Lady Bucs softball nabs season opener over Furman, 7-6, falls in night cap, 8-2
Lady Bucs softball nabs season opener over Furman, 7-6, falls in night cap, 8-2
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (February 15, 2006) - The ETSU softball team opened its season with a 7-6 decision over Furman, Wednesday afternoon at Metro-Kiwanis Park.  The Lady Bucs used a sixth-run second inning to secure the game one win, while the victory was also highlighted by a lead-off homerun by Stephanie Gaynord (Manassas, Va.) in the bottom of the first.  The Paladins rebounded in the afternoon's second game, however, topping the Lady Bucs, 8-2. 

Down 4-1 going in the bottom of the second in game one, ETSU began its six-run rally with a single to shortstop by Jessica Lonsinger (Dale City, Va.), who was replaced on the base paths by pinch runner Kate Powell (Johnson City, Tenn.).  Freshman Cat Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) reached base after being hit by a pitch, followed by Gaynord, who drew a one-out walk to load the bases. 


Sophomore Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) then slapped a single to right, scoring Powell and Zyskowski, and advancing to second on the throw home.  Senior Janine Sprague (Hillsborough, N.C.) picked up where she left off last year, slamming a triple to left to plate Gaynord and Knight.  Sprague would score on her own, after the throw from the Furman outfield rolled out of play.


Freshman Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) found a gap in right field to earn her first hit in a Lady Bucs uniform, while Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) also reached after being hit by a pitch.  The pair would advance on a passed ball, before rookie Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) hit into a fielder's choice, scoring Hackworth.  When the smoke cleared, the Lady Bucs were up, 7-4, heading into the third.


Furman threatened in the top of the sixth, capitalizing on a two-out error by Vercoe which lead to a bases loaded walk by ETSU hurler Brittney Lehrschall (Leland, N.C.).  The Paladins picked up a second run on the inning when Abby Robertson hit a single to third, scoring teammate Stephanie Cushing. 


The Lady Bucs would hold off the Furman rally, tallying their first win of the season.  Lehrschall earned win for ETSU, while teammate Courtney Jenkins (Knoxville, Tenn.) picked up the save in her first appearace.  Knight led the way at the plate, posting a 2-for-3 performance, along with a pair of RBIs. 


The Paladins returned the favor in game two, beginning a two-run homerun by Megan Jaudon in the top of the first.  Up 3-1 in the penultimate inning, Robertson led off with a single to center, followed by a bunt single by Danielle Franklin.  Blake Murray would then reach on a fielder's choice, which led to a bad throw by Vercoe, who was on the mound in game two, allowing Robertson to score the frame's first run.


A Jess Mathis double would net two more runs for the Paladins, who continued to extend their lead, scoring again on the double steal that plated Mathis.  Amber Kiser would score the final run of the inning to make the score 8-1.


ETSU collected four hits in the bottom of the sixth, but could only manage one run, falling to 1-1 on the season.  The Paladins picked up their first win the battle, improving to 1-3 for the year.


Knight once again paced the Lady Bucs with a pair of hits, while Lehrschall also added two base knocks.  Vercoe picked up the loss in six innings of work, while Mathis earned the win for the Paladins.  Furman out-hit ETSU 13-8 for the second game, and committed just a single error to ETSU's three.


ETSU hits the early-season tournament trail this weekend, at the Bulldog Classic, hosted by Mississippi State, in Starkville, Miss.  The Lady Bucs draw Tennessee State on Feb. 17,  in their first of six games on the weekend.  The interstate tilt is set to begin at 12 p.m. CST.