JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 9, 2011) - After playing its first 16 games away from Johnson City, the ETSU softball team finally returns home for the first time in 2011 as the Blue and Gold host the inaugural Buccaneer Challenge this weekend at Betty Basler Field.
The Bucs (4-12) will play six games on their home field this weekend, beginning Friday afternoon against North Carolina A&T at 2 p.m. Following its game with the Aggies, ETSU will face South Carolina State at 4:15 p.m. On Saturday, the Blue and Gold take on Pittsburgh (2 p.m.) and St. Bonaventure (4:15 p.m.); while wrapping up the tournament with Pittsburgh (12:15 p.m.) and North Carolina A&T (2:30 p.m.) Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore infielder Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) brings a four-game hitting streak into the weekend, while senior right-hander Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) looks to build off her solid efforts she posted last weekend in Clearwater, Fla. Lower is hitting .500 during this four-game stretch and Duncan recorded a 1.40 ERA (4ER/20.0IP) with 15 strikeouts last weekend at the USF Under Armour Invitational. Meanwhile, junior Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) has tallied at least one hit in eight of her last nine games, and senior Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) has reached base safely in 13 of her first 16 games to start the year.
The tournament kicks off Friday morning when Pittsburgh and South Carolina State begin play at 9:30 a.m. Click here for a tournament schedule, live stats, and results of each game.
Below is a breakdown of each opponent.
North Carolina A&T
The Aggies, who are currently 3-7 on the year, play a mid-week series at UNC Wilmington Wednesday afternoon. North Carolina A&T has picked up wins over Savannah State, Western Carolina and Rider, while Detavia Kenan leads the team in hits (8), triples (2) and RBI (6).
The Panthers bring a record of 8-5 into Johnson City after Pittsburgh defeated Hofstra, 3-1, last weekend at the LSU Purple and Gold Challenge in Baton Rouge, La. Senior Ashley Amistade was named to the all-tournament team after hitting a team-high .444 while posting a .500 on-base percentage. Overall, Amistade leads the Panthers in hitting (.364) and freshman Karlyn Jones leads a strong pitching staff with her 5-1 record. As a staff, Pittsburgh has registered an ERA of 1.74 with four shutouts.
St. Bonaventure dropped all four of its games in the Bonnies season opener last weekend in Hawaii. Freshman outfielder Lindsay Stowell hit .429 with a home run and two RBI in two games, while Jessenia Andujar hit .400 at the Bank of Hawaii Invitational.
South Carolina State
Prior to arriving in Johnson City, South Carolina State will be searching for its first win of the season (0-18) when the Bulldogs host Youngstown State Thursday afternoon in Orangeburg. Junior Raven Johnson is hitting a team-leading .375 on the season, while Sonya Giles has seven hits in her first 22 at-bats (.318).
Fans unable to make the trip to Johnson City can follow every game online via Gametracker. To access live stats, visit ETSUBucs.com.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.