Hardy hits game-winner and posts a season-high 11 strikeouts
Hardy, who tossed her career and school-record tying fifth shutout of the season, also had the game-winning hit as her RBI single to right in the bottom of the sixth cracked a scoreless game and plated Chelsea O'Connor (Knoxville, Tenn.) from second. The Rocklin,
With the victory, ETSU improved its record to 24-19 on the year, and the Lady Bucs now set up a critical conference showdown with
Hardy was dealing early and often and also did an excellent job working out of a no-out bases loaded jam in the fifth. After striking out six of the first 12 Lady Cobra hitters she faced, Hardy put herself in a pickle in the fifth. The junior righty issued a leadoff walk to Haley Odle and after back-to-back singles Virginia Intermont posed its first threat of the game. Fortunately, Hardy settled in and got the next three Lady Cobra hitters to chase some nasty pitches to work out of the pressure situation.
Finally, after being held to only three hits in the first five innings, ETSU came to life in the sixth. O'Connor began the fun with a one-out bunt single back to the circle and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Kristen Dyer - who entered in relief in the fifth. Then, with O'Connor on second and one out, Hardy was called upon to pinch hit and her bat did the trick when she laced an RBI single to right - which was just deep enough to score O'Connor from second. Virginia Intermont's right fielder, Katie Bowles, threw a strike to the plate, but the freshman infielder touched the dish before Odle had a chance to put a tag down at home - giving the Lady Bucs a 1-0 lead. After Hardy advanced to second on the throw, senior Cat Zyskowski (
Hardy worked a perfect seventh inning and carried the Lady Bucs to a two-run win.
Virginia Intermont's starting pitcher, Megan Branson, did an excellent job shutting down the Lady Buccaneer hitters. Branson tossed four shutout innings and limited ETSU to only three hits. Dyer suffered the loss after she was tagged for two runs (one earned) on three hits in two innings of work.
Junior Cheniece Cason (
The Lady Bucs will quickly return to the diamond on Saturday afternoon when they host
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