GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2008) - The ETSU softball team were left seeing zeros after being shut out on the first day of the Cox Communications Classic on Friday from the Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium. The Lady Bucs fell to ACC foe North Carolina 8-0 in the first game, and lost 9-0 in the nightcap to the host and 11th-ranked Florida Gators.
ETSU (1-3) struggled both offensively and defensively in the Florida sun. The Lady Buccaneer hitters struck out 18 times and were limited to only three hits on the day. ETSU's pitching staff did not fare well either by allowing 17 runs (13 earned) on 15 hits and walked 10.
In the first game of the morning, ETSU faced a difficult and undefeated Tar Heel club.
North Carolina (6-0) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as they plated one run in the first and continued to tack runs on in the second, third and fourth innings. The Tar Heels plated three runs in the top of the second when Danielle Spaulding led off the frame with a homer to right-center. Then, North Carolina took advantage of three consecutive Lady Buccaneer errors, and pushed the lead to 4-0 as Stephanie Murad came around to score the fourth run on Cat Zyskowski's (Grand Rapids, Mich.) error in left.
The Lady Bucs' limited offense struck early as sophomore Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) reached on an error in the bottom half of the first, and catcher Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) singled. However, any hope of a rally was ended when Spaulding forced Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) to hit into a double play. An inning later Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.) singled and Zyskowski reached on fielder's choice, moving Jett to second. Unfortunately, the dominating Tar Heel pitching staff took over for the final three-plus innings. Spaulding completed the remaining 3.2 IP with nine of her 11 strikeouts and left ETSU off the bases.
After scoring two more runs in the third, North Carolina plated a pair of runs in the fourth, pushing its lead to 8-0. UNC ended the game in the fifth as Spaulding retired all three Lady Buc batters out on strikes.
Sophomore Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) suffered her first loss of the season. Gilbert was tagged for six runs (three earned) on six hits in only two innings. Freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) made her ETSU debut in the circle, scattering two runs on three hits in 3.0 IP. Spaulding went the distance for her first win of the season.
Things did not get any easier for ETSU in game two, because they had to face the 11th-ranked Florida Gators.
The Gators (8-0) only needed three big innings to defeat the Lady Bucs. Florida enjoyed a four-run second and sent two more Gators across the plate in the third, taking an early 6-0 advantage.
Florida's Stephanie Brombacher retired 18 of the19 batters she faced, with the lone ETSU hit coming from (Jessie) Hackworth in the second. Brombacher improved to 3-0 on the season after the Gators ended the game with three runs in the sixth.
Once again Gilbert found her on the losing end of the stick, allowing four runs on three hits in 1.1IP. Sophomore Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) entered in relief, but could not cool off the Florida bats (4ER/3.2IP).
The Lady Bucs return to the field Saturday afternoon when they face the same Florida team at 4 p.m. Then ETSU closes out the evening with a non-conference showdown against Stetson.
ETSU fans can follow all the action via GameTracker, courtesy of Florida athletics. The pair of Lady Buccaneer games against Florida will be broadcast over the web. Please click link(s) above or visit www.GatorZone.com to access GameTracker and audio.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.