Huntsville, Texas -- The East Tennessee State University softball program opened its inaugural season today with a doubleheader at Sam Houston State. The Bucs lost the first game in their history, 10-3, and dropped the second game of the doubleheader, 5-4, in nine innings.
"I was impressed with our effort today," head coach Stephanie DeFeo said. "We played hard and had a chance to win the second game. This is a good foundation to build our season around."
Sam Houston State (5-3) scored two in the first, five in the second and three in the sixth to spoil ETSUs first game. Freshman Tiffany Vandergriff (0-1) hurled a complete game for the visitors, allowing 10 runs on 11 hits. Vandergriff also batted leadoff, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the second, freshman Judith St. Clair blasted a home run to record the first run in ETSU softball history. The right fielder collected two hits in her collegiate debut.
The Bearkats answered with five in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-1 lead. In the ETSU fifth, Vandergriff led off the inning with a double and later scored on an RBI single by freshman Julia Chance. The Bucs scored their final run in the sixth when junior April Arnold scored on a single by junior Jessica Hodge.
Sam Houston States Aydrion Guajardo went 4.1 innings to earn the win. Second baseman Kim Harqis led the Bearkat offense by going 2-for-4 at the plate with four RBI and two runs scored.
In only its second game, ETSU took its host to extra innings but eventually lost, 5-4, in the ninth. Arnold suffered the loss despite a quality outing -- 8.2 innings, five runs (three earned) on nine hits. Chance sparked the Buc offense with two hits, three RBI and one run scored. She slammed her first career home run -- a two run shot -- in the third.
After a scoreless first, ETSU earned its first lead in program history when freshman Danielle Richardson doubled home junior Andrea Roberts. Sam Houston State tied the game in the home half of the inning before ETSU took a 3-1 lead on Chances homer.
The Bearkats scored one in the third and took a 4-3 lead in the fourth on a two-run double by Ashley Hylton. The Bucs fought back to knot the game, 4-4, in the fifth when Chance collected her third RBI with a double that plated sophomore Shawnda Cole.
After 3.5 scoreless innings, Sam Houston State swept the doubleheader with a run in the bottom of the ninth. With a runner placed on second to start the inning, and a sacrifice bunt, the Bearkats had a runner at third with one out. Arnold got the next batter to pop up to second before an error allowed the game-winning run to score.
The Bucs return to action this weekend in the University of Houston Tournament. ETSU opens the event at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 16 with a doubleheader against Northwestern State.