JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 14, 2007) - It was a rough one for the ETSU softball team on Wednesday afternoon as the Winthrop Eagles made a visit to Metro-Kiwanis Park and came away with a pair of wins. After holding an early lead in game one the Bucs fell, 6-2, and then only scored two runs on nine hits in the nightcap as Winthrop pulled away with a 9-2 victory.
In game one, the Eagles scored first when they got doubles from Lisa Kingsmore and Jenny Scrymgeour, and took an early 1-0 lead. The Bucs took full advantage of Winthrop's Megan Evans control problems in the bottom half of the inning as Stephanie Gaynord (Manassas, Va.) led off with a single and quickly advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on the next play when freshman Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.) singled up the middle. Jett moved to second on a wild pitch and Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) kept the hit parade going when she singled, advancing Jett to third. Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) then helped her cause by giving the Bucs a 2-1 lead, when she drove in Jett. ETSU could have done more damage in the first when they had a runner in scoring position and only one out, but Evans worked out of the inning by getting the next two Bucs hitters out.
The 2-1 lead did not last long for ETSU as Winthrop's Laura Hill led off the second with a solo home run to left. ETSU did a solid job by keeping the game tied at two when Vercoe got Tessa Thomas to hit into a double play to end the inning. The Bucs looked to have things rolling in the second when Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) led off with a double to right, but an early pitching change proved to be the right move for the Eagles. After allowing two runs on four hits through one-plus innings, Jacqueline Trottier came in to replace Evans on the mound and cooled off the ETSU bats as she allowed only four hits through the final six innings.
Both pitchers kept the runs off the board through the next four innings, until Winthrop scored four runs in the sixth, all coming with two outs. Vercoe got two of the first three Eagles hitters to ground out at start the inning, but then she allowed three consecutive hits, including a three-run home run that ended up being the back-breaker. After putting the next two hitters on after the homer, Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) came in to pitch for Vercoe and got the next hitter to fly out to center. The Bucs had an opportunity to score some runs the inning before when Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led off the fifth with a single, but was caught stealing, and then Jett was picked off first after she singled a few plays later. The Bucs were held to only one hit after that as Trottier earned her sixth win of season. Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) extended her hitting streak to six consecutive games with her fourth inning double, but Vercoe saw her three-game winning streak come to an end as her record dropped to 6-6.
After collecting only two hits and finding themselves trailing 3-0 through three and a half innings, the ETSU bats finally came alive. Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) got things started as she led off the fourth with a home run to center, cutting the lead to 3-1. Winthrop's Cari Wooldridge got the next two hitters out, but Vercoe singled then Cat Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) doubled, scoring Vercoe from first, making it a one run game at 3-2. The Bucs had an opportunity to add more runs in the inning as Cason's single moved Zyskowski to third and the freshman runner quickly stole second, putting runners on second and third for Gaynord; however, the senior ended the threat when she grounded out to second.
Winthrop's Scrymgeour continued to be a thorn in ETSU's side as she led off the fifth with a solo home run, and she also drove in two of the Eagles' four runs in the sixth to extend their lead to 8-2. Trottier came in to pitch 2.2 innings in relief, allowing only two hits en route to her first save of the season. The Bucs ended the game with nine hits, but they could not get anything else going offensively other than in the fourth. Freshman Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) suffered her eighth defeat on the season as she allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 10 hits through 6.2 IP.
After winning five of its last six games, ETSU has now dropped three of four and fall to 10-14 on the season, while the Eagles improved to 23-9 with the two wins.
The Bucs will now get a much-needed week off before they open conference play on March 21 against Kennesaw State. ETSU will host the Owls at Metro-Kiwanis Park starting at 2 p.m.