Senior catcher breaks single-season HR record, ties career record
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 30, 2014) – Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) continued her spectacular senior campaign Sunday, March 30, slugging her 12th homer of the year, breaking ETSU’s single-season home run record, and helping lead the Bucs to a series sweep of Northern Kentucky.
The Norse (3-26, 1-11) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in Game One of Sunday’s double-header, but Baird erased the Bucs’ (14-15, 4-8) deficit with a single swing of the bat, belting a two-run homer to left center field in the bottom of the fourth to drive in fellow senior Katie Wolff (La Grange, Texas).
With the long ball, Baird set a new ETSU record for single-season homers (12), surpassing the previous record set by Stephanie Gaynord in 2006.
Baird is now tied with Gaynord (2004-07) as ETSU’s all-time home run leader with 25 career long balls. The Ooltewah, Tenn., native entered the weekend ranking second in the nation for home runs per game (0.42).
ETSU’s offense carried that momentum into the next frame, adding three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Sophomore Jennine Duncan (Jonesborough, Tenn.) led off the ETSU fifth with a triple down the left field line. After a single and stolen base by Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.), freshman Kelsey Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.) drove a two-RBI double to right center to give the Bucs a 4-2 advantage.
Fox finished the day going a combined 4-for-7 at the plate and swiping two bases. The Peachtree City, Ga., native has stolen a team-high 13 bases this season on 15 attempts.
Following an NKU pitching change, Wolff continued the Bucs’ torrid start to the inning, belting a double to left center to drive home Chernak and extend ETSU’s lead to 5-2.
One day after hitting a three-run, game-winning home run, freshman Taylor Carter (Brazil, Ind.) tossed her ninth complete game of the season, allowing just two earned runs over seven innings of work while striking out three and walking none.
The Bucs capitalized on solid pitching in Game Two of the day’s double-header, as well, earning a 2-1 win behind a combined four-hit effort by Leon and Wolff.
In five innings of work, Leon struck out four batters while allowing no earned runs. Wolff picked up the win, pitching two innings of no-hit softball, striking out two batters.
ETSU entered the seventh inning of the series finale knotted at 1-1.
With one out in the final frame of regulation, freshman Mykeah Johnson (Cohutta, Ga.) belted a walk-off solo home run to give the Bucs the 2-1 victory and the series sweep. The homer was Johnson’s first career long ball.
The Bucs will look to continue their winning ways when they visit Eastern Kentucky for a double-header Tuesday, April 1 with games beginning at 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.
Reminder: ETSU’s double-header versus Presbyterian in Johnson City, originally scheduled for Wednesday, April 2, has been moved to Thursday, April 3. Game times will remain the same (4:00 and 6:00 p.m.).
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