COLUMBIA, S.C. (Feb. 24, 2007) - Despite collecting a total of 14 hits on the day, the ETSU softball team was only able to put two runs on the board as they fell to host South Carolina, 4-1, in game one of the South Carolina Invitational, and then dropped the second game 2-1 to Radford in the nightcap at Beckham Field.
With the two losses, the Bucs fall to 3-6 on the season, while South Carolina moved to 12-2 and Radford improved to 4-7.
In game one, ETSU struck first in the third inning when Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) drew a walk, and scored two plays later when Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) singled. However, the Bucs had a potential to score more runs in the inning as they had runners on second and third and only one out, but a quick pitching change by the Gamecocks was all they needed to stop ETSU's scoring threat. Kate Pouliot came in to replace starter Krystle Robinson and she got out of the jam by getting the next two Bucs hitters out.
After allowing only one hit through the first four innings, sophomore Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) was faced with some troubles in the fifth. Vercoe looked to be okay after allowing a leadoff single as she got the next two hitters out. However, the Gamecocks Becky Martinez doubled to center, scoring Lindsay Walker and then two plays later Ashton Payne drove in two more runs when she tripled to center. Adele Voigt then singled on the next play which added the fourth run for South Carolina, and that was all they needed to pull out the victory.
The Bucs could not get anything going after South Carolina brought in Pouliot as she went 4.2 IP and allowed only one hit while striking out five. Robinson only lasted 2.1 IP, allowing one run on six hits. Vercoe suffered her third loss of the season as she went the distance, surrendering four runs on eight hits. Freshman Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.) posted her second multi-hit game this season, going 2-for-3.
ETSU had a quick turnaround as they had to face Radford right after playing South Carolina in the fourth and final game of the day on Saturday. The Highlanders took advantage of the Bucs' back-to-back games as they pushed the first run across the plate in the bottom half of the first as their leadoff hitter reached on an error and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly.
Freshman Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) got Radford to go down in order in the second and third, but then allowed four consecutive singles to start the fourth inning. The Bucs were fortunate to only allow one run to cross the plate in the inning as bad base running by the Highlanders cost them a chance to put more on the board.
After six scoreless innings the Bucs finally got some momentum going in the seventh. After Brittany Roggeman (Afton, Tenn.) popped out to third to start the inning, ETSU got three consecutive singles from Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.), Caitlin Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.), and Gilbert. Hackworth scored on Gilbert's single and the Bucs had the tying run at second and the game-winning run at first with only one out. However, Radford's Breanna Felix got pinch hitter Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) out on strikes and Stephanie Gaynord (Manassas, Va.) to foul out to right, ending the ETSU rally.
Gilbert dropped her third decision of the season as she completed the game and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits. Felix picked up her second win on the season as she allowed one run on seven hits.
The Bucs return to action Sunday morning when they take on Jacksonville State at 9 a.m. ETSU will then play in the consolation game later on in the day at 1 p.m. Please visit www.uscsports.cstv.com to follow all the action on Gametracker.