CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 26, 2012) – The ETSU softball team has been waiting for someone to step up and be a leader in the circle in the early stages this season.
The Bucs may have found the reliable arm they were looking for as sophomore Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) won her second straight decision after tossing a four-hit shutout in the 1-0 victory over Niagara on Sunday morning in the final game of the Frost Classic.
A day after just missing out on her second career shutout against UT-Martin, Wolff took to the circle on Sunday and recorded the Bucs’ first blanking since defeating Belmont, 2-0, exactly 11 months ago in Johnson City. Wolff – who went 2-1 with a 0.79 ERA (2 ER/17.2 IP) this weekend in Chattanooga – struck out seven batters for the second consecutive outing, tying her career best.
With Wolff dominating in the circle, the Bucs gave the sophomore right-hander the one run to work with in the top of the second when fellow sophomore Nicole Fox’s (Peachtree City, Ga.) two-out RBI single through the left side scored senior Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) from third – giving the Blue and Gold the 1-0 advantage. Despite not being able to tack on more runs earlier in the inning as freshman designated player Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) led off the frame with a double to right-center and trotted to third on Campbell’s single up the middle, Wolff and the Buccaneer defense stepped up on a day when one run was good enough to earn the win.
From there, Wolff worked out of a minor jam in the third when Desarae Maldonado posted a one-out single and moved to second on Katelyn Gruarin’s single to the right side. However, with the game-tying run standing on second, Wolff forced Becky Zill to end the inning by lining out to Campbell at short.
Wolff again tossed her way out of some trouble in the fifth after Purple Eagles had runners on the corners with nobody out. The LaGrange, Texas native battled back by recording two straight strikeouts and forced Zill to tap one back to the circle for the final out of the inning.
The Bucs had a chance to break the game open in the seventh, but ETSU left the bases loaded after Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) and Wolff both struck out swinging to end the scoring threat.
After Wolff failed to add to ETSU’s lead in the top half of the inning, she retired the Purple Eagles in order in the bottom of the seventh, sending the Bucs back to Johnson City with the win.
Sophomore pitcher Kim Bryson suffered the loss (0-2) despite allowing one run on six hits, while striking out seven.
With the victory, ETSU has won two of its last three games and the Bucs pushed their record to 3-10, while Niagara dropped to 0-5.
Campbell enjoyed a two-hit effort after going 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) and Horner enjoyed a solid weekend at the Frost Classic. The Buccaneer duo both hit .412 – going 7-for-17 at the plate. Four of Horner’s seven hits went for extra bases as she ripped two doubles, a triple, and home run, along with driving in four and scoring two runs for the Blue and Gold.
The Bucs return to the diamond on Thursday, March 1 when ETSU takes on the Dutch National Team in an exhibition game in Knoxville. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.