RIVERSIDE, Calif. (March 7, 2010) - Despite having six starters battling illness, including two starting pitchers, the ETSU softball team battled through some adversity to snap its five-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over UC-Riverside on Sunday afternoon at Amy S. Harrison Softball Complex.
Junior right-hander Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) bounced back nicely to earn the win (5-2) in the circle. Duncan allowed two runs on four hits while striking out three in seven innings of work. Freshman Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) went 2-for-3 with two RBI and sophomore infielder Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) was 1-for-4 with an RBI double and run scored.
With the win, the Lady Bucs picked up their first win on the west coast swing and improved to 8-9. The Highlanders, who defeated fifth-ranked UCLA at home on Wednesday, dropped to 6-12.
The Lady Bucs jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to Campbell's RBI double to left-center - scoring senior Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) who led off the game with a walk. Campbell came around to score on Arielle Garner's (Buchanan, Ga.) two-out single - giving ETSU the two-run cushion.
After Duncan retired the first six UC-Riverside hitters she faced, ETSU came through with a three-run third - giving the Ooltewah, Tenn. native a 5-0 lead to work with. The Lady Bucs did all their damage with two outs in the inning, as Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) drove in Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) with an RBI single; while Lower then came through to break the game open on the next at-bat. The Sebring, Fla. native singled to center - plating both Delisa and Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) to give ETSU the much-needed momentum.
Duncan kept the Highlanders hitless and scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when Alexis Pickett doubled to left-center - making it 5-1. However, Duncan kept two UC-Riverside base runners stranded in scoring position by forcing Brittany Keeney to hit into an inning-ending lineout to third.
With Duncan dealing in the circle - retiring the next eight hitters she faced after the RBI double in the fourth - the Lady Bucs were finally able to enjoy trip out west for the first time. The Highlanders scored their final run on Pickett's solo homer, but again, Duncan kept two Riverside runners stranded by getting Lauren Molina to pop out to third and end the game.
Amy Lwin suffered the loss (0-3) after giving up five runs on seven hits in seven innings of work.
The Lady Bucs now travel north to Fresno, Calif. and face another difficult test in the Bayer CropScience Classic. ETSU opens play with host and 22nd-ranked Fresno State on Thursday, March 11. First pitch is set for 10 p.m. (Eastern).
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.