Friday, March 18, 2011
ETSU hands Blue Hose first two home losses of the season
CLINTON, S.C. (March 17, 2011) - After setting the tone with a 3-2 win in game one over Presbyterian, the Buccaneer softball team capped off the sweep as the Blue and Gold rallied for a wild 5-4 nine-inning victory in the nightcap from the PC Softball Complex.
The Bucs, who weren't fazed by playing in a pair of nail-biters, scored three runs in the first two innings of game one and received some strong defensive plays behind senior righty Jessica Duncan's (Ooltewah, Tenn.) complete game effort. In the nightcap, ETSU fell behind two runs early, but the Bucs never backed down as they scored three runs in the fourth and won the see-saw battle in extras as junior infielder Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) scored the game-winning run on a throwing error by catcher Jennifer Marshall in the top of the ninth.
With the win, ETSU pushed its winning streak to three straight games and the Bucs improved to 10-14 on the year. Presbyterian entered the day with a perfect 4-0 home record, but dropped to 11-4-1 after being handed the sweep.
In total, the Bucs registered 22 total hits in the doubleheader and posted a .349 (22-63) batting average. On the flip side, the Blue Hose were left feeling green on St. Patrick's Day as the Buccaneer pitching staff limited Presbyterian to only 12 hits in 58 plate appearance (.207). Overall, three ETSU players hit at least .500 on the day as Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) and Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) led the offensive explosion by both hitting .571. Joining the Buccaneer duo was Jackie Baird's (Ooltewah, Tenn.) 3-for-6 effort (.500).
Game One Recap
The Bucs scored one run in the first and added two more in the second, which proved to be enough offense for Jessica Duncan to work with in the circle as the Blue and Gold hung on for a 3-2 victory.
ETSU, who pounded out a school-record 21 hits in its last outing on Sunday, recorded ten hits in the game one victory as freshman Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) and senior Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) each tallied two hits apiece. Marlina Delisa posted two of ETSU's three RBIs on her single in the second.
Duncan improved her record to 5-6 on the season after allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out seven. Meanwhile, Leslie Hensley suffered the loss and saw her mark dip to 6-2 after issuing three runs in seven innings of work.
The Bucs used some small-ball tactics in the first inning to grab an early one-run lead. Fox led off the game with a short blooper to left and advanced to second on Delisa's sacrifice bunt. Then, after Henderson fisted a short single to left, Jackie Baird brought Fox home on a squeeze bunt to give the Blue and Gold a 1-0 advantage.
ETSU turned some clutch hitting into two more runs in the top of the second as Delisa's two-out, two-run scoring single to center capped off four consecutive singles for the Blue and Gold - putting the Bucs up, 3-0.
Duncan's pitching was enchanting the Blue Hose hitters through the first three innings as the righty took a no-hitter into the fourth, but Presbyterian struck for two runs on two hits to cut their deficit to, 3-2. Duncan forced the leadoff hitter to line out to center, but Taylor Staten broke up the no-hit bid with a double down the line in left - and after she stole third - Amanda Miller drove her in with a single to left-center, marking the first run of the game for the Blue Hose. Presbyterian didn't stop there as Hensley earned a walk and Codee Yeske reached on an error at third. Baird looked to have a routine fielder's choice at the corner, but instead of fielding the ball cleanly, Baird took her eye off the ball and it popped out of her glove - letting all the runners to advance a base. The Blue Hose scored their second run of the inning on a bases loaded walk, but Baird redeemed herself as she made the final out at third by snagging a grounder off the bat of Katie Anderson and beat Yeske - who was charging from second to third - for the force out.
After being held scoreless for the next three innings, ETSU looked to have something brewing in the fifth, but a questionable strike out call put a halt to any momentum the Blue and Gold were gaining. Sam Lower and Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) each recorded singles - but with Garner at the plate and two strikes on her - it appeared she fouled the pitch off her bat; however, the home plate umpire said the Buchanan, Ga. native missed the ball and was called out on strikes. Then, with the Bucs having runners on second and third, Sadè Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) hit a roller to second for the final out of the frame.
Presbyterian threatened in the sixth by having a runner at third and two outs, but Duncan worked out of the minor jam by striking out Morgan Durham to end the inning.
From there, Duncan and the Buccaneer defense made some solid plays in the field to hold on for the 3-2 victory. Johnson made a great play in left to make the second out of the inning, while Baird made an extravagant catch on a liner by Tera Powell for the final out of the game.
Game Two Recap
Despite falling behind early, the Bucs showed their comeback colors by plating three runs in the fourth, and after seeing the game tied twice in the late innings; Amy Campbell scored the game-winning run in the ninth as ETSU rallied past Presbyterian, 5-4.
Marlina Delisa and Sam Lower combined to go 6-for-10 at the plate, while junior hurler Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) came in to earn the win (4-3) after allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits while recording five punch outs in four innings of relief.
The Blue Hose stole a page out of ETSU's book to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. After Tera Powell led off the inning with a bunt single, she stole second and third, and scored when catcher Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) threw to third with no one covering to allow Powell to trot home. Freshman righty Katie Wolff recovered in the circle and received a pick-me-up by the Blue and Gold defense. Nicole Fox gunned a Presbyterian runner out at third from center for the second out of the inning and Jessica Duncan ended the inning with a running grab on a Codee Yeske liner to left.
Just as ETSU did in the bottom half of the first, Presbyterian flashed some leather to get out of the top of the second. Sam Lower led off the inning with a single to right and moved to second on a stolen base. However, Brittany Howell forced Amy Campbell to line out to first, while second baseman Morgan Durham jumped out of her cleats to rob Wolff of a hit and doubled off Lower to end the scoring threat.
Presbyterian added to its lead in the third when Amanda Miller's two-out, two-strike double to center scored Powell - making it a 2-0 ballgame.
However, ETSU grabbed the momentum in the fourth as Campbell and Hensley each drove in runs to give Bucs a 3-2 advantage. Campbell began the scoring spree when she singled home Jackie Baird from second, while Hensley came up with the bases loaded and plated a pair of runs with a double to right-center - marking ETSU's first lead of the contest.
Once again the Buccaneer defense stepped their game up in the bottom half of the inning as Durham put a charge into one, but Fox made a web gem by tracking down the ball on the warning track in right-center for the second out of the frame. Wolff got Krysten Handy out swinging to end the inning, keeping ETSU's one-run lead intact.
Presbyterian threatened in the bottom of the fifth, but Wolff got out of the dicey situation by forcing Leslie Hensley to fly out to left - on a full-count - with the bases loaded.
The Bucs were robbed of a two-run homer in the sixth as Campbell put a ride into one, but Lindsey Trombley reached over the fence in left to snag the ball for the out.
Morris entered in relief of Wolff after it appeared she injured her hand after her at-bat in the sixth; however, the Mt. Juliet, Tenn. native couldn't keep the win in line for her counterpart. Presbyterian tied the game at three on Rachel Hopper's two-out shallow single over Lower's head at short, scoring Durham from third.
Fortunately, the Bucs responded and Morris helped pick up the important road win for the Blue and Gold.
ETSU put runners on first and second in the seventh as Fox and Delisa each mustered two-out singles, but Katie Henderson popped out to first to end the inning.
From there, Morris worked a perfect 1-2-3 seventh inning, forcing the game to go into extras and putting the international tiebreaker rule into effect.
Henderson was placed at second to start the top of the eighth and she quickly moved to third on Baird's sac-bunt to lead off the inning. The move paid off as Lower came to the plate and poked a short single in front of Trombley in left - putting the Bucs up 4-3. However, Lower was doubled up at first when Campbell popped out to short.
Presbyterian then had its chance in the bottom half of the eighth as Amanda Miller was put on second - and just like the Bucs - pinch hitter Kaitlyn Sambito moved Miller over to third on a sac-bunt. The Bucs looked to have things in control when Morris struck Yeske out swinging for the second out, but Delisa dropped a routine fly in right to score Miller and tie things at four.
The game remained tied when ETSU came to bat in the ninth and the Bucs managed to score a run without a hit to take a 5-4 lead. Campbell was placed on second to start the inning and advanced to third on a stolen base. Then, after Sadè Johnson failed to bring Campbell home, the Chattanooga, Tenn. native sprinted down the line after Arielle Garner missed the squeeze play and catcher Jennifer Marshall airmailed Taylor Staten at third.
In the bottom of the ninth, Trombley was placed on second, and she moved over to third when Hensley threw the ball over the head of Morris after a pitch to the plate. Fortunately, the error didn't come back to haunt the Bucs, as Morris struck Marshall out swinging and Henderson made a spectacular grab on a liner off the bat of Katie Anderson at third to double up Trombley who broke home on contact.
Hensley suffered her second straight loss (6-3) after being charged with two unearned runs on two hits in 2.1 innings.
The Bucs will now enjoy an off weekend before hosting King College in a doubleheader on Monday evening. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Betty Basler Field.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.
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