CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 22, 2008) - The ETSU softball team snapped its six-game losing streak with an 8-0 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) in game one of the Chattanooga Challenge Friday afternoon; however, the Lady Bucs were shut down in game two, 1-0, to host UTC from Fro st Stadium.
The Lady Bucs roughed up the Red Flash, tallying a season high eight runs on 12 hits. Eight ETSU players each recorded a hit, including three with multi-hit efforts.
ETSU (2-7) received all the offense they would need in the top of third when senior Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) used her speed to score the first run of the game. After singling down the left field line, Knight stole second and advanced to third on Kate Powell's (Johnson City) shot up the middle. Then, Knight recorded her second steal of the inning as she stole home, making it 1-0.
The game remained tight until the Lady Buccaneer offense exploded in the fifth as they scored seven runs on nine hits. ETSU began the inning with three straight hits which led to its second run on Powell's RBI single. After sophomore Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) singled up the middle, Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) came through with the biggest hit of the game. Jett went to the plate with the bases packed and sent one flying over the left-center wall for her first career grand slam. The blast put ETSU up 6-0, and sophomore Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) doubled home Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.), putting the Lady Bucs ahead 7-0. Eventually the Lady Bucs went up 8-0 on Powell's second RBI of the inning which, in the end, concluded the game with the run rule a half inning later.
Freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) looked solid in the circle en route to earning her first collegiate win. Boyd tossed five scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while striking out two. Powell (three hits), Knight (two hits) and Massenzo (two hits) accounted for seven of the 12 ETSU hits. Hackworth extended her hit streak to five straight games with her single in the fifth.
In game two the Lady Bucs met up with host Chattanooga; however, ETSU fell in a 1-0 heartbreaker in the nightcap.
Leaving runners stranded was the big story for the Lady Bucs in this game.
After ETSU left two on in the first, Chattanooga mustered up enough offense in the bottom half of the frame for the win. Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led off the inning by striking out Tara Temeby, but fell into some trouble as she walked the next batter and served up a double to Michelle Fuzzard, placing runners on second and third with only one out. Gilbert did an excellent job getting out of trouble by allowing only one run as she left Chattanooga runners on the corners to end the inning.
ETSU looked to have some positive things brewing in the second as Caitlin Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) singled and Knight doubled on the very next play. However, Kandice Irwin settled down by retiring the next three batters on strikes to end any threat. Sophomore Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) came on in relief in the bottom half of the inning. Hardy did a superb job keeping UTC off the board by striking out two of the three batters she faced.
Once again the Lady Buccaneers left two runners stranded in the fourth and fifth, but missed their golden chance in the sixth. ETSU had its first two batters reach base, and those runners moved to second and third with only one out on Brooke Loudermilk's passed ball. However, the Lady Bucs could not push any runs across the plate, even after loading the bases with two outs.
In total, ETSU left 11 runners aboard and only tallied four hits on the night. Gilbert suffered the loss, but Hardy looked strong in relief. Hardy worked five scoreless innings and struck out nine. Irwin picked up her third win of the season, allowing no runs in four innings of work.
The Softball Bucs return to action Saturday afternoon as they play a pair of Mid-American Conference teams. ETSU begins the day with Bowling Green at noon from Chattanooga State, and wraps up play with Ball State at 6:45 p.m. from Frost Stadium.
Please visit www.ETSUBucs.com for more information regarding Lady Buccaneer softball.