JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 4, 2004) - In a back-and-forth battle Sunday afternoon at Metro-Kiwanis Park, the East Tennessee State Lady Bucs rallied from a 4-0 deficit to eventually take the lead at 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Elon Phoenix regrouped to force extra innings and eventually collect an 8-6 victory in Southern Conference softball action.
With the win, Elon won two-of-three games in the weekend series and improved to 23-13-1 overall, 6-3 in SoCon play. Meanwhile, the Lady Bucs dropped to 21-18, 3-3.
The Phoenix took advantage of two ETSU errors in the top of the second inning and got an RBI single from left fielder Dani Concepcion to grab an early 2-0 advantage. They then built that lead to 4-0 in top of the third frame thanks to a pair of hits from catcher Jamie Dupont and starting pitcher Megan Borgaard, and a two-run single from third baseman Christina Melton.
ETSU's offense finally came to life in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Borgaard walked Lady Buc right fielder Janine Sprague (Hillsborough, N.C.) to force in a run, gave up an RBI fielder's choice to ETSU starter Tiffany McVay (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.) and an RBI single to center fielder Danielle Spetar (Knoxville, Tenn.). At the end of the inning, the Lady Bucs were within one run at 4-3 and Elon reliever Jennifer Lamb had been replaced by Borgaard on the mound.
Keeping the pressure on, the Lady Bucs tied the game in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a solo home run by the left fielder Rhea Holler (Peoria, Ariz.), and then took the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run blast by Spetar. Again, Elon made a switch on the mound, replacing Lamb with Whitney Meeks, which turned out to be the right move for the Phoenix.
While McVay had recovered from a rocky start to pitch a solid game, Elon managed to break through against the ETSU senior once again in the top of the seventh. Four hits - including a two-run single by Miley - allowed the Phoenix to force extra innings and ETSU head coach Amy Fuller brought in pitcher Belinda Barerra (Fayetteville, N.C.) to relieve McVay.
The Bucs were unable to score again in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings against Meeks, and Elon managed the winning runs thanks to a two-run single by Borgaard in the top of the eighth.
Offensively, ETSU was led by Spetar, who picked up two hits and three RBIs, including a two-run home run. Meanwhile, McVay, Stephanie Gaynord (Manassas, Va.) and Holler all collected two hits apiece. For Elon, Borgaard had four hits and two RBIs, while Miley and Melton also picked up a couple of RBIs each.
On the mound, Meeks (10-4) picked up the win and Barrera (8-8) suffered the loss.
ETSU will return to action at home Tuesday in a non-conference doubleheader against Radford. Those games are scheduled for 2 and 4 p.m. Meanwhile, Elon returns home to face Gardner-Webb on Wednesday at 3 p.m.