Friday, May 04, 2001Johnson City, Tenn. -- The East Tennessee State softball team closed out their 2001 season with a 5-0 loss to Appalachian State, Friday in the Southern Conference Softball Tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn.
There were some ups and downs in the Bucs inaugural campaign, but the season was largely a success.
ETSU finished the season at 14-35, 9-11 in Southern Conference play. The nine SoCon wins were the most ever by a first-year team in conference history. The Bucs took series from Appalachian State, College of Charleston, Georgia Southern and UNC Wilmington.
The Bucs began the season on a 13-game road trip, travelling to such places as Houston, Tex. and Baton Rouge, La. They picked up the first win in program history on Feb. 17, a 3-2 victory over Stephen F. Austin at the University of Houston Tournament.
Kiwanis Park certainly provided a home-field advantage for the Bucs, as ETSU went 8-8 at home compared to 5-21 on the road. The Bucs were victorious in their first home games, sweeping Lambuth University in a doubleheader, 8-0 and 8-7.
Many Buccaneers finished the season among the leagueās statistical leaders. Shortstop Melanie Collins and third baseman Judith St. Clair tied for second in the conference in doubles with 13. St. Clair also finished ninth in the SoCon in slugging percentage at .441.
On the mound, freshman Tiffany Vandergriff proved to be one of the Southern Conferenceās finest pitchers. She finished the season in the SoCon top-10 in virtually every pitching category. She was first in complete games (23), second in innings pitched (189.0) and games started (27), fourth in appearances (32), fifth in strikeouts (94) and shutouts (3) and seventh in wins (11). She was also one of ETSUās top offensive threats, finishing 10th in the conference in batting average (.317) and on base percentage (.387).
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