JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 29, 2013) – North Florida overcame a late ETSU softball lead with five runs in the sixth inning of game one and followed that up with a 10-run offensive outburst in game two, defeating the Buccaneers by scores of 5-1 and 10-0 in five innings on Friday from the UNF Softball Complex.
ETSU (8-20, 0-10 A-Sun) took the day’s first lead in the third inning of the opener as Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) doubled to the left-centerfield gap to bring around Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.). The lead held up until the sixth when UNF (26-10, 5-3 A-Sun) plated five, capped by Kelly Wilson’s three-run shot to left. All five runs were charged to Wolff who took the loss (3-10) after pitching five shutout innings to start the game.
Game two was all Ospreys. Up 3-0 after three innings, UNF blew the game open in the fourth with seven runs. Brittany Hendrix had the big hit, tripling to left center with the bases loaded to plate the final three runs and bring the mercy rule into play. Freshman Sam Harrell (Okeechobee, Fla.) took the loss (4-8) and was only charged with three earned runs.
Sophomore Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) had a good day at the plate, combining to go 3-for-5. Fox and senior Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) each had a pair of hits in the opener, while freshman Bethany Cowart (Ringgold, Ga.) was the lone Buccaneer to earn a hit in each game. ETSU’s lack of timely hitting is what wound up costing it a win, leaving 11 on base in the opener and the bases loaded without plating a run once in each game.
Wolff held UNF down for the first five innings of game one and ETSU grabbed its pitcher the lead on Baird’s double in the third. The Bucs were unable to add any insurance and left runners on second and third in both the fourth and fifth innings. In the top of the sixth, ETSU left the bases loaded.
UNF did its damage in the sixth. A single and a sacrifice put the tying run on second, but Wolff got Rachel Engel down swinging and was an out from getting out of the inning. A passed ball moved the tying run to third and a bloop single tied the game. The next batter was hit by a pitch and a single put the Ospreys on top. Wilson gave UNF a four-run cushion with her first homer of the season.
UNF took the momentum into game two, scoring two in the first with the help of a Buccaneer error to take an early lead. Mariah Reynolds homered in the third to increase the advantage, 3-0.
ETSU had a great scoring chance in the fourth but was unable to capitalize. With one out, Everett singled, Lower reached being hit by a pitch and sophomore Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) singled to load the bases. Cowart and freshman Sam Carpenter (Forest City, N.C.) both went down swinging to end the threat.
Seven runs came across in the bottom half. UNF played small ball and got runners on base with some singles and a few ETSU errors helped bring them home. With a seven-run lead, the Ospreys had the bases loaded and Hendrix tripled to put the home side up 10. Sophomore Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) came on to get the final out of the inning.
The ETSU softball team will try and take a game in the series finale, scheduled to begin Saturday at 1 p.m.
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