runners on first and second and only one out. However, Wolff struck out Alexa Alfaro looking on a 3-2 count, while forcing Laurie Lindow to fly out to centerfielder Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) for the final out of the frame.
With Wolff keeping UT-Martin scoreless for the first 4.2 innings, the Skyhawks were finally able to push a run across in the fifth. The Skyhawks used speed and clutch hitting to tie the game at one as Jordan Garrett worked a two-out walk and stole second to set up the scoring opportunity for UT-Martin's number three hitter Jenny Bain. On a 2-1 pitch, Bain brought in Garrett with a RBI single to center, making it a 1-1 ballgame.
ETSU threatened in the bottom half of the fifth when Wolff belted a one-out double to left-center, but Vanderham sent Jessica Duncan and Fox down on strikes, leaving pinch runner Sadè Johnson stranded at second.
The Skyhawks took their first lead of the afternoon by using some small-ball tactics, while also taking advantage of a mental error by the Buccaneer infield in the top of the sixth. With Vanderham on first, Chelsea Cary moved her to second with a sac-bunt - but with no one covering third after Baird made the play - Vanderham took the extra base. UT-Martin went up 2-1 after Alfaro grounded out to third. Vanderham went charging home on the ground out, but Whitley Hensley's (Erwin, Tenn.) throw to the plate looked to be in time; however, the umpire said Vanderham beat the throw - giving the Skyhawks a one-run lead.
UT-Martin (6-5) didn't hold the lead for long, as the Bucs continued to show their will and determination by knotting things up at two in the bottom half of the sixth.
Unfortunately, the Skyhawks jumped back ahead 4-2 after plating a pair of runs in the seventh, but the Bucs would have the last laugh in the bottom of the frame.
The first two ETSU hitters reached base in the seventh thanks to Campbell leading off the frame with a single up the middle and Hensley took one for the team by being plunked on a 1-0 pitch. Then, after the Skyhawks made a pitching change, Wolff loaded the bases with her single to left. Annie Martin came up with a key pinch hit walk to cut the Buccaneer deficit to one, but after Fox struck out swinging and Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) popped out to short, ETSU was down to its final out. The Blue and Gold never showed signs of weakness, though, as Henderson battled the count full and eventually walked to score the game-tying run. Then, with Baird down to her final strike, she sent the Lady Buccaneer faithful into pandemonium when she saw a pitch in the zone and drilled it to right-center for the game-winner.
Morgan Lewis suffered the loss (1-2) after allowing the game-winning hit to Baird. Lewis was charged with one run on two hits, while walking two in only 0.2 innings of work. Vanderham issued four runs (three earned) on seven hits in six-plus innings of action.
Following the dramatic game-one win over UT-Martin, the Bucs carried the momentum over to the second game as the Blue and Gold pounded out 12 hits and stormed past Toledo, 6-1.
Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) earned the win (2-2) after allowing the one run on two hits in 4.2 innings of work. Morris also struck out four. Meanwhile, at the plate, Amy Campbell and Sam Lower combined to go 5-for-8 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Campbell was the one who jump started the Buccaneer offense as she blasted her first home run of the season by sending solo shot over the fence in left, putting ETSU 1-0.
After holding Toledo (0-4) without a hit for the first two innings, the Rockets put runners on second and third with two outs in the third, but Morris struck out Brooke Gates for the final out to keep the Bucs' one-run lead intact.
The even innings continued to remain kind for the Bucs as they scored three runs in the fourth, extending their lead to 4-0. Jackie Baird led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Lower's single to left. From there, Baird was called out when Campbell hit into a fielder's choice, and it looked as though the Bucs may have suffered some tough luck on the next at-bat by Katie Wolff. Wolff's liner hit off the glove of Toledo's third baseman, and ricocheted right into the shin of the umpire, holding Lower at third. Fortunately, Lower finally came in to score on Whitley Hensley's sacrifice fly to left, while Tara Harnett (Snellville, Ga.) found the gap in left-center to double home a pair of runs, giving the Blue and Gold the four-run cushion.
ETSU held a five-run lead when Campbell's two-out RBI single to right scored Marlina Delisa in the fifth, but Toledo broke up the Bucs' shutout bid when Becki Heimbigner recorded a two-out RBI single to center in the bottom half of the inning. The Rockets left the bases loaded in the inning as Jessica Duncan ended any Toledo comeback by forcing Erinn Wright to hit into an inning-ending fly out to center.
The Bucs got the run back in the next inning when Duncan's fielder's choice RBI grounder to short plated Sadè Johnson, putting the Blue and Gold up, 6-1. Duncan's day in the circle came to an end after she put the first two Toledo hitters on to start the bottom of the sixth. However, Wolff put an end to any offensive explosion by the Rockets after recording three consecutive outs and left runners stranded at first and second.
In total, Wolff retired six the seven batters she faced to close the book on the Rockets. Wolff, who tossed two innings of one-hit ball, also fanned two and issued no walks. Whitney Young suffered her second loss of the year after the Bucs tagged the senior righty for five runs on eight hits in four innings.
ETSU will look to finish the weekend off strong as the Bucs face Tennessee Tech Sunday morning. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m. at Warner Park (field three).
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.