Lady Bucs score seven unanswered runs and pound out a season-high 17 hits to cap off the sweep
CULLOWHEE, N.C. (April 29, 2009) - Freshman Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) began the Lady Buccaneer rally with her first collegiate home run in the fourth and the Centerville, Tenn. native snapped a 7-7 game with a two-run scoring single in the seventh, capping off a come-from-behind victory and a sweep over Western Carolina on Wednesday night at the Catamount Softball Complex.
With the sweep, ETSU saw its record move to 27-24, and the Lady Bucs now wrap up regular season play on Friday evening when they host Radford in a doubleheader. Western Carolina suffered its eighth straight loss and dropped to 11-34.
The Lady Bucs entered the sixth inning trailing 7-3, but ETSU posted nine of its season-high 17 hits in the final two innings and scored seven unanswered runs to pull of the sweep. The 17 Lady Buccaneer hits were one shy of tying the ETSU single-game record, which was set against Marist on March 1, 2008.
Junior right-hander Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) - who tossed her seventh shutout of the season - entered in relief and tossed three innings of one run (unearned) ball to pick up her 17th victory of the year.
Martin and Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) led the way offensively for ETSU, as they combined to go 8-for-8 with three RBIs and six runs scored. Both Martin and Jett went 4-for-4, which both tied the single-game record for hits in a game at ETSU, while Martin scored four runs and drove in a career high three RBIs. In addition to the powerful duo, junior Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and senior Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) also enjoyed multi-hit efforts. Cason - who has now hit safely in 21 of the 26 games - went 2-for-5 with an RBI and stolen base, while Hackworth finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
ETSU missed a prime scoring chance in the opening frame, as Cason and Jett led off with consecutive singles. However, after both runners moved into scoring position, Megan Taylor induced the next two Lady Buccaneer hitters into infield pop outs to end the inning.
The Catamounts jumped ahead 1-0 in the bottom half of the inning on Chelsea Schaffer's one-out RBI single to left. Shaffer's single scored Kristen Gay from third after she led off with a single up the middle, then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). Solid Lady Buccaneer fielding helped get Gilbert and ETSU out of the inning without any further damage.
The Lady Bucs tied the game at 1-all in the top of the second, but base running errors cost the Lady Bucs a chance to make more damage. Martin posted her first of four hits with a leadoff single to right-center and cruised to third on Chelsea O'Connor's (Knoxville, Tenn.) two-out single up the middle. Cason's hot bat continued to pay dividends for the Lady Bucs, as her rocket back to the circle plated Martin and tied the game at one apiece. Unfortunately, ETSU called for the double steal - and after Western Carolina tried to get Cason out at second - O'Connor was gunned down at third by Keri Burnside's throw to end the inning.
Junior catcher Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) - who posted ETSU's game-winning hit in the opener - put the Lady Bucs up 2-1 when her RBI grounder in the third inning scored Jett.
The see-saw game continued as Western Carolina regained a 4-2 lead by scoring three runs on four hits in the bottom of the third. The Catamounts tied the game at 2-all on Schaffer's RBI single up the middle; however, with a runner on and two outs, Stephanie Beatty blasted her first home run of the season by sending one flying to deep center - giving Western Carolina the 4-2 lead. The homer chased Gilbert out of the circle and ETSU brought in freshman right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) - who forced Burnside to ground into an inning-ending out at first.
Then, in the top of the fourth, Martin decided to join the first home run club, as she led off the inning with a blast to center and the Lady Bucs cut the deficit to, 4-3. Martin's homer was the first of her collegiate career - and the Lady Buccaneer bats looked to have come alive - however pinch hitters Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) and Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) were both robbed of hits. Delisa sent a laser to Katie King at first and McCoy was cheated of a hit when Brittany Barrineau made a diving leap in right for the second out of the inning.
Western Carolina broke the game open in the fifth by scoring three more runs on four hits and extended its lead to, 7-3. The Catamounts received an RBI single by Schaffer and a two-run scoring single from Burnside to make it a four-run contest.
However, the Lady Bucs saved the best for last by flexing their muscles and posting seven unanswered runs to cap off the rally.
The Lady Bucs started the fun by scoring two runs in the sixth and lowered the Catamount advantage to 7-5. Hackworth started the brief rally with a one-out single to short and advanced to third on Martin's single to right - which put runners on the corners. Delisa drove in the first ETSU run of the inning when her RBI grounder to short scored Hackworth, and McCoy made it a two-run game when her infield single to third plated Martin. ETSU had the tying runs aboard with two outs, but the Catamounts forced Cason into an inning-ending grounder.
In the top of the seventh, ETSU strung together six consecutive singles and chased Chere Monday out of the circle after Hackworth drove in the game-tying run with her RBI hit through the left side. However, the move to the pen didn't make a difference, because the Lady Bucs' bats were on fire and plated three additional runs on two hits. One of those hits included Martin's game-winner, as she lined a two-run scoring single to right and drove in Hackworth and Massenzo. Delisa plated the 10th and final run of the inning on her RBI single - putting ETSU up 10-7.
Western Carolina's Chere Monday was tagged with the loss and saw her record drop to 0-4. Monday allowed six runs on eight hits in two innings of work.
Gilbert, who got the starting nod for ETSU, allowed four runs on six hits in 2.2 innings of action, while Morris surrendered two runs on two hits in 1.2 innings.
The Lady Bucs return to action on Friday evening when ETSU wraps up regular season play by hosting Radford at the ETSU Softball Complex. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.