CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 4, 2011) - The ETSU softball team scored one run in the first and added two more in third, making it more than enough offense for senior right-hander Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) to work with as the Bucs tamed the Columbia Lions, 4-1, on Friday morning in the first game of the USF Under Armour Invitational. The Bucs were unable to cap off the sweep as BIG EAST foe Villanova defeated the Blue and Gold, 10-3, in the second game of the tournament.
Duncan - who improved to 2-3 on the year after earning the win - allowed one unearned run while striking out a season-high nine Columbia batters. Meanwhile, freshman Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) extended her hitting streak to five straight games after posting an RBI single in fourth.
With the split, the Bucs moved their record to 4-9 on the year, while Columbia dropped its 2011 season opener. ETSU looks to improve on the mark on Saturday when the Blue and Gold face Arkansas (12:30 p.m.) and host South Florida (3 p.m.) in day two of the tournament.
The Bucs wasted little time getting on the board as ETSU took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as freshman outfielder Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) led off the inning with a triple to right and came in to score on Katie Henderson's (Jackson, Tenn.) RBI ground out to third.
Then, after keeping the Lions off the board during the next two innings, the Blue and Gold took advantage of some control issues by Prophet Gaspard in the third. Sophomore Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) began the bottom of the third inning with a walk and advanced to third on Mikayla Treadway's (Unicoi, Tenn.) double down the line in left. Gaspard looked to be working out the jam by recording two consecutive outs, but a wild pitch proved to be too costly as both Buccaneer runners came home to score on the play - putting ETSU up, 3-0.
Columbia threatened in the third and fourth innings, but after keeping runners stranded in scoring position, the Bucs attacked again as Wolff recorded her one-out RBI single in the fourth to push their lead to 4-0.
Unfortunately, a fielding error by Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at short with two outs in the seventh prolonged the inning for the Lions, and Columbia eventually wiped away the shutout attempt by Duncan. Following the miscue, Karen Tulig doubled home Jennifer Bergeron - cutting the deficit to 4-1. However, Duncan wasn't rattled as she got the next Columbia batter to hit into a game-ending pop out to third.
Gaspard suffered the loss after being charged with three runs (two earned) on two hits in three innings of work.
However, in the nightcap, Villanova outlasted the Bucs, 10-3. Stats are unavailable at this time, but please check back to ETSUBucs.com for a box score.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.