JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 21, 2009) - Looking to even up its Atlantic Sun Conference mark the ETSU softball team fell just short Saturday afternoon dropping a pair of heartbreaking games to league rival Campbell, at the Lady Buc Softball Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn.
After both teams failed to get anything going offensively in the first two innings, ETSU (15-9, 0-4 A-Sun) would draw first blood on Campbell in the bottom of the third. After back-to-back infield singles by junior shortstop Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and graduate student Kate Powell (Johnson City), freshman third basemen Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.) ripped a single into centerfield scoring Cason to give the Lady Bucs an early 1-0 lead.
ETSU would take its one run advantage into the top of the fifth, before Campbell (20-7, 6-2 A-Sun) responded. After three straight singles to start the inning off of ETSU starter Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), leftfielder Lizze Goldbach laced a single through the left side of the infield scoring two Campbell runners. However, on the play senior second baseman Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) would make an outstanding defensive decision cutting the relay throw off getting Campbell's Keelie Michael into a rundown, in which Michael would be tagged out trying to advance home. After a fielders choice in which Cason would throw out Goldbach trying to advance home, Gilbert would go on to retire Bethany Stanley minimizing the Camels damage to just 2-1.
The score would stay in Campbell's favor until the bottom of the seventh, when the Lady Bucs would rally. After freshman centerfielder Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) ripped a single up the middle to start the inning, senior leftfielder Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) would go on to walk on four straight pitches. Then with two on and no one out senior first baseman Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) reached after being hit by a pitch loading the bases for ETSU. After a Cheince Cason fly out to left, Katie Powell would step-up and deliver the game-tying hit scoring Martin from third. Then just when it looked like ETSU would push the game-winning run across for the victory Campbell starter Bethany Stanley settled down to retire the remaining two Lady Buc hitters knotting the game 2-2 after seven innings of play.
In the extra frame Campbell would waste little time as Keelie Michael would deliver a two-out double off of ETSU reliever Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.), scoring two Camel runners giving CU a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth Campbell closer Katie Woodcock shut the door on any ETSU rally retiring the Lady Bucs in order giving the Fighting Camels their fifth A-Sun win of the season.
Despite the loss ETSU starter Darci Gilbert continued to pitch well allowing only two earned runs in six and a third innings, while striking out four. Offensively, Annie Martin led the ETSU attack with a 1-for-3 effort, while Kate Powell extended her hitting streak to five games.
Unlike game one's small ball affair Campbell's bats would go on to blast three solo homeruns off of sophomore starter Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) giving the Camels a convincing 4-0 win. ETSU's best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the fifth as Annie Martin doubled off the left-center field wall, however Vicki McCoy would be thrown out trying to advance to home by Campbell shortstop Amanda Miller closing out any ETSU comeback hopes.
Campbell freshman Christina Melton held the ETSU bats in check throwing six strong compete innings, while allowing only five hits on the day. Of the five hits that Melton gave up Amy Campbell led the ETSU offense with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate.
The Lady Bucs will now have a quick turn around as ETSU closes out its six-game homestand Sunday afternoon when 2008 co-regular season champions USC Upstate come to town. First pitch of that series will begin at 2 p.m.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.