ETSU softball blasts Belmont, 10-2 and 13-3
Friday, April 6, 2007

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 6, 2007) - Despite the cold temperatures at Metro-Kiwanis Park, the Buccaneer bats were on fire Friday afternoon as they combined for 23 runs on 22 hits, including seven home runs en route to a key series sweep over conference foe Belmont. The Bucs belted a school record five home runs in a 10-2 rout over Belmont in game one, and then bounced the Bruins, 13-3, in game two.


With temperatures in the high-30's/low-40's, the Bucs did not let the weather affect their play as they improved to 18-20, 5-3 in the A-Sun with the sweep. Belmont has now dropped five straight games and fall to 8-24, 3-6.


The Bucs put the pedal to the metal early by jumping out to a 4-0 in game one, thanks to three-run homer by junior Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) in the first inning. Knight's homer marked her first of the season and second of her career.


The softball continued to fly out of the park as Cat Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) drilled the first of her two home runs to lead off the second. After allowing five runs in one-plus innings pitched, Belmont's Jennifer Batte made an early exit and Sammi Parks entered in relief. The pitching change did not seem to help the Bruins as Stephanie Gaynord (Manassas, Va.) drilled her first home run of the afternoon, putting ETSU up 6-0.


Belmont plated its first run in the fourth when Sarah Vaughn's grounder to second scored Erin Mullen from third; however, the Bucs got the run back and tacked on three more runs in the bottom half of the inning, giving them a 10-1 advantage. Zyskowski joined Gaynord and freshman Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.) to become the only players this season to record a multi-homer game as she led off the inning with a bomb to center. The home run parade would continue later in the inning when Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) smashed ETSU's fifth home run of the game. Vercoe sent one over the left-center fence, scoring Gaynord and Jett.


The Bruins scored their second run in the fifth inning when Heather Grossnickle sent one over the left field fence, but Vercoe forced Meghan Pipkin to ground out to short for the final out of the game. The sophomore hurler allowed two runs (one earned) and scattered three hits as she picked up her ninth win of the season. ETSU's first four batters combined to go 6-for-11 (.545) with two home runs, five RBI and seven runs scored in game one.


The fun continued for ETSU in game two as they pushed runs across the plate in all four innings, and knocked off Belmont, 13-3 in five innings for the second time on Friday. The 13 runs by the Bucs marked a season high.


Belmont plated the first run of the game as they took advantage of a Dez Franklin (Lawrenceville, Ga.) throwing error, however, that would be the only time the Bruins would lead all afternoon.


It did not take ETSU long to tie up the game as Gaynord led off the bottom half of the inning with a home run to right-center, marking her second of the day. Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) drove in two more Buccaneer runs with a single up the middle, giving ETSU a 3-1 lead.


After plating three more runs in the second, the Bucs opened the game up with a five-run third. Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led off the inning with a single and scored the first run of the inning when Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) reached on a fielder's choice. Jett plated the second run of the frame and with runners on second and third, Haverman gave ETSU an 11-1 lead, by drilling the Bucs seventh home run of the afternoon. ETSU scored two more runs in fourth, thanks to Jett's first career triple and Hackworth's RBI single.


Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) allowed a two-run homer in the fifth, but settled down nicely as she retired three of the next four Bruin hitters, ending the game due to the mercy rule. Gilbert went the distance, allowing three runs on eight hits and struck out four to pick up her eighth win of the season.


Just like in game one, the top of ETSU's order produced nicely in the nightcap as the first five Buc batters went 12-for-19 with a triple, two home runs, 11 RBI and 11 runs scored. As a team, ETSU hit .431 (22-51) on Friday, and Gaynord finished a perfect six-of-six.


            The Bucs will look to keep their offense rolling as they take on Lipscomb Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m., at Metro-Kiwanis Park.