JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 13, 2012) – For the second time this conference season, the ETSU softball team dropped a pair of one-run setbacks in doubleheader action, as the Bucs were swept, 2-1 and 1-0, at North Florida Friday evening at the UNF Softball Complex.
The Blue and Gold got strong pitching efforts from sophomore Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) and senior Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.), but the Buccaneer offense only registered one run on 10 hits in the two A-Sun contests.
ETSU – who has now dropped 12 of its 16 one-run games in 2012 – fell to 10-25, 0-8, while the Ospreys improved to 26-19, 7-5 in A-Sun play after the sweep Friday night in the River City.
The Bucs wrap up their stint in the River City when ETSU takes on Jacksonville in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at the JU Softball Complex.
Game One Recap
After tying the game on an RBI single by Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) in the sixth, North Florida’s Kelly Dill provided the eventual game-winning hit with a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the inning, lifting the Ospreys to a 2-1 win over the Bucs.
Sophomore right-hander Katie Wolff was solid in the circle as she allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits, but suffered the loss (4-13), while UNF’s Ashley Brown entered in relief to earn the win (6-6) after allowing two hits in 1.2 innings of action.
The Bucs out-hit the Ospreys, 9-6, but a costly error by Haley Thompson (Nicholson, Ga.) in the third led to an unearned run crossing the dish as Dill drove in the Osprey runner with a sac-fly to right. Meanwhile, juniors Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) and Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) registered two-hit efforts, while Hartnett reached base three times after advancing on wild pitch on a called third strike.
With ETSU being held scoreless in the first two innings of play, the Blue and Gold worked out a minor jam in the bottom of the second as UNF tried to use some small-ball to manufacture a run. Alyson Bailey led off the inning with a single to second – and after she advanced to second via a sac-bunt –Wolff struck out Marissa Thomas and forced Jackie Reese to ground out to short.
Like the Ospreys did in the second, the Bucs missed out on a scoring chance in the third and UNF made the Blue and Gold pay in the bottom half of the frame.
In the top of the third, ETSU had runners on second and third when Lower reached on a fielder’s choice and Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) connected on a single to center. However, with Martin moving to second on the throw, Thompson earned a walk – which would’ve loaded the bases – but Lower was picked off third to end the inning.
From there, the Ospreys grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the inning when Brittany Hendrix – who reached on the Thompson error to lead off the inning – scored the unearned run on Dill’s sac-fly to right.
ETSU continued to fight and claw for the remainder of the game and eventually tied things in the sixth.
The Bucs knotted it at one when Delisa’s two-out bases loaded single through the left side scored pinch runner Sade Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) from third, but despite the ball getting away from the Osprey defense, the ETSU runners had to stay put as it wasn’t far enough for Hartnett to score from third. ETSU left the bases full when Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) flied out to left to end the inning.
Unfortunately, the game didn’t stay tied for long as Dill led off the bottom of the sixth with her first round-tripper of the season – which proved to be the game-winner – as the Ospreys held on for the one-run victory.
The Blue and Gold didn’t go down without a fight as Lower led off the seventh with a single and moved into scoring position when she stole her first base of the season. From there, Lower advanced to third on Martin’s grounder to short, but the preseason all-conference selection was left stranded when Brown struck out Thompson and forced Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) to end the game with a ground out to third.
Game Two Recap
Senior Shelby Morris allowed one run on two hits in the complete game effort, but she was overshadowed by UNF’s Kayla Goff as she tossed a one-hit shutout to lift the Ospreys past ETSU, 1-0, in the nightcap.
Jackie Baird was the lone Buccaneer player to record a hit as she ripped a two-out double down the line in left, while Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) and Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) each worked walks.
In the circle, Morris tossed a gem but had no offensive support as the right-handed hurler saw her record dip to 2-9, while Goff improved to 7-6 in her seven strikeout performance.
With neither team recording a hit through two and a half innings of play, the Ospreys snapped the streak when Danica Mandarano led off the third with a double to left-center and later scored the game’s only run on Lauren Pollack’s two-out bases loaded single to left to grab the 1-0 lead. The Buccaneer defense did a great job limiting UNF to the lone run as Tara Hartnett threw a strike to Marlina Delisa at the plate to get Brittany Hendrix out as she tried to score from second.
After sitting down the first 11 ETSU batters she faced to start the game, Jackie Baird finally tagged Kayla Goff for the only hit with a two-out double down the line in left; however, following consecutive walks to Horner and Everett, the Bucs left the bases loaded when Sam Lower hit into an inning-ending grounder to short.
That was the only threat the Blue and Gold would throw at the Ospreys as Goff retired 10 of the final 11 hitters she faced to earn the victory.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.