Bowling Green, Ky. (Mar. 9, 2003) -- East Tennessee State claimed the 2003 Big Red Blast championship by finishing the tournament at 3-1 and winning the head-to-head tie breaker with Eastern Illinois, who also finished at 3-1.
ETSU's Dani Spetar (Knoxville, Tenn.) was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after leading the Bucs to the title with a .583 batting average. The Bucs centerfielder finished the tournament with a .643 on-base percentage, .667 slugging
percentage, eight total bases and two RBI.
Also making solid contributions were all-tournament selections Tiffany McVay (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.) and Janine Sprague (Hillsborough, N.C.). McVay gave up just one earned run in 14 innings (0.50 ERA), and went 2-0 on the mound for the Bucs. Sprague batted .375, while drawing a team-high five bases on balls and scored four runs.
ETSU lost its first game of the tournament, 12-2, versus Western Illinois on Saturday, Mar. 8. The Bucs redeemed the loss later in the day by defeating tournament host Western Kentucky 6-2. McVay pitched a complete game, allowing just one earned run.
In the Buccaneers' third game of the tourney, ETSU defeated Eastern Illinois 2-1. First basman Miranda Byerly (Chandler, N.C.)went 3-for-3 at the plate, while right fielder Rhea Holler (Peoria, Ariz.) knocked in both runs. Junior Jennifer Fraser (Chattanooga, Tenn.) hurled the complete game, allowing just four hits and no earned runs.
The difference in the tournament proved to be ETSU's 3-0 shutout versus Indiana State. Spetar went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate, while third baseman Lindsay Lane (Erwin, Tenn.) batted in two runs. McVay was again untouchable on the mound, pitching all seven innings of scoreless softball.
East Tennessee State will be in action again Wednesday, Mar. 12 at Tennessee.