Homers by Campbell and Wolff give Bucs life, but Tech holds on for the win
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 27, 2011) - Trailing by eight runs and down to their final out in the fifth inning, junior Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and freshman Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) gave the Bucs life by blasting back-to-back home runs. Campbell cut ETSU's deficit in half with her first career grand slam, while Wolff followed with a solo shot for her first collegiate homer.
Unfortunately, the Bucs' rally fell short as Tennessee Tech scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth to lift the Golden Eagles past ETSU, 14-5, in the final game of the Frost Classic on Sunday afternoon.
The Bucs, who picked up a pair of wins over Tennessee-Martin and Toledo on Saturday, saw their record dip to 3-8 after the setback on Sunday. Meanwhile, Tennessee Tech improved to 5-7 after finishing the tournament with a 4-1 mark.
Campbell has now homered in consecutive games and hit .429 (6-14) with a double, two home runs, six RBIs and six runs scored for the tournament. Joining Campbell with a hit in four straight games are Wolff and senior Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.). Wolff went 6-for-11 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs this weekend, while Henderson finished 5-for-15 (.333) at the plate.
ETSU had its chances early in the contest, but the Bucs left five runners stranded in the first three innings, while the Golden Eagles used the long-ball to their advantage by recording three-run and two-run homers to take a six-run lead.
Tennessee Tech set the tone early by scoring four runs in the bottom of the first to take the early 4-0 lead. The Golden Eagles scored their first run on a RBI single by Lacie Coquerille and Kaleigh Gates plated the other three runs with her home run over the fence in left-center.
After the Bucs left runners stranded at first and second in the top of the first and the bases loaded with two outs in the third, Tennessee Tech added to its lead in the bottom half of the frame when Brittney Spalding recorded her two-out two-run homer - putting the Golden Eagles ahead, 6-0.
Gates continued to give the Buccaneer pitchers fits as her two-out double to right-center brought in a pair of runs extending Tech's lead to 8-0 in the fourth.
Then, just when it seemed the Golden Eagles thought they were about to capture a five-inning victory, the Bucs had other plans in store.
With the Bucs not able to manufacture any runs off Holly Thomas in the first four innings, ETSU finally found its answer in fifth. Thomas walked two of the first three hitters to start the frame - and after Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) loaded the bases with a single up the middle - Tennessee Tech's hurler struck out Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) for the second out of the inning. However, with the Bucs clinging to their final out, Campbell didn't waste any time putting the Blue and Gold back into the contest as she blasted the first pitch she saw over the fence in left-center to cut the deficit in half. Wolff joined the fun by making it back-to-back homers when she sent a ball flying out of the park for her first collegiate home run - making it an 8-5 ballgame.
Despite tacking on the five fifth-inning runs, the Blue and Gold couldn't find the offense to put together the complete rally.
Once again the Bucs loaded the bases in the sixth, but just as it looked the Blue and Gold were about to get another big hit, Harke ended any type of rally by forcing Campbell to hit into an inning-ending grounder to third.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Bucs committed two errors and Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) issued three walks, giving the Golden Eagles a chance to set up the big inning. Two of Morris' three walks led to runs, while Whitney Cummings' grand slam ended the game as Tech walked off the field with the nine-run victory.
Thomas improved to 4-2 on the year even though she was touched up for five runs on five hits and five walks in 4.2 innings. Harke earned the save after tossing 1.1 innings of three-hit ball. Wolff suffered the loss (0-3) after being charged with seven runs on seven hits in three innings of work.
The Bucs return to action Friday afternoon when ETSU faces Columbia on day one of the USF Under Armour Invitational in Clearwater, Fla. First pitch is set for 10 a.m.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.