JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 15, 2008) - Freshman Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) drilled a two-run bomb over the center field fence and sophomore right-hander Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) notched her sixth 10-plus strikeout performance with 14 punch outs, lifting the ETSU softball team to a 4-3 victory over Stetson in game one Tuesday afternoon from Metro-Kiwanis Park. The Hatters' Erica Demers tossed her fifth shutout of the season and Stetson took the second game, 5-0.
With the split, ETSU moved to 23-27, 7-9 in the Atlantic Sun; while the Hatters went to 34-19, 8-7.
The Lady Bucs jumped all over Stetson's Amanda Lindsey by scoring all four runs in the first inning of game one. ETSU took advantage of key two-out hits as junior third baseman Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) started the hit parade with an RBI single to right. The single drove home junior Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) who worked a one-out walk earlier. Hackworth advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Hardy's single to short. Hardy beat out a deep roller in the hole on the left side, and Hackworth charged home after Andrea Migliori dropped the throw at first. Henderson came through on the very next at-bat as she found a pitch to her liking and blasted the ball out of the park, making it 4-0. The home run was Henderson's third of the year, while it also marked ETSU's first homer inside its home park since March 20 when sophomore Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) accomplished the feat.
ETSU forced Lindsay to make an early exit as she lasted two innings and was charged for four runs on three hits. Nicole Peltz entered in relief and tossed four innings of shutout ball, while limiting the Lady Bucs to only three hits. Hackworth posted her second hit of the game with her double to right-center in the fourth, but was left stranded after Hardy grounded out to short.
Stetson clipped ETSU's lead to 4-1 on Lindsay Wightman's solo home run to left field in the top of the fourth. The Hatters continued to use the long ball to their favor when Migliori recorded her 15th bomb of the year in the sixth. Stetson made it a one run Lady Buccaneer lead, 4-3, with her two-run home run to left.
The Softball Bucs left a runner at third in the fifth and sixth innings; however, Hardy did an excellent job by not making those runners left aboard come back and haunt ETSU. Hardy worked out of a one-out jam in the top of the seventh to earn her sixth straight win. The Rocklin, Calif. native struck out pinch hitter Katie Lawrence for the second out of the frame and left a Hatter stranded at second when she got Jessica Lokeinsky to pop out to Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) at first.
Hardy allowed three runs on three hits and struck out 14 en route to her 14th victory of the campaign. Hackworth and Henderson each had two hits apiece as Henderson recorded her first career triple in the sixth.
In game two, Stetson scored five runs on 10 hits to earn a split.
Freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) - who started the nightcap - kept the Hatters off the board in the first two frames. Unfortunately, Stetson chased Boyd from the circle in the third after they tagged her for three runs on five hits. Blythe Golden's second single of the game drove in two runs and Amanda Bailey's sacrifice fly to center put the visitors ahead, 3-0.
Hardy entered in relief and retired six straight before issuing another homer to Migliori in the fifth. The right-handed first baseman sent one over the fence in right-center, giving the Hatters a 4-0 lead. Hardy's day came to an end after the inning and totaled 19 strikeouts on the afternoon.
Sophomore Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) worked the final two innings for ETSU. The Murfreesboro, Tenn. native allowed one run on four hits, struck out one and did not issue a walk.
Despite not tallying a hit, Hackworth reached base three times. The slugger reached on an error in the first and worked two walks in the game. Junior Cat Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) broke up Demers' no-hitter with a two-out single to center in the sixth - which gave the Lady Bucs a little glimmer of hope for a late rally, but Demers struck out Henderson to end the sixth and left runners on first and second.
The Lady Bucs continued to fight in the seventh as Massenzo doubled to right-center and junior outfielder Kate Powell (Johnson City) reached on an error with only one out. Again, Demers worked out of the threat and ended the game by recording outs on the next two batters.
Demers moved her record to 15-7 after tossing two-hit shutout, and Boyd saw her mark fall to 6-9.
ETSU returns to action on Thursday afternoon when they host Campbell in yet another critical conference doubleheader. The Softball Bucs currently hold a one-game lead over the Lady Camels in the league standings. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.