Johnson City, Tenn. (Mar. 29, 2003) - East Tennessee State split its doubleheader with Southern Conference opponent UNC Greensboro Saturday. The Buccaneers (14-13, 2-3 SoCon) earned a 5-3 victory in game one; however, UNCG (22-7, 4-1 SoCon) bounced back in the nightcap by defeating ETSU 12-4 in six innings.
ETSU got on the scoreboard first in game one when Jessica Lonsinger (Dale City, Va.) scored on a fielder's choice, but the Spartans evened the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth inning on a solo homerun by junior Penny Thompson (Franklin, N.C.).
In the top of the sixth inning, UNCG took over its first lead of the game when Kim Benningfield (Levittown, Pa.) scored the go-ahead run on a RBI single by Joni Gomez (Hope Mills, N.C.) to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Spartans.
The Bucs were able to retaliate in the bottom half of the frame, but not without some help from their opponent. Lonsinger got things started by smacking a RBI single to centerfield to score sophomore Lindsay Lane (Erwin, Tenn.). Then, Mary Beth Hazelwood's (Knoxville, Tenn.) line drive got past UNCG's leftfielder, as Sheryl Clark (Bradenton, Fla.) and Katie Lewis (Erwin, Tenn.) came around to score. The costly two-run error proved to be the difference in the game.
ETSU junior Tiffany McVay (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.) earned the complete-game victory, improving to 7-4 on the mound for the Buccaneers this season. The loss was credited to Spartan freshman Melissa Johnson (Oak Park, Calif.). Miranda Byerly (Candler, N.C.) led ETSU at the plate, going 2-for-3, while Thompson was a perfect 2-for-2 for UNCG.
In game two, the Spartans didn't hesitate in their attempt to garner redemption. The visitors exploded for five runs in the first frame, thanks in large part to RBI doubles from Thompson, Moran, and sophomore catcher Christine Sweeney (West Palm Beach, Fla.). ETSU managed to cut the Spartan's lead in the bottom of the second inning, as Clark crossed home plate on a single by Rhea Holler (Peoria, Ariz.).
From there the two teams went back-and-forth in the slight drizzle, trading two runs each in the fourth inning. But UNCG extended its lead to 10-3 in the top half of the fifth highlighted by Hubbard's triple, which scored Jennifer Aguilar (San Jose, Calif.). The Spartans added two more runs in the top of the sixth to take a 12-3 advantage, until McVay's solo homerun with two outs in the bottom half of the frame made it the final score of 12-4.
Julia McChain (Dale City, Va.) was credited with the loss after lasting just 2/3 of an inning. Jennifer Fraser (Chattanooga, Tenn.) came in and pitched just over four innings of relief, allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs. Jolene Holthaus (Sidney, Ohio) finished the game on the mound for the Bucs, tallying a strikeout and a walk.
The Spartans relied on Johnson for the complete-game victory. Johnson allowed nine hits, three earned runs and struck out six. On offense, UNCG had six players who boasted a multi-hit game. As a team, the Spartans slugged out 14 hits in the contest, which was one shy of tying their season-high for hits in a game.
The two teams will wrap-up their weekend series on Sunday, Mar. 30 with one game beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Kiwanis Park in Johnson City.