CLEARWATER, Fla. (March 9, 2012) – Taking a five-run lead into the seventh inning, the ETSU softball team saw its margin dwindle to one, but senior righty Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) came in to pick up the two-out save as the Bucs held on to defeat Canisius, 6-5, on Friday night at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.
Freshman right-hander Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) gave the Bucs everything she could as she earned the win to improve her record to 3-1. Despite allowing five runs on five hits in 6.1 innings of work, Leon limited the Golden Griffins to one run on two hits in the first six innings of action. Meanwhile, Morris secured the win for her teammate by allowing one hit in two-thirds of an inning to collect her second save of the year.
The Bucs – who out-hit Canisus 9-6 – saw Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.), Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), and Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) all record two-hit games, while Hartnett and Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) drove in four of the six runs for the Blue and Gold. Horner has now reached base safely for ETSU in seven consecutive games and posted her team-leading ninth multi-hit game of the season.
With the win, ETSU earned the split on Friday and moved its mark to 6-13, while Canisius dropped to 2-8 on the year.
Just like in the first game on Friday, the Bucs fell behind early as Canisius got clutch two-out hitting by starting pitcher Jen Consaul when her single to right scored Katie Medina from second, putting the Golden Griffins ahead, 1-0, in the second inning.
However, Leon and the Buccaneer defense stepped up their game en route to providing an important bounce back win in the nightcap.
With Leon holding Canisius to the one run, the Buccaneer offense finally rewarded the freshman with five of runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth to put the Blue and Gold up, 5-1. Horner and Everett each ripped a pair of singles to right to start the inning – and after Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) executed a sac-bunt to perfection – Harnett came through with the two-run scoring single up the middle, giving ETSU a one-run lead. From there, Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) – who reached on a fielder’s choice – scored the third run of the frame when shortstop Katie Lancellotti’s throw on Jackie Baird’s (Ooltewah, Tenn.) grounder was offline, while Lower came through with a clutch two-out two-RBI double to shallow right-center, giving Leon and the Bucs a four-run cushion.
Canisius threatened in the fifth but Baird robbed Lauren Falzone of extra bases after snagging a liner at third, while Leon forced Lancellotti to leave the bases loaded by getting her to fly out to left to end the inning.
After holding the Golden Griffins without a run in the fifth, the Bucs added what ended up being the game-winning run when pinch runner Sade Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) scored on a passed ball to make it a 6-1 game.
Canisius wouldn’t go down without a fight, but the Bucs wanted revenge after suffering a four-run setback to the Golden Griffins last year in Charleston, S.C. The Golden Griffins began the inning with a leadoff single by Erica Afanador, but Harnett’s spectacular grab in left gave the Blue and Gold the first out of the inning. Following the web gem, Afanador stole second and scored on an RBI single by Falzone. Canisius got some luck on the next play as Val Nappo hit a chopper right back to Leon – and just when it looked like the Bucs turned two to end the game – the umpire called Falzone safe at second and Nappo safe at first. Then, after that call, the Golden Griffins ended up loading the bases via a walk and scored two runs on Robin Kennery’s single to right, which forced ETSU to make the pitching change. With one out and runners on second and third, Morris forced the first hitter she faced to tap one back to the circle, while Sonia Aguilar’s single through the left side brought Canisius within a run and moved the game-tying runner over to third. Fortunately, the Bucs held on, as Morris induced Lauryn Chris to tap into a game-ending grounder to the circle, giving the Blue and Gold the one-run victory.
Consaul suffered the loss (0-2) after surrendering five runs (two earned) on six hits in four innings of work.
ETSU resumes play on Saturday when the Bucs face Temple (11:30 a.m.) and Wagner (2 p.m.) from the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.