ETSU scores 10 total runs in wins over Oakland and Siena
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 22, 2014) – Behind a powerful offensive attack, the ETSU softball team went unbeaten Saturday in Day One of the Buccaneer Challenge presented by Holiday Inn, picking up wins over Oakland and Siena.
Playing at home for the first time this season, the Buccaneers (5-5) won both games of their afternoon double-header, beating Oakland, 4-3, and Siena, 6-1.
"It is very good to get two wins," ETSU head coach Brad Irwin said. "Something we've talked about has been trying to put together 14 solid innings. The girls enjoy being at home, and it turned out to be a great home opener today."
Seniors Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) and Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) combined to drive in all four of ETSU’s run in the Bucs' 4-3, home-opening win over Oakland.
A two-out home run by Baird in the 2nd inning gave the Bucs an early 2-0 lead. Two innings later, Wolff drove home two runs by blasting a double to left field.
Baird, who leads ETSU with six home runs on the year, has belted a homer in five of the Bucs’ last seven contests. Meanwhile, Wolff raised her batting average to .407, going 3-for-7 on the day, matching freshman Kelsey Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.) for the team high in the category.
“Jackie [Baird] and Katie [Wolff] were big at the plate in that game,” Irwin said. “We didn’t hit the ball consistently throughout the game the way we would like to, but we had two clutch hits.”
Leading 4-0 after three innings, the Bucs struggled to put the game away, allowing the Golden Grizzlies (1-6) eight of their 11 hits in the final four innings.
Oakland led off the sixth inning with a pair of bunt singles before Shannon Cleveland plated a run with a single to the pitcher. With two outs, a fielding error by Chernak allowed the Golden Grizzlies to extend the inning and tack on a pair of unearned runs to cut their deficit to one run.
Despite being outhit, 11-5, by Oakland, the Bucs were able hold off the late Oakland rally to clinch the 4-3 victory, with freshman pitcher Taylor Carter (Brazil, Ind.) picking up her third win of the season.
Carter allowed just one earned run in the outing, completing her second complete game of the season. In seven appearances, the Brazil, Ind., native has recorded 19 strikeouts while allowing just two walks.
Unlike in its performance against the Oakland, the ETSU offense had no problem getting on base in its convincing 6-1 victory over Siena in the Bucs’ second game of the day.
The Bucs outhit the Saints (1-1) 12-9, including a pair of three-hit games by Wolff and junior Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.).
“It was good to come back from the first game and string hits together like that in the second,” Irwin said. “I felt like we did that all game long. I am proud of the run output. We’ve been pretty good this season at putting some runs on the board.”
Carrying a 6-0 lead into the sixth inning, ETSU again struggled to close the door, allowing the Saints to load the bases. However, Wolff was able to get out of the jam, forcing Stephanie Viggiano to fly out to end the inning, stranding three Siena runners on base.
Matching Carter’s performance earlier in the day, Wolff notched a complete-game win, striking out two while allowing just a single walk.
The Bucs will look to continue their solid play as they wrap up the two-day Buccaneer Challenge presented by Holiday Inn Sunday, Feb. 23 with games against Siena and Oakland, respectively.
Day Two of the tournament will be as follows:
Sunday, Feb. 23
Game Four: Oakland vs. Siena – 10:00 a.m. – LIVE STATS
Game Five: Siena vs. ETSU – 12:00 p.m. – LIVE STATS
Game Six: Oakland vs. ETSU – 2:00 p.m. – LIVE STATS
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