CHARLESTON, S.C., (Feb. 20, 2011) - Freshman Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, but it wasn't enough to carry the Bucs past Canisius as the Golden Griffins went on to win, 8-4, Sunday morning in the final game of the Cougar Classic from the Patriots Point Sports Complex in Charleston, S.C.
The Bucs - who either led or were tied in four of the five games this weekend - dropped to 1-5 on the young season. Meanwhile, Canisius - last season's co-regular season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion - improved to 3-2 with the victory.
For the weekend, Baird hit safely in each of the five games and has now recorded a hit in all six games for the Bucs on the year. The Ooltewah, Tenn. native went 8-for-15 (.533) with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and four RBIs. Senior catcher/infielder Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) also had a solid weekend as she hit .429 (6-14) with a double, home run, four RBIs and five runs scored. Overall, the Buccaneer offense got the job done this weekend, but ETSU's defense was its Achilles heel as the Blue and Gold committed 11 errors - resulting in 14 unearned runs.
Despite falling behind by a run in the top of the first, Baird quickly gave the Bucs a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning when she flexed her muscles and went yard for the first time in her collegiate career. Baird's two-out blast to center scored fellow freshman Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.), which also jump-started a strong afternoon for the Ooltewah, Tenn. native.
Unfortunately, ETSU's lead didn't last long, as Canisius scored twice in the top half of second and added an additional run in the third to take a 4-2 lead.
However, just like they have shown all weekend, the Bucs never lost their fight as ETSU slowly chipped away to even the game at four.
The Bucs scored a run in the third on Baird's RBI single to left and sophomore Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) tied things up with her sac-fly RBI in the fifth.
Once again momentum shifted in the sixth as the Golden Griffins recaptured a one-run lead as Katie Medina's two-out RBI single to center scored Lauren Falzone - putting Canisius back on top, 5-4.
ETSU had its first two hitters reach in the bottom of the sixth as both Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) and Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) each worked back-to-back walks, but with runners on first and second and nobody out, Canisius' Amanda Baun worked out of the jam. Baun got pinch hitter Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) to pop out to first, while Fox reached on a fielder's choice - leaving runners on the corners for Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.). Hartnett hit a liner to third, but it was hit right at Paige Freiberger for the final out of the inning.
The Golden Griffins gained some breathing room by plating three runs on two hits in the seventh - extending their lead to, 8-4.
Caroline Main picked up the win (2-1) for Canisius, while Baun earned her first save of the year. Junior right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) suffered her second straight defeat (1-2) after allowing three runs on four hits in three innings of work.
The Bucs return to the diamond on Friday afternoon when ETSU faces Northwestern State in the first game of the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.