JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 17, 2012) – After Presbyterian rallied from a two-run deficit in game one, the ETSU softball team returned the favor as the Bucs rallied from a 4-1 setback to capture a 5-4 win in the nightcap, courtesy of freshman outfielder Alex Everett’s (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) walk-off single in the seventh on Saturday afternoon at Betty Basler Field.
Everett – who already mounted an 11-game hitting streak to start her collegiate season – has now hit safely in eight straight games and has reached base in 21 of her 23 games played. For the day, the Soddy Daisy, Tenn. native hit .375 with three RBI in the doubleheader, while fellow newcomer Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) led the Bucs at the plate by going 5-for-7 with a walk, home run, three RBI and a runs scored.
While four Buccaneer players hit over .375 on the day, senior right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) helped guide the Blue and Gold to a win in the circle. Morris entered with one out and ETSU trailing 3-1 in the fifth, but the Mt. Juliet, Tenn. native stepped up and allowed one unearned run on two hits in 2.2 innings of relief to secure her first win in 2012. Overall, in her last three appearances (6.2 innings pitched), Morris has allowed only one unearned run, while picking up a save and a win.
With the split, ETSU moved its record to 8-16, while Presbyterian dropped to 8-13.
Game Two Recap
Freshman Alex Everett went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs, including the game-winning one as her two-out single to left scored fellow freshman Haley Thompson (Nicholson, Ga.) to cap off the rally, 5-4, in game two of the doubleheader.
Everett – who had a big hit earlier in the game by plating the game-tying runs in the sixth – was also led by Horner’s 3-for-3 effort at the plate. Horner also drove in a pair of runs and belted her team-leading seventh home run of the campaign, which has already surpassed the team-leader in 2011.
Morris earned her first win (1-5) of the year after allowing one unearned run on two hits in 2.2 innings of relief, while game one winner, Leslie Hensley, suffered the loss (5-7) as she allowed one unearned run in two-thirds of an inning.
After Thompson robbed Rachel Hooper of a bases loaded hit in the top of the first with a diving web-gem grab at second, Horner gave the Blue and Gold a 1-0 lead when she blasted a two-out solo home run to dead-center in the bottom of the inning.
Meanwhile, starter Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) worked out a jam in the second as Cat Tarvin reached on a fielder’s choice and stole both second and third to work her way into scoring position. However, following a walk and wild pitch to Jill McLean, Leon forced Tera Powell into an inning-ending grounder to third, keeping the Bucs’ one-run lead intact.
Presbyterian – who left the bases loaded in the first and runners on second and third in the second – finally plated a run without a hit in the third as Hensley was hit by pitch and later scored on wild pitch to tie it at one.
The Blue Hose broke the 1-all tie in the fifth as Presbyterian scored two runs on three hits to take a 3-1 lead. Rachel Hopper put the visitors from Clinton, S.C. up by a pair of runs when her two-run scoring double to left-center brought home Hensley and Morgan Durham, which also ended the day for Leon as Morris entered in relief. Morris limited the damage to the two runs as she struck out Lyndsey York – and after loading the bases – the Mt. Juliet, Tenn. native struck out pinch hitter Padgett Harrington swinging to end the inning.
Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) missed cutting the Bucs’ deficit to a run as she skied one to left-center but the ball hit the top of the fence and fell in for a double; however, Wolff was stranded at second as Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) flew out to left in the next at-bat.
In the sixth, Presbyterian took advantage of ETSU’s first error all afternoon when Powell reached on a throwing error by Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) at short and scored the unearned run on a wild pitch, giving the Blue Hose a 4-1 advantage.
Despite trailing by three runs after five and a half innings of play, the “Cardiac Bucs” strung together the four-run rally by plating three in the sixth and ended the game with Everett’s RBI single in the seventh.
ETSU mounted a game-tying rally by plating three runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at four. The first five Buccaneer batters reached to start the inning via singles by Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.), Thompson, Horner, and Everett, while Lower also reached on a walk. Horner began the scoring spree with an RBI single to right – and she advanced to second when York had the ball go right by her – putting runners on the second and third for the Bucs. Following the walk to Lower to load the bases, Everett found the right time to extend her hitting streak when her single to right plated the game-tying runs, making it a 4-4 ballgame.
From there, Everett stepped up again and came through with the clutch two-out RBI single to right in the seventh to finish off the comeback. Hensley recorded the first two outs with ease, but it was her fielding error on Thompson’s roller back to the circle which prolonged the inning and eventually haunted the Blue Hose. Following the fielding error, Horner moved Thompson to second with a single to left, while Lower was hit on the foot in the next at-bat to load the bases. With two outs and the bases loaded, Hensley had nowhere to put Everett, but the Soddy Daisy, Tenn. native zoned in on the first pitch as her single up the middle brought the Buccaneer faithful to their feet as ETSU forced the split in its home-opener.
Game One Recap
After seeing a two-run lead evaporate in the fifth and sixth innings and having the game-winning run stranded on third in the seventh and eighth, Presbyterian made the Bucs pay for not manufacturing the clutch hit as the Blue Hose scored the winning run with two outs in the top of ninth to cap off the rally, 5-4.
Despite tossing a shutout through four innings, sophomore right-hander Katie Wolff couldn’t bounce back after the Blue Hose tied it at two after six complete innings and suffered the loss (3-8). Wolff was tagged for five runs (four earned) on nine hits, while Presbyterian’s Leslie Hensley (5-6) outlasted the LaGrange, Texas native by allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits in the complete-game effort.
Casey Horner and Sam Lower each recorded a pair of hits and drove in runs, while Alex Everett extended her hitting streak to seven straight games following her 1-for-4 effort at the plate.
The Bucs jumped out to the early 1-0-run lead in the bottom of the first when Haley Thompson ripped a double to left to score Annie Martin from second. Martin led off the game by reaching on an illegal pitch and moved to second on Leslie Hensley’s second illegal pitch of the game. From there, Thompson stepped up by smashing her fifth double of the season, but after Thompson advanced to third on Horner’s fly out to right, she was picked off when Lower failed to lay down the bunt on the squeeze play for the second out of the frame. Hensley eventually struck out Lower swinging to get out of the first.
As Wolff was keeping the Blue Hose off the scoreboard through the first four innings, the Bucs rewarded the sophomore righty with a second run as Lower scored in the bottom of the fourth, making it a 2-0 game. Lower reached via a one-out double to straightaway center and moved to third on Everett’s infield single. With one out and runners on the corners, junior Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) hit a rocket single to left, but Everett rounded second a little too fast and was called out in a run down for the second out of the inning. However, Everett kept the run down going just long enough to give Lower the chance to score the second run of the contest.
Unfortunately, the shutout was erased and Presbyterian’s rally started with one out in the fifth as Courtney Lawton made it a 2-1 game with a solo homer to left.
Following the solo home run in the fifth, the Blue Hose tied things at two on Morgan Durham’s one out single to left, but after Durham moved to second on the throw things got a little wild. With runners on second and third, Rachel Hopper looked to have driven in the go-ahead run with a sac-fly RBI to center – which would’ve made it a 3-2 game – but the run was taken off the board after the Bucs appealed the runner left early at third for the final out of the inning. After meeting as a group, the umpires called Hensley out for leaving third before the catch was made by Martin in center.
The Bucs had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the seventh when Hartnett – who led off the inning with a single down the line in left – advanced to second on a sac-bunt by Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) and trotted to third on Jackie Baird’s (Ooltewah, Tenn.) fly out to right. However, with two outs and Hartnett at third, Campbell hit a sharp liner to left and Shelby Petik snagged the ball on a leaping catch to end the inning.
After the Blue Hose flashed some leather in the seventh, Campbell and the Bucs used some stellar defense to start the top of the eighth, but Presbyterian still managed to overcome the base-running blunder by scoring a pair of runs on RBI singles by Hensley and Durham to take its first lead of the game, 4-2. The Bucs got the lead runner out at third to start the inning when Campbell’s toss to Lower at third was in time to tag out Cat Tarvin. However, after grabbing momentum for a brief second, the Blue Hose responded with the RBIs to take the lead.
Just like Presbyterian did in the top of the eighth, the Blue and Gold posted RBI singles by Horner and Lower to pull even at four, but with runners at second and third and only one out, Hensley worked out of the jam. Hensley forced Everett to pop up to second, while Jill McLean robbed Hartnett of a hit at short to end the inning.
Not being able to plate the game-winning run in the seventh and eighth innings proved to be too costly for the Blue and Gold, as the Blue Hose finally scored the eventual game-winning run in the ninth on Tarvin’s two-out RBI double to right-center, making it a 5-4 game.
ETSU placed Hartnett on second to start the ninth and she moved to third on Delisa’s sacrifice bunt, but the Snellville, Ga. native was left stranded after Hensley forced Baird and Campbell into ground outs.
ETSU returns to action on Wednesday, March 28 when the Bucs host Western Carolina. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 4 p.m. at Betty Basler Field.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.