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Bucs drop a pair in season opener at Georgia State First Pitch Classic
Western Carolina (1-1)
2/11/2012 | Panthersville, Ga. | Attendance: 156
Georgia State (2-0)
2/11/2012 | Panthersville, Ga. | Attendance: 151
Saturday, February 11, 2012
PANTHERSVILLE, Ga. (Feb. 11, 2012) – After having its rally fall short against Western Carolina (5-4) in game one, the ETSU softball team suffered a second straight setback as the Bucs fell to the host Panthers, 11-2, in the opening day of the Georgia State First Pitch Classic on a frigid Saturday from Bob Heck Field.
Freshman Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), sophomore Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas), and senior Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) led the way for the Blue and Gold on opening day as Everett and Wolff both hit .500, while Martin – who missed the majority of the 2011 season with a shoulder injury – bounced back by hitting .429 with a triple and two runs scored. The trio of Buccaneer players each finished with three hits on the day, while Wolff belted two doubles and scored two runs.
The Bucs – who are off to a 0-2 start to begin the 2012 campaign – return to the diamond early Sunday as ETSU takes on Longwood at 10 a.m. Following its game with the Lancers, ETSU will play its fourth and final game at either 2:30 p.m. (No. 3 vs. No. 4 seed) or 4:45 p.m. (No. 1 vs. No. 2 seed).
ETSU vs. Western Carolina Game Recap
Haley Pace was a thorn in the Bucs side as she belted a pair of home runs and drove in three as Western Carolina held off a Buccaneer rally, 5-4.
Both teams scored a run in the first, but the Catamounts broke the game open by plating two runs in the third and two more in the fourth, while managing to hold on despite a late attack by the Blue and Gold.
Annie Martin and Katie Wolff paced the Bucs’ two-hit efforts, while Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) and Haley Thompson (Nicholson, Ga.) each drove in runs.
Western Carolina struck first with a two-out solo home run by Pace, but the Bucs responded in the bottom half of the inning as Martin scored on a two-out error by Shemekia Scotton at short.
After both teams were held scoreless in the second, Western Carolina received another bomb by Pace in the third as her two-run homer put the Catamounts ahead, 3-1. Western Carolina took advantage of some errors by the Bucs in the fourth inning, as the Catamounts pushed two more runs across the dish, making it a four-run game.
However, the Bucs didn’t fold and had the game-tying run on in the seventh before Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) ended the game with a grounder to the circle.
Thompson began the ETSU rally when her two-out RBI single in the fourth scored Wolff from second, while Martin – who led off the fifth with a triple to left-center – scored on Lower’s sac-fly RBI on the next at-bat, making it a 5-3 affair.
The Bucs manufactured their fourth and final run with some speed courtesy of Alex Everett in the sixth, but ETSU couldn’t get over the hump to collect the come-from-behind win. Everett recorded a one-out single and moved to second on Amy Campbell’s (Chattanooga, Tenn.) ground out to second. From there, Everett put the Catamount defense in a frenzy as she stole third and scored on a throwing error by Pace behind the plate.
Unfortunately, Lower’s two-out single in the seventh couldn’t spark another scoring opportunity as Amber Steinhardt forced Baird to tap into a game-ending grounder.
Senior right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) suffered the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits in 6.1 innings of work.
ETSU vs. Georgia State
Georgia State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and never looked back as the reigning Colonial Athletic Association champions went on to defeat the Blue and Gold, 11-2.
Despite playing in frigid temperatures (36 degrees and high winds), the Panthers still managed to pound out 17 hits, while Alex Everett registered two of ETSU’s five base knocks.
Georgia State took advantage of an extra out in the first inning as the Panthers jumped out to a two-run lead before the Bucs were able to pick up a bat. Ashley Christy led off the game with an infield single and advanced to second after Brenna Morrissey reached on an error by Amy Campbell at third. The miscue came back to haunt the Blue and Gold later in the inning as freshman Kara Woods (Erwin, Tenn.) bounced back by getting the next two Georgia State hitters out, but with two outs and runners in scoring position, Callie Alford drove in the two runs with a single.
After Woods kept the Panthers off the board in the second and third innings, the Buccaneer offense was unable to breakthrough and Georgia State finally made the Blue and Gold pay.
The Panthers scored four runs on three hits in the top of the fourth, while two ETSU errors also led to the prolonged inning as Georgia State extended its lead to 6-0.
ETSU finally tacked on some runs in the bottom half of the frame as Everett drove home Sam Lower – who led off the inning with a walk – when the Soddy Daisy, Tenn. native singled to right. The Bucs made it a 6-2 game when Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) singled in Katie Wolff with the bases loaded; however, ETSU couldn’t do any more damage as they left the bases full of runners. With one out and the bases juiced, Haley Thompson lined out to short, while Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) tapped into a fielder’s choice to end any comeback threat.
From there, Woods worked out of a jam in the fifth and left a Panther runner stranded at second in the sixth, but Georgia State enjoyed a hit parade in the seventh to cap off the nine-run victory. The Panthers began the seventh with five consecutive hits – including two, two-run homers – and eventually plated five runs on seven hits in the frame.
Woods was tagged with the loss, while Erin Collins earned the win after allowing one hit in 2.2 innings of relief.
Fans unable to make the trip to Panthersville on Sunday can follow all the action via live stats courtesy of GeorgiaStateSports.com.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.