ETSU scores four unanswered runs to rally past Hatters in game one; Second consecutive comeback falls short in nightcap
DeLAND, Fla. (April 7, 2011) - Senior righty Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) gave the Bucs a solid outing in the circle and sophomore outfielder Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) capped off the ETSU rally when her sac-fly RBI in the seventh scored the eventual game-winning run, lifting the Blue and Gold past Stetson, 4-3, in game one of the A-Sun doubleheader on Thursday afternoon from Patricia Wilson Field. The Bucs tried to pull off another comeback win in the nightcap, but ETSU fell one-run short as the Hatters hung on for a 6-5 victory.
Duncan bounced back from a rough outing in her last start to improve to 7-9 after allowing three runs on five hits in the complete game effort, while the last two RBIs by Hartnett have been game-winners for the Bucs. Prior to today, Hartnett's last RBI scored the game-winning run in ETSU's 5-4 win over King back on March 21 in Johnson City.
With the split, the Bucs saw their record move to 14-22, 3-7 in conference play, while Stetson now sits at 16-21, 2-6.
Game One Recap
Despite falling behind by three runs in the first two innings, the ETSU softball team managed to score four unanswered runs to mount a wild, 4-3, comeback win past Stetson in game one of the Atlantic Sun doubleheader from Patricia Wilson Field.
The Bucs' never-give-up attitude showed again on a sunny Thursday afternoon in Florida, as ETSU capitalized on two costly seventh-inning errors by Stetson to register the win.
ETSU slowly mounted its comeback as they scored a run in the fourth and another in the fifth, and despite trailing by a run in the seventh, the Bucs' never-let-down mentality paid off in the final inning. Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) reached on an error to lead off the seventh as she hustled down the first base line and was called safe after her feet-first slide helped knock the ball loose by Carolyn Boyd. Following the play, Baird advanced to second on Sam Lower's (Sebring, Fla.) sac-bunt and the Ooltewah, Tenn. native moved to third when Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) singled to left. Then, with runners on the corners and only one out, Arielle Garner (Buchanan, Ga.) laid down the squeeze bunt, but after pitcher Meredith Owen committed the throwing error to first, Baird scored the tying run - putting runners on first and third. From there, Sadè Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) worked a walk to load the bases, giving Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) the chance to play hero. Hartnett came through when her sacrifice fly RBI brought home pinch runner Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) from third, making it a 4-3 contest.
Duncan worked a 1-2-3 seventh to snap ETSU's four-game losing skid, giving the Bucs their third straight win over the Hatters.
Early on in the game the Bucs fell behind and Owen received a two-run cushion after Jill Semento belted a one-out, two-run shot over the fence in left-center, giving the Hatters a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
The Bucs had a number of scoring chances early on in the contest, but left seven runners stranded through the first four innings.
In the top of the second, Lower and Wolff led off the second inning with consecutive singles and moved into scoring position on Garner's sacrifice bunt. Unfortunately, Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) struck out swinging and Hartnett flew out to left leaving the Buccaneer runners stranded at second and third.
After the Blue and Gold failed to manufacture runs in the top half of the second, the Hatters added to their lead in the bottom of the frame when Chelsey Trotto's sac-fly RBI made it a 3-0 contest.
From there, Duncan kept the Bucs in the contest by limiting the Hatters to only one hit and the Blue and Gold offense rewarded the senior with the victory.
Once again, the Bucs had a scoring chance in the third, but Owen continued to work out of jams. Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) led off the inning with a single through the right side and moved to second on a wild pitch. Then, with Fox on second, Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) reached when the Hatters' shortstop tried to get the lead runner out; however, both Henderson and Fox were called safe. With the Bucs standing on first and second, Owen forced Baird to line out to center, while striking Lower out swinging to keep Stetson's three-run advantage intact.
Finally after not driving in any runs in the first three innings, the Bucs pushed runs across the dish in the fourth and fifth innings, making it a one-run deficit (3-2).
With two outs and runners on first and second in the fourth, Fox hit a hard shot to the circle - and after Owen couldn't make a play at first - Hartnett was caught in a pickle at second, but it left enough time for Wolff to score from third, making it a 3-1 ballgame.
A fielding error by shortstop (Chelsey) Trotto in the fifth caused another unearned run come across the dish for the Bucs. Baird roped a one-out double to the fence in right-center and trotted over to third on the error by Trotto on the next play. With runners on the corners, Wolff drove in ETSU's second run of the game when her ground out to second plated Baird.
In the sixth, Hensley led off the frame with a single, which led to Johnson entering as a pinch runner. With Johnson moving to second on a bunt, she tried to score the game-tying run on Henderson's single to left, but the freshman outfielder was gunned down at the plate by Brittany Knipp in left for the final out of the inning.
Fortunately, the Bucs took advantage of their second-chance in the seventh as ETSU capped off the rally by scoring the pair of runs for the 4-3 final.
Fox, Henderson and Wolff each had two hits apiece, while Baird tallied the Bucs' lone extra-base hit with her double in the fifth.
Game Two Recap
With a second straight comeback looming in their minds, the Bucs pulled to within a run of the Hatters by plating three in the seventh, but with two outs and the game-tying run on third, Stetson pulled out the final out to hold on for a 6-5 victory in the nightcap.
Stetson jumped out to an early six-run lead courtesy of three home runs - including two from Rachel Lowe - as she belted a two-run blast in the first and added a solo homer in the second. Sandwiched between Lowe's two dingers was Jill Semento's three-run round-tripper, which resulted in the Hatters taking a 6-0 advantage through two innings of play.
ETSU finally cracked the board in the third when Amy Campbell and Katie Henderson each posted two-out RBI singles to make it a 6-2 contest.
Freshman right-hander Katie Wolff entered in relief after starter Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) surrendered all six runs through 1.2 innings of work. Wolff was tremendous in the circle as she tossed 4.1 innings of scoreless ball and was almost in line for picking up a win after ETSU scored the three seventh-inning runs.
The Bucs quickly loaded the bases to start the seventh and Henderson drove in the first run of the inning on a fielder's choice RBI. After Baird struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, ETSU continued to get clutch RBI singles from Lower and Wolff - making it a 6-5 affair while putting runners on the corners for Garner. Garner - who fell behind with two strikes - put a good lick on the ball; however, with Chelsea Whalley charging in from right, she was able to corral the ball for the final out of the game.
Czarnecki earned the win (9-6) after allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits in six innings of play, while Courtney Gunby picked up the save (2) after issuing the one unearned run on two hits in one inning of relief. Morris was given the loss (6-8) as she was charged with all six runs on five hits.
The Bucs will now have a day off before wrapping up the Florida swing against Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday afternoon. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 2 p.m. at the FGCU Softball Complex.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.