ETSU softball drops season-opener at Charlotte, 7-3
Sunday, February 14, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 14, 2010) - Freshman Briana Gwaltney belted two home runs and senior right-hander Emily Jeffery fanned 13 Lady Buccaneer hitters, as Charlotte powered its way past ETSU, 7-3, on Sunday afternoon at the 49er Round Robin Tournament.


The Lady Bucs were led by senior Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.), as she reached base three times - going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. As a team, ETSU (0-1) pounded out seven hits; however, the Blue and Gold couldn't come through in the clutch as they left eight runners stranded.


ETSU squandered a scoring opportunity in the top of the first after Cason led off the game with a triple to right-center, but Jeffery retired the next three Lady Buccaneer hitters, leaving the Moreno Valley, Calif. standing at third.


After senior right-hander Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) sat the 49ers down in order in the first, she ran into trouble the next inning. Hardy hit Tenaya Tucker to lead off the second - and after pinch runner Carol Buchan advanced to second on a passed ball - Gwaltney connected on the first of two dingers to give Charlotte a 2-0 lead. Hardy was chased from the circle in the second, but fellow senior Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) did an excellent job keeping the game within striking distance. Gilbert retired the first two hitters she faced, which left two 49er runners stranded at second and third.


Charlotte (1-0) added to its lead in the third when Serena Smith doubled down the left field line, scoring Kendra McCall from second. Smith came around to make it 4-0 when she scored on a fielder's choice.


The Lady Bucs' offense finally struck for the first time in 2010 when freshman Arielle Garner's (Buchanan, Ga.) double to left-center plated Lucy Schneider (Dade City, Fla.), making it a 4-1 ballgame. Schneider led off the fourth inning with a single to short and Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) - who also singled to short - cut the deficit in half when she scored on Marlina Delisa's (Tucson, Ariz.) RBI single to right.


Unfortunately, that's as close as ETSU would get.


Gwaltney, Charlotte's newest slugger, sent another pitch flying out of D.L. Phillips Complex in the fifth, giving the 49ers a 7-2 advantage.


ETSU tacked on one more run in the seventh, as pinch-hitter Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) came off the bench and drove in Cason on a double to center. However, Jeffrey stopped any comeback as she struck out Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) and forced Henderson into a game-ending pop out.


Hardy suffered the loss after allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit; while walking two in only 1.1 innings. Jeffery issued three runs (two earned) on seven hits to earn the win. Junior newcomer Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) had an impressive ETSU debut. Duncan tossed two innings of one-hit ball.   


The tournament, which was supposed to begin on Saturday, was cut short due to snow that hit the Charlotte area on Friday night. The Lady Bucs were scheduled to play St. John's and Liberty on Saturday.


ETSU returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 18 when the Lady Bucs travel to Furman for a doubleheader. Originally, the games were scheduled to be played on Wednesday, but were moved to Thursday at 2/4 p.m.


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