JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 27, 2007) - After dropping a 4-3 nine inning heartbreaker to Mercer in game one, the ETSU softball team bounced back nicely in game two as they shutout the Bears 8-0. The Bucs rallied back from a three-run deficit in the first game, but Crystal Condra's two-out RBI single proved to be the game winner; however ETSU's bats lit up in the nightcap, tallying seven runs in the final two innings to capture the victory in five innings.
With the split, ETSU (25-27, 10-8 A-Sun) currently holds the number three seed in next month's Atlantic Sun Tournament, while Mercer (13-42, 6-10 A-Sun) clinched a berth to the tournament with its win in game one. The Bucs can move into the number two slot if Mercer sweeps Gardner-Webb tomorrow in
In game two, the Bucs opened things up with a four-run third and a three-run fourth, which ended the contest with the mercy rule after ETSU led 8-0.
ETSU used a little small ball strategy to plate its first run in the second as Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) led off the inning with a walk and quickly moved over to second on Jessie Hackworth's (Clinton, Tenn.) sacrifice bunt. The moved paid off on the very next play as sophomore Mary Catherine Vercoe's (
The fun continued from there, as the Bucs forced the Bears to make two pitching changes in the third. Small ball came into affect again, when Trisha Massenzo (
After Darci Gilbert (
Gilbert retired three of the final four Mecer hitters she faced to end the game, and improved to 10-13 after tossing her second complete game shutout of her career. Nikki Bylak, the winner in game one, suffered the loss after allowing three runs on five hits in 2.1 IP.
The Bucs fell behind early in game one as the Bears plated one run in the third and two more in fourth, but a strong ETSU rally tied the game at three, when Cason's RBI single scored Massenzo from third in the sixth. Massenzo reached base by smashing a double to left, and advanced to third when Stephanie Cope (
Freshman Marissa Hardy (
Mercer finally broke the 3-3 game in the ninth, as they took advantage of Kelley Talamantes' leadoff walk, when Crytal Condra drove her in on a two-out single to left. ETSU had the game-tying run aboard in the ninth, as Katy Jett (
Despite going the distance, Hardy suffered her second loss of the season (5-2) after allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits. Bylak (4-8) pitched 4.2 IP of relief and allowed only one run on four hits for the win.
ETSU will now have the next week and a half off before heading down to