JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 30, 2008) - Last season the ETSU softball team swept Jacksonville to move into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun. On Sunday, the Dolphins got revenge as they jumped ahead of the Lady Bucs in the conference standings by sweeping a doubleheader at a chilly Metro-Kiwanis Park. JU handed ETSU its second straight shutout in the opener, 5-0, and capped things off with a 4-1 win in game two.
The Dolphins wasted little time getting on the board in game one. JU's designated player Pat Melo led off the first inning with a walk and advanced to second on a Jillian Mirante sacrifice bunt. Then, with one out, Katie Kelly found the gap in left field and doubled home Melo.
Both teams were held in check until Jacksonville plated four more runs in the top half of the seventh. The Dolphins used the long ball to tack on the additional runs thanks to Shannon Monahan's first homer of the campaign and Melo recorded the second two-run home run of the frame three plays later, making it 5-0.
ETSU struggled offensively as they scattered two hits through the first five innings. However, the Lady Bucs squandered an excellent chance to push runs across the plate in the sixth. Sophomore Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) led off the inning with a single to left-center and senior Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) entered to pinch run for the pitcher. Knight stole second and advanced to third on Kate Powell's (Johnson City) clutch single through the hole at short. Powell then stole second, putting runners on second and third with only one out and ETSU's leading hitter coming to the plate in Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.). Jacksonville's Shannon Jensen forced Jett to hit into a fielder's choice at third as Knight was tagged out on the play when she broke home too early and could not get back to the bag in time. Sophomore catcher Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) ended the threat with her soft roller to the circle.
Hardy saw her record drop to 8-8 after allowing five runs on six hits in seven innings of work, while Jensen bumped her mark to 8-10. Jensen tossed her first shutout of the season and struck out six.
In game two, Jacksonville enjoyed a three-run second and scored one more in the fifth to capture a 4-1 victory and the sweep.
After freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga) worked out a first inning jam, she surrendered three runs on four hits in the top half of the second. Boyd left JU runners stranded at second and third to begin the game, but the Dolphins took advantage of a Marissa Hardy fielding error and a sac fly to jump out to a 3-0 advantage. Kelly McKeon led off the inning with a double to left-center and scored on Kayla Ouellet's sacrifice fly to right. The Dolphins then had runners on second and third when Hardy had trouble fielding Jillian Mirante's grounder to first, resulting in both Dolphin runners to come home.
The Lady Buccaneers finally snapped their 17-inning scoreless streak when Kate Powell scored on squeeze play. Trisha Massenzo laid down a perfect bunt and allowed Powell to come home and cut the margin to 4-1. Unfortunately, ETSU could not muster up a rally to pull off a split.
Boyd dropped her second straight decision (5-5), giving up four runs (two earned) on eight hits. Sophomore Ashley Iveson collected her second win of the year by scattering two hits in seven innings.
Jacksonville - who entered play with only three home runs on the season - doubled its total on the day, and over the four-game two-day stretch, ETSU's pitchers have allowed nine dingers.
Sophomore Katy Jett extended her hitting streak to eight straight games in the opener, but had it come to a halt in game two after being held hitless in just her second conference game this year (0-for-2). Hardy recorded two of ETSU's six hits on the day.
With the sweep, the Softball Bucs fall to 16-22, 3-7 in A-Sun play; while the Dolphins improved to 17-26, 4-6.
Things do not get any easier for ETSU as they gear up for a doubleheader with 9th-ranked Tennessee on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. from Lee Softball Stadium in Knoxville.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.