CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 23, 2008) - The ETSU softball team began day two of the Chattanooga Challenge rallying past Bowling Green, 5-4, but after hitting its high note the Lady Buccaneers came crashing down after having their four-run lead evaporate and fell 6-5 to Ball State in the nightcap at Frost Stadium.
The Lady Buccaneers handed BGU a devastating blow in game one as ETSU plated three runs in the bottom of the eighth to earn the come from behind victory. Senior Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) began the rally with an RBI single to right-center, scoring Caitlin Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) from second. Freshman Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) drove in her first collegiate run when her single up the middle plated Knight, tying the game at five. Then, Cheniece Cason's (Moreno Valley, Calif.) walk-off walk ended the game as Henderson came down the line to score the winning run.
ETSU trailed early as Dawnjene DeLong blasted one down the leftfield line off Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.). Hardy quickly settled down by retiring 15 of the next 20 Falcon hitters she faced. The Lady Bucs finally helped Hardy out by tying the game at one in the bottom of the fifth. ETSU took advantage of a BGU fielding miscue and played some small ball to score the lone run. After Kate Powell (Johnson City) reached on an error, she advanced to second on Vicki McCoy's (Ringgold, Ga.) bunt single. Powell finally came around to score when Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) grounded out to short.
Bowling Green regained its lead in the top of the sixth and scored two more runs in the top half of the eighth, but ETSU's rally handed the Falcons their second loss of the season. Hardy, who worked hard in relief last night, earned her first win of the year as she tallied a career-high 11 strikeouts. In the last two days, Hardy has struck out 20 in 13.0 IP.
However, good things must come to an end, and that is exactly what happened to ETSU in game two.
The Lady Buccaneers looked to have their first sweep of the season in the books against Ball State, but ETSU relinquished a four-run lead in the bottom of the seven as the Cardinals scored five runs in the inning.
ETSU jumped out early when Zyskowski blasted her first homer of the year to left in the second, putting the Lady Bucs ahead 1-0. (Katy) Jett extended the advantage to 3-0 an inning later. Her single to left-center drove home Henderson and Powell.
Ball State cut the deficit to two, 3-1, when the Cardinals pushed a run across in the sixth. In the seventh, the Lady Bucs moved their lead to 5-1. First, Jett drove in her third run of the game when she singled to the right side and Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) brought home the fifth and final ETSU run with her sacrifice hit.
After tossing 5.1IP of one-run ball, freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) was pulled for Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan for the sophomore hurler as Gilbert allowed five unearned runs in 1.1 IP. ETSU committed four errors in the final frame, lifting Ball State to victory on Kamilah Holle's RBI single to left-center.
Gilbert suffered her sixth loss of the year and the Lady Buccaneers fall to 3-8 after their first 11 games.
ETSU will wrap up its fifth and final game tomorrow versus Eastern Kentucky. First pitch is slated for noon.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.