JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 13, 2012) – Jacksonville used a seven-run third courtesy of home runs by Karson Tuck and Sarah Simon to secure a 9-1 (five inning) win in game one, while senior right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) was outdueled by Brittany Eppley in the circle, lifting the Dolphins to a 5-1 victory in game two on Saturday at the JU Softball Complex.
After dropping all four games in the River City this weekend, the Bucs fell to 10-27, 0-10, while Jacksonville – the reigning Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament champion – improved to 26-19, 7-5.
The Bucs wrap up their 10-game road swing on Wednesday afternoon when ETSU travels to Greenville, S.C. to face Furman in a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
Game One Recap
Jacksonville broke a 1-all tie by plating seven runs in the bottom of the third to put the Dolphins up for good as the JU softball team went on to defeat the Bucs, 9-1, in five innings.
Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) led the Buccaneer offense as she went 2-for-3 with an RBI double, while Haley Thompson (Nicholson, Ga.) reached base twice (one hit and hit by pitch) and scored the lone ETSU run.
Sophomore Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) had to deal with a tight strike zone in the circle and suffered the loss (4-14) after allowing four runs on four hits in two innings. Jacksonville’s Sarah Sigrest earned the win (15-9) after issuing one run on four hits in three innings, while Brittany Eppley tossed two scoreless innings in relief.
ETSU put runners on in each of the five innings, but only mustered enough offense to plate the tying run in the third, before the Dolphins exploded with three doubles and two home runs in the third-inning slugfest.
The Bucs put the leadoff runner on in the first when Hartnett singled to left and moved to second on Alex Everett’s (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) sac-but, but the junior outfielder was stranded at second as Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) and Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) popped out to end the inning.
Jacksonville put two runners on without a hit in the bottom of the inning when the Dolphins’ leadoff hitter walked and Amanda Schmidt reached first via a one-out hit by pitch. However, Wolff left the runners stranded by forcing Ashley Simon to line out to short and Karson Tuck to pop out to third.
Just like the first inning, the Bucs left a runner stranded in the second, and Jacksonville led off the bottom of the frame with a walk to Jacey Warner and she stole second to move into scoring position. Warner eventually scored the first run of the game after Sarah Simon worked an 11-pitch at-bat to double to right; however, Wolff left Simon standing on second after posting back-to-back strikeouts and inducing Kayla Ouellet to hit into an inning-ending grounder to first – keeping it a 1-0 ballgame.
ETSU quickly evened the game at one in the top of the third when Thompson led off with a bloop single to shallow right-center and sped her way home when Hartnett found the gap in left-center for an RBI double; however, she was stranded at second. Horner just missed giving the Bucs a two-run lead when she sent a shot out of the park but the ball hooked foul down the line in left – and again – missed a homer when she flew out to the warning track in deep center to end the inning.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins broke the game open with the 7-run third to take a commanding 8-1 lead. Tuck began the scoring barrage when she belted a three-run homer for her second round-tripper of the season, resulting in a pitching change for ETSU as Wolff’s day came to a close and freshman righty Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) entered in relief. The ball wasn’t done leaving the yard as Leon walked the first batter she faced and served up a two-run blast to Simon, extending the Dolphin lead to five runs. From there, Jacksonville picked up an RBI double by Codi Kelly, and she later scored when Ouellet laid down a bunt single and the Buccaneer defense fell asleep, which led to Kelly scoring from second on the play.
Jacksonville ended the game in the fifth when Kelly’s two-out bloop single to right fell right in front of Everett, allowing pinch runner Jackie DiPiazza to score the run from second.
Game Two Recap
The Dolphins broke up a 1-all game by plating solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings, while a two-run sixth put the exclamation point on the sweep, as Jacksonville defeated ETSU, 5-1, in the nightcap of an Atlantic Sun doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.
Jacksonville’s Brittany Eppley surrendered only one run on seven hits while striking out six to earn the win (8-7), whereas, senior righty Shelby Morris kept the Bucs in it but suffered the loss (2-10). Morris was charged with all five runs and allowed 12 hits in six innings of action.
Alex Everett and Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) fueled the Bucs offensively as they both tallied multi-hit games, while Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) drove in ETSU’s lone run with a double in the second inning. Everett went 2-for-4 and Martin finished with two hits and a run scored.
Jacksonville struck first as they took advantage of leadoff walk to Codi Kelly and she trotted home on Ashley Simon’s sacrifice fly to left – putting the Dolphins ahead, 1-0, after one inning of play.
The Bucs pulled even at one in the top of the second when Lower’s one-out RBI double down the line in left scored Martin all the way from first.
However, Eppley shut down the Blue and Gold from there and kept ETSU scoreless for the final five innings of play.
Both teams were held scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when Jacksonville plated the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice RBI by Ronnie Gajownik to make it a 2-1 game.
The Dolphins tacked on an insurance run in the fifth when Meagan Balding’s two-out RBI single up the middle plated Ashley Simon from second to give Jacksonville a two-run cushion, 3-1.
ETSU threatened in both the fifth and sixth innings but left a total of five runners stranded in the two innings – including the bases loaded in the sixth. Martin began a two-out spurt with a single to right-center – and following a walk to Lower and a single by Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) – the Blue and Gold had the game-tying run standing on second. Unfortunately, freshman Mariam Wood (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) sent a towering fly ball to the warning track in left for the final out of the inning.
Once again Jacksonville’s clutch two-out hitting came alive in the sixth when Ashley Simon and Amanda Schmidt drove in runs to push the Dolphin advantage to four, 5-1.
From there, Eppley retired three of the four hitters she faced in the seventh to earn Jacksonville its first A-Sun sweep of the season.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.