Bucs welcome in Morehead State, Bowling Green
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 1, 2013) – The ETSU softball team will host what is forecasted to be a cold and snowy Holiday Inn Buccaneer Challenge this weekend, welcoming Morehead State and Bowling Green to Betty Basler Field for a series of six games.
Saturday, Morehead State (2-5) and Bowling Green (3-2) get the weekend started with the tournament’s first game at noon. ETSU (6-6) is scheduled to play its first game at 2 p.m., versus Morehead State and close out opening day around 4 p.m., against Bowling Green. The second and final day gets underway at 11 a.m., as the Falcons and Eagles square off again. The Buccaneers then take on Bowling Green at approximately 1 p.m., before closing out the festivities against Morehead State at 3 p.m.
Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) continues to be ETSU’s offensive leader in the early part of the season. Through 12 games, Baird is hitting a team-high .571 with two homers, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored. Sophomore Casey Horner (Whiteburg, Tenn.) was 7-for-10 at the plate last weekend in ETSU’s three-game sweep of Siena, climbing her average to .433 with a team-high 12 RBIs. ETSU’s other .400 hitter is Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.), who is hitting just that to go along with five runs and five RBIs. On the base paths, Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) leads the team in steals and is 5-for-6 in stolen base attempts this year.
In the circle, freshman Sam Harrell (Okeechobee, Fla.) leads the way with a 2.37 ERA through 41.1 innings pitched. Harrell (3-3) had a tough weekend against Siena – allowed seven runs in 6.1 innings (7.74 ERA) – and will look to make her second weekend at home a better one. The freshman hurler has 27 strike outs to average 4.57 per seven innings and has walked just 16 batters to average just under three per seven innings. Junior Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) continues to be steady with a 3.90 ERA in 23.1 innings. Wolff (2-2) has 17 strike outs and also contributes at the plate with a .368 average. Junior transfer Elliana Cabrera (Hayden, Ariz.) (1-1) went 6.2 innings without giving up an earned run to Siena in the final game, lowering her ERA to 7.00.
Last Time Out
ETSU opened the home schedule last weekend with a three-game series against the visiting Saints of Siena College. The Buccaneers exploded for 17 hits in each game of the Saturday doubleheader to win by scores of 12-5 and 10-4. The series finale saw Siena score four runs in the first inning and take a 4-0 lead into the last, but the Bucs rallied for five to walk-off with the sweep, 5-4.
Senior shortstop Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) was the highlight of day one, launching her first two homers of the season over the left-field wall. The second of Lower’s blasts was a grand slam to put ETSU ahead, 5-1, in the second inning of game two. She wound up 4-for-7 at the plate with eight RBIs and four runs scored on the day.
Harrell pitched well through six innings of game one, giving up three earned runs while striking out two for her third win of the season. Wolff was the game-two starter, pitching a complete game and allowing three earned runs while striking out two.
Horner was the game-three hero. Siena pounced early and scored four runs – all charged to Harrell – before Irwin brought in Cabrera with one out in the first. Cabrera got ETSU out of the inning and kept Siena off the scoreboard the rest of the way to setup the comeback.
The rally didn’t begin until the seventh, when Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) led off the inning with her first home run of the season down the left-field line. After a hard line out from Sam Carpenter (Forest City, N.C.), Lower, Fox and Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) all singled to load the bases. A fielder’s choice to home put ETSU down to its last out, but Baird stepped up and singled to bring the scored to 4-3 before a Horner completed the comeback with a bases-loaded single for the, 5-4, final.
Scouting Morehead State
Morehead State competed at the UNC Wilmington Seahawk Classic last weekend, going 1-2 against Maryland-Baltimore County and Gardner-Webb. The Eagles got the tournament off to a good start by defeating UMBC, 7-1, but were 0-for-2 on Sunday with a, 9-5, loss to Gardner-Webb and a, 7-4, defeat to the Retrievers.
Amber Riddle leads MSU at the plate through its first seven games, hitting .389 with a team-high two home runs and five RBIs. Riddle is also slugging a team-best .778 and carries the highest on-base percentage at .556. Other Eagles hitting .300 or above include Elizabeth Wagner (.381), Kayla Ashbrook (.381) and Adrena Anderson (.300). As a team, the Eagles are hitting .274.
Katie Pfost and Kelcey McMurray are MSU’s two primary starters in the circle and carry very similar ERAs. Pfost boasts a 3.12 with a 2-2 record through four starts and 24.2 innings pitched, while McMurray sits at 3.13 through 15.2 innings pitched having made two starts. Greta Smeins is Morehead’s third option, carrying a 5.48 ERA in 7.2 innings with four appearances.
Scouting Bowling Green
Bowling Green participated in the Phyllis Rafter Memorial, hosted by Kennesaw State, last weekend, splitting four games. The Falcons defeated Youngstown State, 1-0, to begin the weekend, but dropped a, 5-0, decision to KSU and a , 12-7, game to Jacksonville State. BGCU wrapped up play on a good note, defeating Campbell, 4-3.
The Falcons’ other game came at the USC Upstate Spartan Invitational where they defeated George Washington, 1-0. The other three games BGSU was scheduled to play in the tournament were cancelled due to weather.
Hannah Fulk is Bowling Green’s top offensive threat thus far. Fulk is hitting .385 through five games with a run scored. Otherwise, BGSU has struggled at the plate with just a .176 team average.
In the circle, Paris Imholz has kept the Falcons in the win column with a 1.68 ERA in 16.2 innings pitched. Imholz averages 3.5 strikeouts per seven innings and has walked just six batters. Meanwhile, Jamie Kertes is the second option with a 4.42 ERA in 12.2 innings. Kertes has made three starts and struck out six.
ETSU is 5-3 all-time against Morehead State and 1-1 against Bowling Green. The Buccaneers had won five-straight against the Eagles before falling in their last meeting, 7-5, in 2011. ETSU’s last meeting with Bowling Green came in 2008, which the Bucs won, 5-4.
Live stats for all six games of the Holiday Inn Buccaneer Challenge will be provided through Stat Broadcast via ETSUBucs.com.
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