RIVERSIDE, Calif. (March 6, 2010) - Despite great efforts by sophomore Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and senior Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) the ETSU softball team could not overcome strong starts by both Notre Dame and No. 14 Ohio State as the Lady Bucs dropped a pair of contests Saturday at the aTEN Construction Tournament in Riverside, Calif.
Notre Dame 6 - ETSU 1
After two scoressless innings the Fighting Irish got on the board first as Katie Fleury doubled off of starting sophomore pitcher Shelby Morris, which scored Sadie Pitzenberger in the bottom of the third.
Two innings later the Lady Bucs responded as junior third baseman Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) led off the inning with a single through the right side of the infield. After designated player Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) was hit by a pitch from Norte Dame starter Brittany O'Donnell, sophomore right fielder Anne Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) advanced both to scoring position with a beautifully placed sacrifice bunt to third.
After O'Donnell walked senior Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) to load the bases, left fielder Lucy Schneider (Dade City, Fla.) drove home ETSU's first run with a fielders choice, which plated Henderson.
Unfortunately, for the Lady Bucs, ETSU couldn't push across anymore runs in the top half of the inning, as O'Donnell forced second baseman Amy Campbell to ground out to third.
With the score knotted at 1-1 Notre Dame immediately rallied back in the bottom of the fifth as Alexa Maldonado crushed a homerun, with one out, in the inning giving the Fighting Irish a one-run advantage.
After the Lady Bucs then went three-up three-down in the top of the sixth Norte Dame broke open the game with four runs in bottom of the inning for the final score.
Henderson led the Lady Bucs with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, while Erin Marrone was a perfect 3-for-3 for Notre Dame. Right fielder Dani Miller led all hitters with three RBI.
On the mound O'Donnell picked up her four win this season after she gave up six hits and one earned run. For ETSU Morris (0-2) took the loss after giving up 10 hits and six earned runs.
No. 14 Ohio State 4 - ETSU 1
Despite out hitting No. 14 Ohio State 6-5 the Lady Bucs couldn't capitalize on a number of great scoring chances a day after falling to Ohio State 13-1 Friday.
After ETSU put two runners in scoring position with no outs in the top of the first, Nichols forced three straight groundouts to escape from the Lady Buc treat.
Ohio State broke thru the scoreless tie an inning later as Whitney Cooper led off the bottom of the second with a double to right center. After an ETSU error advanced Cooper to third, Rachel Shepherd laid down a bunt that was misplayed by ETSU, which scored both Cooper and sophomore Vanessa Spears.
After Ohio State infielder Rebecca Schultz singled through the left side, teammate Brittany Goodchild laced a ball to right. The Ohio State third baseman then raced home on the play as ETSU right fielder Anne Martin tired to throw out Goodchild going to second, giving Schultz a chance to race home.
ETSU pulled within two runs in the top of the sixth as Campbell drove home Schneider with a deep sacrifice fly.
The Buckeyes then responded by adding a run of their own in the bottom of the inning as Shepherd came through with her second RBI of the game scoring pinch runner Leah Ledford from second.
With Ohio State up 4-1 heading into the seventh, ETSU would not quit as Lower beat out an infield single to start the inning. After Martin and Cason both walked for the Lady Bucs, OSU head coach Linda Kalafatis brought in closer Lindsay Bodeker. Schneider then added to score as she hit into a fielder's choice that scored freshman Tara Hartnett (Sneville, Ga.) who was pinch running for Lower.
With two outs and the bases still loaded, after senior Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) walked for ETSU, Bodeker survived the late ETSU rally as she forced sophomore Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) to fly out.
Nichols picked up her season's sixth win after throwing 6.1 innings allowing only two earned runs, while striking out two. Marissa Hardy picked up the loss for the Lady Bucs after holding Ohio State to two earned runs, on five hits, while striking out one.
Jett led the ETSU offense with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, while Schneider and Campbell had one RBI.
ETSU returns to action as they close out its trip out West with a 5 p.m. contest against host UC Riverside.
For more information on the ETSU softball team please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.