JOHNSON CITY, TENN. (April 30, 2005) - An early deficit in game one and poor defensive play in the late innings of game two cost the East Tennessee State softball team Saturday at Metro Kiwanis Park, as the Lady Bucs dropped both games of a Southern Conference doubleheader to UNC Greensboro, 5-4 and 8-5.
With the losses, the Lady Bucs drop to 24-28 overall, 9-6 in SoCon play, while the Lady Spartans improve to 19-35, 6-11. The two teams will wrap up their three-game weekend series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
In game one of the doubleheader, the Lady Spartans wasted little time breaking through on the scoreboard against Lady Bucs' starting pitcher Courtney Jenkins (Knoxville, Tenn.), as an error by second baseman Mary Beth Hazelwood (Knoxville, Tenn.), a walk and two UNCG hits helped the Lady Spartans post an early 3-0 advantage.
ETSU responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second and the two teams traded single runs in the third frame to make it 4-3 midway through the contest. The Lady Bucs finally evened the score in the bottom of the fourth when an error by UNCG shortstop Alixis Villarin allowed ETSU's Stephanie Cope (Maryville, Tenn.) to reach first base. Cope advanced to third base on a single by Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) and later scored when Knight was caught stealing at second.
Both offenses remained quiet until the seventh, when the Lady Spartans scored what would ultimately be the winning run. Against relief pitcher Brittney Lehrschall (Leland, N.C.), leadoff hitter Jennifer Bonilla reached on a single and advanced to third on a ground out and a fly ball to right field. Lehrschall was relieved by Belinda Barrera (Fayetteville, N.C.), but UNCG's Adriane Audley promptly singled up the middle to score Bonilla.
The Lady Bucs got their first batter of the seventh inning on base put could not advance that runner past second. Lehrschall (2-3) took the loss on the mound, while Oakes (12-14) picked up the win. Oakes went the distance, working seven innings and giving up four runs on eight hits.
Offensively, Bonilla and Audley led the way for UNCG with three hits apiece and combined for all five Lady Spartan RBIs. For the Bucs, Knight was 3-for-3 with an RBI.
In game two, the Lady Bucs were the team with an early offensive spurt in the bottom of the first inning. Thanks to four hits, a pair of wild pitches, two stolen bases and a walk, ETSU took a quick 4-0 lead off Lady Spartans' starter Lynsi Pierce.
UNCG managed to answer with one run in the top of the third off Barrera, who started the second game for the Lady Bucs. However, ETSU pushed their lead back to four with a single run in the bottom of the fourth when Pierce struggled with her control, allowing three walks and hitting Knight with a pitch.
Greensboro tied the game by scoring two runs on three hits in both the top of the fifth and sixth innings. In fact, UNCG had chance to take the lead in the top of the seventh, but with runners on first and second, Knight fielded a single off the bat of Pierce and threw out Audley at the plate to keep the game tied.
However, the Lady Bucs solid defensively play turned bad in the top of the eighth, as a pair of errors opened the door and the Lady Spartans responded, as a two-run double by Villarin highlighting a three-run inning.
Lehrschall (2-4) suffered her second loss of the day, while Pierce improved to 6-9 on the year, pitching all eight innings and giving up just five runs, despite walking four and hitting two ETSU batters. Offensively, Krista Judge, Gwen Johnson, Bonilla and Pierce each had two hits to lead UNCG, while the Lady Bucs did not have a player with more than one hit in game two.