Lady Bucs win fourth straight and move to .500 in A-Sun play
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 2, 2010) - Following the Lady Bucs' Nashville road swing last weekend, head coach Andrea Mangrum called a team meeting to try to turn the ship around after losing three of their first four games to open Atlantic Sun Conference play. The meeting was designed to get rid of all the negative juices and focus only on the positives that occurred to that point of the season.
The meeting worked as the recharged ETSU softball team took coach Mangrum's words to heart and complied some winning ways, as the Lady Bucs capped off a sweep of Stetson on Friday night - posting their fourth straight win.
The Lady Bucs got strong pitching efforts from Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) and Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.), while freshman left fielder Lucy Schneider (Dade City, Fla.) made some game-saving plays with her glove, and ETSU rallied for a 2-1 10-inning victory in game one. Then, in the nightcap, senior Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) tossed four shutout innings and Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) finished with three strong frames as the Lady Bucs swept Stetson out of the ETSU Softball Complex with a 4-1 win.
ETSU, who has won four straight and five of its last six, improved to 14-20, 3-3 in A-Sun. Meanwhile, Stetson dropped to 19-16, 1-3 after playing its first road games outside the state of Florida on Friday.
At the plate, Schneider and senior short stop Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led the Lady Bucs. Cason hit .375 with a run scored and a RBI, while Schneider went 3-for-9 with a double, run scored and RBI.
Game One Recap
For 6-plus innings the Lady Bucs had no answer for Stetson's Amanda Lindsey in the circle, but when the time was right ETSU dug deep and attacked the senior righty. ETSU plated the tying run in the seventh and freshman pinch-runner Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) scored the game-winning run on a throwing error in the tenth, as the Lady Bucs rallied for the 2-1 victory.
Jessica Duncan got the starting nod in the opener, but when it was all said and done an hour and forty-five minutes, her counterpart Marissa Hardy was dealt the win. Duncan tossed four sound innings of one-run ball, while Hardy entered in relief and tossed the final six frames - earning her second straight win and improving to 3-8 on the season.
Hardy, who recorded a pitch count of 130 in the six innings of work, was forced to work out of bases loaded jams in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. However, each time the standout senior kept the Hatters off the board momentum continued to creep its way into the ETSU dugout, and the Lady Bucs finally rewarded the Rocklin, Calif. native with the hard-earned win.
Facing their fourth conference loss with one out in the seventh, senior Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) began the rally with a single to first - marking only just the second hit of the game for the Blue and Gold. Following Jett's single, fellow senior Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) singled to center to put runners on first and second with only one out.
That's when things got exciting.
Freshman second baseman Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) was looking to move over the runners with a sac-bunt, but the Sebring, Fla. native reached after third baseman Jill Semento airmailed Megan Voeller at first. However, after Voeller retrieved the ball, Jett came around to score the tying run when Voeller missed the target at the plate and sent the ball to the backstop. From there the Lady Bucs looked to have things rolling and hoped to win it in the seventh - but after Lindsey intentionally walked Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) to load the bases - she got Arielle Garner (Buchanan, Ga.) out swinging and forced Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) to pop out to short.
Both teams left a pair of runners stranded in the eighth, but Lindsey and Hardy worked out of the jams to keep their respective teams in the game. Unfortunately, ETSU looked to have things won in the eighth on Massenzo's scorching roller past Lindsey in the circle; however, after Cason touched the dish - which would have given the Lady Bucs the victory - Jett was called out after interfering with Hatters' second baseman to end the inning.
However, after the game remained tied after nine, the international tie-breaker rule came into effect -meaning Stetson began the tenth with a runner on second. After Chelsea Whalley was placed on second to start the inning, Jordan Cleghorn looked to hit at least a run scoring triple to left. But Schneider had other plans as she robbed Cleghorn of the possible game-winning hit by making a miraculous running grab to keep the game knotted at one. After that catch, momentum was on the Lady Bucs' side and Hardy retired the next two hitters she faced.
In the bottom half of the inning, Hartnett entered as a pinch-runner at second - and after Cason was given a free pass to first - Schneider won the game on a walk-off fielder's choice. Schneider hit a roller to third, but again Semento's throw was offline at second and Hartnett was able to run home from second - giving the Lady Bucs the 2-1 victory.
Lindsey suffered the loss (12-8) after allowing two unearned runs on four hits, while striking out 13 hitters. Hardy tossed five shutout innings in relief and struck out seven (walked five).
GAME TWO RECAP
After trailing for the majority of game one, the Lady Bucs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first and never looked back as ETSU swept the Hatters with a 4-1 victory.
Just like what took place Wednesday night in Boone, the recipe for success followed Friday night for Darci Gilbert and Shelby Morris. Gilbert once again pitched four scoreless innings to earn the win (4-2), while Shelby Morris entered in the fifth to pick up her second consecutive three-inning save (third on the season).
ETSU jumped out to the 1-0 lead thanks to Katy Jett's RBI ground out to second in the bottom half of the first.
Again Stetson was able to put runners aboard in game two, but ETSU's pitchers and stifling defense continued to keep the Hatters stranded. After leaving 16 runners left on base in the opener, Stetson left six runners stranded in the first four innings of game two.
Fortunately, ETSU was able to tack on a solo run in the fifth when Lucy Schneider drove home Cheniece Cason with a two-out RBI single to right - making it a 2-0 contest. Then, ETSU scored two runs on three hits in the sixth to take a four-run cushion.
The Hatters broke up the shutout bid with a RBI double in the seventh, but Morris forced the potential game-tying run to hit into a game-ending grounder to Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at third.
Stetson's Nicole Peltz suffered the loss (4-3) after allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits in six innings of work.
The Lady Bucs look to close out the four-game conference homestand on a high note Saturday afternoon when ETSU hosts Florida Gulf Coast. First pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 2 p.m. at the ETSU Softball Complex.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.