JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 27, 2012) – After having an 11-day lay-off, the ETSU softball team returns to action when the Bucs continue their eight-game home stand by hosting Western Carolina in non-conference play on Wednesday evening. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 4 p.m. from Betty Basler Field.
ETSU (8-16) is coming off a split over Presbyterian back on March 17 where both teams secured a 5-4 win in the series. Freshman outfielder Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) extended her hitting streak to eight straight games and provided the game-winning single in the nightcap. Everett, who tied the program record with an 11-game hitting streak to start the season, has reached base safely in 21 of her 23 games played in 2012. Along with Everett, junior outfielder Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) also carries a hitting streak into Wednesday’s doubleheader as she has hit in six straight games, while fellow junior Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) has reached base safely in seven consecutive contests.
In addition to those three, red-shirt freshman first baseman Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) has continued to power her way past the opposition. Horner ranks 34th in the country in batting average (.431) and home runs per game (.30), and has already surpassed last season’s home run leader with seven long balls on the year in 2012. The Whitesburg, Tenn. native also ranks second in the A-Sun in batting average and on-base percentage (.512), third in slugging percentage (.819), and is tied for ninth in hits (31) and RBIs (21).
As a team, the Blue and Gold have recorded at least eight hits in eight of their last 11 games and are hitting .307 with 13 doubles, two triples, seven home runs, and 64 runs scored over this stretch. Overall, ETSU ranks second in the Atlantic Sun with its .287 batting average, while the Bucs are also the third toughest team to strikeout in the conference.
Meanwhile, as the Bucs enjoyed a long lay-off between games, Western Carolina (11-19) is coming off a weekend series versus College of Charleston where the Catamounts dropped two of three to the Cougars.
The Catamounts have three players batting over .300 as senior outfielder Erin Foster leads the charge with a .347 clip. Of Foster’s 33 hits on the year, 18 have gone for extra bases as she has ripped six doubles, three triples, and nine home runs. Foster’s nine round-trippers put her in a tie for 25th nationally and she also ranks 45th in RBIs per game (1.0) and slugging percentage (.758). In the circle, freshman right-hander Jordan Garrett leads the team with five wins and has tossed one shutout, while junior righty Amber Steinhardt has picked up three saves for Western Carolina.
The Bucs lead the all-time series, 9-3, but the Catamounts snapped ETSU’s six-game winning streak after handing the Blue and Gold a pair of losses to begin the season at the Georgia State First Pitch Classic back in early February. However, the Bucs are 6-0 lifetime against Western Carolina in Johnson City, while a handful of ETSU hitters have enjoyed playing the Catamounts over the past few seasons. Senior outfielder Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) is hitting .647 (11-17) with a triple, home run, three RBI, and seven run scored in six career games, while junior infielder Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) is 7-for-15 with two home runs, five RBI and five runs scored in four career games. In addition to the veteran hitters, a pair of freshman also feasted on the Catamount pitching back in February as Haley Thompson (Nicholson, Ga.) and Everett combined to go 9-for-15 (.600) with four RBI and three runs scored in the two games earlier this year.
Fans unable to make the trip to Johnson City can watch all the action live on A-Sun.TV, while live stats will also be offered via Gametracker. Live updates will also be tweeted @ETSUAthletics and @ETSUSoftball throughout the games.
Wednesday’s game promotion is “Can the Catamounts,” so fans are asked to bring a canned food item to donate at the gate.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.