MACON, Ga. (April 15, 2011) - The ETSU softball team's chances of making next month's Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament took a big hit on Friday evening as the Bucs were swept by Mercer 8-0 in game one (five innings) and 4-0 in the nightcap from Sikes Field in Macon, Ga.
The Bucs, who entered the day two spots out of the sixth and final spot of the double-elimination tournament, dropped to 14-26, 3-11 after being swept. Meanwhile, Mercer entered the day in sixth (removing FGCU from competition as the Eagles are ineligible for postseason play until 2012 due to NCAA reclassification rules) and the Bears improved to 23-17, 6-6 in conference play.
Game One Recap
Mercer's Kari Chambers tossed a two-hit shutout and she was rewarded with a six-run second as the Bears cruised to an 8-0 five-inning victory in the first game of the A-Sun doubleheader.
Junior Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and sophomore Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) generated the only offense for the Blue and Gold as they each registered singles off Chambers, while senior righty Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) suffered the loss (7-11). Duncan allowed eight runs (seven earned) on ten hits in 4.2 innings of work. Chambers, who tossed her fourth shutout of the year, improved to 11-8 as she struck out six and walked none.
Mercer broke the game open in the second when the Bears loaded the bases with one out, and recorded four singles and a walk to take a 6-0 lead. Duncan finally worked out of the long inning by forcing Sara Stukes to pop out to short and Amanda Santa Maria was doubled off at second when she broke to third before the catch by Sam Lower.
From there, neither team lit up the scoreboard until McKenzie Woody worked a two-out bases load walk to plate the Bears' seventh run and Santa Maria ended the game with an RBI single to right-center in the fifth to make it an 8-0 final.
Campbell notched her single in the first and Lower recorded her hit in the fourth, while the one through three hitters for Mercer combined to go six for ten with six RBI.
Game Two Recap
Mercer scored two runs in the fourth and added two more in the sixth, while Jenni Holtz tossed her second shutout of the season, and Bucs fell to Mercer in the nightcap, 4-0.
Amy Campbell recorded her fifth multi-hit game of the year by going 2-for-4 with a double, while Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) also reached base twice by doubling in the first and walking in the fifth.
Once again the Blue and Gold offense couldn't muster anything as ETSU has now only scored one run in the last 22 innings. With the lack of run support, freshman Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) saw her record fall to 1-7 after allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits in 5.1 innings of work. Holtz improved her record to 11-9 after tossing the seven-hit shutout and posted seven strike outs.
After both teams missed on scoring chances early in the game, Mercer finally scratched a pair of runs across the plate in the fourth when two Bear runners came around to score on Anna Johnson's one-out single to left - giving the home team a 2-0 advantage. A fielding error by Sade Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) on the play let pinch runner Heather Strange score all the way from first, while Tiffany Phillips - who led off the inning with a walk - scored from second.
Mercer added two insurance runs in the sixth to take a 4-0 lead, and the Bears capped off the sweep by turning a triple play in the seventh to walk away with the four-run victory.
The Bucs - who didn't have a runner reach second base in game one - wasted little time making that happen in the nightcap as Henderson ripped a two-out double to the fence in left in the top of the first and moved to third on Sam Lower's single through the left side. Unfortunately, Wolff was unable to help her cause as she hit into an inning-ending fly out to right.
Mercer also missed on a scoring opportunity in the bottom half of the inning as McKenzie Woody led things off with a single and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. However, Woody was left stranded after Wolff got Kassie Bailey to ground out to short and forced Sara Stukes to foul out.
Once again both teams left runners in scoring position in the second, but Mercer finally scratched runs across the dish in the fourth to snap a scoreless game.
The Blue and Gold threatened in the fifth when the Bucs loaded the bases after Campbell laced a two-out double to center, and following a Henderson walk, Lower was hit by a pitch. Although, it was Wolff again, who couldn't come through with the clutch hit as she tapped a grounder to short for the third out.
From there, Mercer added its two additional runs in the sixth and poured more salt into the Buccaneer wounds by turning the triple play to end the game.
The Bucs wrap up the road swing on Saturday afternoon when ETSU takes on Kennesaw State. First pitch of the A-Sun doubleheader is set for 2 p.m. at Bailey Park.