NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 6, 2008) - Exactly one year ago to the date the ETSU softball team swept Belmont in Johnson City, and on Sunday the Lady Bucs accomplished the same feat after piecing together two solid performances at Aquinas Field. The Softball Bucs began the afternoon with a 5-2 win and capped off the sweep with a 12-0 victory in game two.
ETSU scored 17 runs on 23 hits (five for extra bases) on the day and moved its record to 19-25, 6-8 in the Atlantic Sun; while Belmont has now dropped 10 of its last 11 and fall to 11-23, 3-11 on the year. The Lady Bucs are now a perfect 6-0 lifetime against the Bruins.
The Lady Bucs ran the Bruins out of their home field after stealing 11 bases in the doubleheader.
It did not take ETSU very long to put a crooked number on the board in game one as the Lady Bucs sent eight batters to the plate. Sophomore Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) led off the game with an infield hit to short and advanced to second on her 12th stolen base of the season. Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) worked a one-out walk and both runners moved up a base on a passed ball. Then, with runners on second and third, freshman Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) found the gap in right-center to drive home both runs. The Lady Bucs loaded the bases when Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) walked and junior Kate Powell (Johnson City) reached on a bunt single. However, ETSU could not add more runs to the board after Grossnickle got Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) to tap one back to the circle.
ETSU chased Grossnickle from the circle in the second and the Lady Buccaneers took advantage of some speed on the base paths to plate their third run. Sophomore short stop Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led off the second with a single to center and put herself in scoring position by stealing second. Cason moved to third on Jett's ground out and came around to score on Vicki McCoy's (Ringgold, Ga.) infield single, marking McCoy's first RBI since March 21 vs. Gardner-Webb.
After retiring the Bruins in order in the first, sophomore right-hander Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) found herself in a little trouble an inning later. Gilbert retired the leadoff hitter, but allowed a single to Grossnickle and walked the next batter, placing runners on first and second. The Murfreesboro native settled in, forcing Erin Grier to fly out to right and Hackworth made a nice stab at a Kelley Cash liner to third for the final out of the frame.
The Lady Bucs continued with their scoring spree in the third when sophomore catcher Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) snapped ETSU's 10-game homerless streak as she sent on flying over the left field fence, putting the Softball Bucs ahead, 4-0. The home run was Massenzo's team-leading fifth of the season and first since Jett went yard at USC Upstate on March 24. ETSU plated its fifth run on Belmont's second error of the game. With Powell on first, (Briana) Knight hit a routine fly to short; however, leftfielder (Erin) Grier caused Angie Helseth to knock the ball free by running into her, giving Powell the chance to come home on the play.
Belmont placed its third base runner on in the bottom half of the third, but after Gilbert struck out Helseth, Massenzo gunned down Holly Herman as she tried to steal for the second out of the inning. Gilbert worked out of the frame by having Meghan Pipkin ground back to the circle.
The Bruins left Jett stranded at third in the fourth and finally pushed some runs across the plate in the bottom half on Julie Harmon's two-run homer to left. Then, Grossnickle walked and forced ETSU to make a pitching change as freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) enter in relief. Boyd did superb job shutting the door on the Bruins as she retired the next three batters to end any more of a threat.
Double plays continued to haunt ETSU as Hardy popped out to the catcher and Jett was called out at third after she broke home on the failed sacrifice bunt to end the sixth. The double-up was the third turned by Belmont on the day.
Fortunately for ETSU, Boyd was outstanding in the circle by retiring nine straight batters and 12 of the 13 Bruins she faced. The Chattanooga native issued only one hit in 4.0 IP of relief and struck out three en route to her sixth victory of the year. Gilbert, who started her first game since March 26 vs. Presbyterian, allowed two runs on two hits in three-plus innings. Belmont's (Heather) Grossnickle saw her record fall to 1-6 after allowing three runs on five hits in 1.1 IP.
As a team, ETSU pounded out 13 hits and stole four bases thanks to Katy Jett's three thefts. Junior Kate Powell knocked out three hits, marking the second time this year she has accomplished the feat and Jett, Henderson, McCoy and Hackworth all posted two hits apiece.
Once again the Softball Bucs jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs on only one hit in the first inning. Belmont's pitching surrendered two walks and an error by third baseman Erin Grier. Katy Jett led off the game with a walk, stole her fourth base of the day (15th of the season) and came around to score on Julie Harmon's wild pitch - Vicki McCoy advanced to third after she singled and stole second prior to the errant pitch. Harmon was pulled after only facing two ETSU batters and Katie Henderson's sac fly to right scored Vicki McCoy. Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) gave the Lady Bucs a 3-0 lead when she drove home Trisha Massenzo from third.
ETSU plated its fourth run when Cat Zyskowski's (Grand Rapids, Mich.) sacrifice fly to right scored Cason in the fifth. Cason reached on an error by the Bruins' first baseman to lead off the inning, stole second and moved to third when Jett grounded out to second. Then, an inning later, Cason cleared the bases when her third career triple drove in three runs, and scored the Softball Bucs' eighth run of the game on Jett's RBI single. After Zyskowski singled through the right side, ETSU's double steal worked as Jett made it 9-0 and Zyskowski went to third on a throwing error from Belmont's catcher. Massenzo pushed the Lady Buccaneer lead to 10-0 on her RBI double to left-center. ETSU was not done scoring, because Haverman's double to right-center marked ETSU's seventh hit of the inning and brought home Massenzo and Henderson to make it 12-0. In total, the Lady Bucs batted around and scored eight runs in the sixth.
Right-hander Marissa Hardy was pleased with the run support even though the three runs scored in the first would have held up. Hardy notched her second shut out of the season after allowing only one hit and striking out six (no walks). Harmon's record dropped to 1-4 after allowing three runs on two hits.
As a club the Lady Bucs hit .397 (23-58) with three doubles, a triple and home run. ETSU's pitching shut down Belmont as they limited the Bruins to a .093 average (4-43). Haverman, Powell, McCoy, Jett, and Hackworth each tallied three hits on the day, while Jett also stole five bases to move her season total to a perfect 16-for-16. Cason and Henderson each mounted two hits and drove in three runs in the doubleheader.
The Lady Bucs wrap up this eight-game road swing with Appalachian State on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. from the ASU Softball Stadium.