CHARLESTON, S.C. (Feb. 14, 2009) - Typically Valentine's Day is a day to win someone's heart over and not break one; however, College of Charleston handed the ETSU softball team a devastating 4-3 loss in the opening game of the Cougar Classic. Fortunately, the Lady Bucs had another chance to bounce back and end the day on a positive note, as ETSU defeated Akron 5-2 in nightcap.
After suffering the loss in a pitchers duel to James Madison on Friday, junior right-hander Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) returned to the circle on Saturday and help lead ETSU to victory over the Zips. Hardy tossed a complete game and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits. The Rocklin, Calif. native struck out four and walked two.
The Lady Bucs plated two runs in the top of second by using some clutch two-out hitting. With two outs and the bases cleared, freshman Chelsea O'Connor (Knoxville, Tenn.) was patient at the plate and worked a walk. Then, the freshman advanced to third on Vicki McCoy's (Ringgold, Ga.) single to third. McCoy used her speed to move herself into scoring position, and the call paid off, as Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.) came through with a big two-out double - which plated both runners and gave the Lady Bucs the early 2-0 lead.
Hardy kept Arkon off the board until the Zips pushed a solo run across the board in the fourth, but junior ace did a tremendous job by holding Akron to the one run. Amber Lowe tripled to left-center and Julie Boyes walked on the next at-bat. After Jaci Brindus entered to pitch-run for Boyes, she stole second and Lowe came in to score on Trisha Massenzo's (Russellville, Tenn.) throwing error down to second. However, Massenzo made up for the miscue as she helped put Brindus in a rundown after she tried stealing third and Hardy ended the frame by freezing Alex Feltes.
ETSU (2-2) then exploded for three runs in the fifth, thanks to the hot stick of junior Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.). Fellow junior Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led off the frame with a single to left-center and her and Jett were able to trot around the bases after Jett tagged Andrea Arney with a two-run bomb down the left field line, extending the Lady Buccaneer lead to, 4-1. The homer proved to be the game-winner, but ETSU plated an insurance run when senior outfielder Kate Powell (Johnson City) scored on a Heather Bauer wild pitch.
The Zips tried to mount a comeback in the sixth, but Hardy worked out of a little two-out jam to preserve the win. Akron's Lisa McLean reached on a bunt single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The centerfielder scored when Lowe singled up the middle, but after she advanced to second on a wild pitch, Hardy forced Boyes to make the third out by popping out to center.
Hardy (1-1) worked a perfect 1-2-3 seventh to earn her first victory of the season.
Jett and Campbell each drove in two runs, while Powell finished 2-for-4 with a run scored on the day.
Arney suffered the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in four innings of work.
ETSU at College of Charleston Recap
ETSU's opening game on Saturday was a classic see-saw battle, but when it was all said and done, College of Charleston pulled off the one-run victory, 4-3, inside Patriots Point Stadium.
The Lady Bucs wasted golden opportunities to score as they left 10 runners on base.
ETSU left two runners on in the first and two more on in the second. Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) led off the game by being plunked and moved to second on Kate Powell's (Johnson City) single to third. However, both runners were left in scoring position after Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) fouled out, while Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) and Chelsea O'Connor (Knoxville, Tenn.) ended any scoring threat by striking out.
Then, in the top of the second, the Lady Bucs jumped ahead 1-0, but missed a chance to make a bigger dent in the game. ETSU loaded the bases, as Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) and Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.) posted back-to-back singles and Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) reached on throwing error to load things up. Jett gave ETSU the early 1-0 lead when her sacrifice fly to left scored McCoy, but Powell ended the inning with a grounder to second.
College of Charleston (2-4) made sure its deficit didn't last long.
The Cougars evened the game at 1-all in the bottom half of the inning thanks to taking advantage of a Campbell throwing error at third. Kristie Shifflett led off the inning with a single to right and after Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) got Amanda Lonergan out on strikes, Shifflett was called out at third after she tried to move up an extra base on the Campbell error. Unfortunately, Katie Pesature - who reached on the error - advanced to second on the play and came around to score the unearned run on Katie Nutaitis' double to right-center.
ETSU was able to recapture its lead in the fourth, as the Lady Bucs were able to capitalize on a College of Charleston error. Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) led off the frame with a double to right-center and freshman Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) entered as a pinch-runner. Martin advanced to third on McCoy's grounder to first - and after Campbell walked - Cason pushed Martin across the plate on a fielder's choice and both runners moved up an extra base on an error by the Cougars' catcher. In the end, ETSU grabbed a 2-1 lead.
Once again the ETSU lead didn't hold up, as Charleston scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning, making it a 3-2 game.
The Lady Bucs never lost their focused and fought back in the top of the sixth. Campbell got things rolling with a one-out single to left and quickly went to second on an error by the leftfielder. After Cason was hit-by-a-pitch, both runners stole a bag and ETSU looked to be cruising. However, another sacrifice fly by Jett was the only play the Lady Bucs could muster and ETSU evened the game a three a piece.
After Charleston was held scoreless in the sixth and ETSU went down without a run in the seventh, the Cougars ended the game with Shifflett's two-out game-winning RBI.
Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), who entered in relief, suffered the loss (1-1) after allowing the one run on four hits in 3.1IP. Boyd started the game and lasted 3.1 innings. The sophomore right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits. Terri Mesko earned her second win of the season after allowing one unearned run in three innings of work.
Jett drove in two of ETSU's three runs, while Cason accounted for the other. Campbell reached base all three times - finishing 2-for-2 with a run scored and a walk.
The Lady Bucs wrap up play at the Cougar Classic on Sunday, when they face Syracuse at 10 a.m.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.