JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 1, 2010) - Senior Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) made the most of her final game in an ETSU uniform Saturday afternoon, as the standout shortstop broke three Lady Buccaneer records against Gardner-Webb from the ETSU Softball Complex.
Cason, who was five hits shy of breaking Janine Sprague's single-season record (70, in 2004) entering the day, went 2-for-3 in the 2-1 game one win over the Runnin' Bulldogs, while it was her one-out double in the bottom of the seventh in game two that moved the Moreno Valley, Calif. native past Sprague with her 71st hit of the year. Unfortunately, Cason was left standing on third and the Lady Bucs fell 2-1 in the nightcap.
Along with breaking the single-season hits record, Cason's .372 batting average and .425 on-base percentage also marked ETSU bests.
With the spilt, the Lady Bucs' season came to an end as the Blue and Gold finished the 2010 campaign, 21-35. Gardner-Webb moved to 21-30 after getting the game two victory.
GAME ONE RECAP
Freshman Lucy Schneider (Dade City, Fla.) put the Lady Bucs ahead 1-0 with a solo home run in the fourth, and sophomore infielder Amy Campbell's (Chattanooga, Tenn.) two-out RBI single in the sixth proved to be the game winner as the Lady Bucs defeated Gardner-Webb, 2-1, in game one Saturday afternoon from the ETSU softball Complex.
Senior righty Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) finished her career with the victory (5-9) after going the distance and allowing one run on five hits. Gilbert also struck out two and issued no walks. Gardner-Webb's Cindy Broomhower suffered the loss (7-11) in relief as she was tagged for one run on one hit in one inning of work.
Both teams had scoring chances in the first two innings, but Schneider snapped the scoreless affair with a leadoff homer to dead center - putting the Lady Bucs up 1-0 in the fourth.
Gardner-Webb missed a golden opportunity in the third when the Bulldogs had the bases loaded and only one out. However, Gilbert forced Mandy Ward to hit a chopper to short - and Cheniece Cason fired a rocket home to get the second out at the plate. Then, with two outs, Gilbert again induced another ground out to short - keeping the shutout intact.
The Bulldogs tied the game at one in the fourth, when pinch runner Jessica Milligan scored on Ashley Whitlock's one-out tapper down the first base line. With Milligan on second, Massenzo - ETSU's catcher - charged the ball and tossed a strike to Arielle Garner (Buchanan, Ga.) at first to get Whitlock out. However, with Gilbert not protecting the plate, Milligan took advantage of the miscue to even the game at one.
Fortunately, ETSU responded in the bottom half of the inning when Campbell drove home Massenzo with a two-out double to right-center - giving the Lady Bucs the 2-1 lead and eventually the one-run victory. Massenzo began the inning with a leadoff walk and moved to second on Katie Henderson's (Jackson, Tenn.) sacrifice bunt. Campbell provided the heroics after Broomhower fanned Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) as the Chattanooga, Tenn. native zoned in on a 2-2 pitch and found the gap in right-center to plate Massenzo.
The Runnin' Bulldogs put the game-tying run on second in the seventh, but Gilbert forced Jane Savage to hit into a game-ending grounder to third.
GAME TWO RECAP
Cheniece Cason joined the record books with her 3-for-4 effort, but two solo home runs from Christa Fullwood was all the offense Gardner-Webb needed as the Runnin' Bulldogs forced a split with a 2-1 victory over the Lady Bucs.
Senior Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) allowed only two hits; unfortunately, both left the yard on two Fullwood solo homers. Hardy tossed all seven innings and struck out four, but the right-hander finished the season at 4-12. After suffering the loss in the opener, Broomhower earned the win (8-11) after issuing one run on six hits in seven innings of work.
Fullwood led off the game by taking a 1-2 pitch over the fence in right-center to give Gardner-Webb the early 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Bucs responded when Trisha Massenzo's RBI single to right tied the game at one after Cason came charging home.
Gardner-Webb regained the lead, 2-1, when Fullwood put a charge into a 3-2 pitch and sent the ball sailing over the scoreboard in right with one out in the third.
After surrendering the second home run to Fullwood, Hardy settled in and retired 14 of the final 15 batters she faced, but the Lady Bucs were unable to give the Rocklin, Calif. the lead.
ETSU was never able to get anything going offensively until the sixth and seventh innings.
In the sixth, the Lady Bucs had runners on first and third with two outs, but Broomhower kept Amy Campbell from coming home to score when she struck out Arielle Garner swinging. Then, in the seventh, Cason blasted a one-out double; however, after she advanced to third on Katy Jett's (Talbott, Tenn.) ground out to the circle, Broomhower recorded her eighth punch out of the game by getting Lucy Schneider out swinging to end the contest.
Saturday marked the final game for seniors Cheniece Cason, Marissa Hardy, Darci Gilbert, Katy Jett, and Trisha Massenzo. All five ETSU stars have shown excellence both on the field and in the classroom, and will be truly missed by the Lady Buccaneer faithful.
With ETSU losing these key seniors, the Lady Bucs return 12 letterwinners while also bringing in six fresh faces for the 2010-11 season.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.