|March 10, 2017||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||R||H||E|
|Win: THOMAS (2-8)||2.1||3||2||1||0||1|
|Loss: Kelly Schmidt (1-2)||2.2||5||3||2||0||0|
|Mykeah Johnson (ETSU)||3||1||2||1||0||1|
|Tiffany Laughren (ETSU)||4||2||2||1||0||1|
|March 10, 2017||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Win: Bridgette Rainey (7-3)||1.0||0||0||0||2||2|
|Loss: Rebecca Wahrmund (1-1)||2.0||5||4||4||2||0|
|Danielle Knoetze (ETSU)||4||3||3||0||0||0|
|Taylor Carter (ETSU)||4||1||3||2||0||0|
|Ebonee Echols (MSU)||3||1||2||1||1||0|
KENNESAW, Ga. (March 10, 2017) – Delivering the knockout punch has been a daunting task for the ETSU softball team this season.
Entering this weekend’s Owl Challenge, nine of the Buccaneers’ 18 games have been decided by two runs or less. Despite being within striking distance in the majority of its games played, the theme continued on Friday.
The Bucs suffered an 8-6 eight-inning setback to Tennessee Tech, before falling 9-8 in a walk-off to Big Ten foe Michigan State in the nightcap from Kennesaw State’s Bailey Park.
Senior Danielle Knoetze (San Diego, Calif.) – who went 4-for-8 with three runs scored – registered her 100th career hit in her 100th career start in the opener against Tennessee Tech. Knoetze’s one-out single to left in the bottom of the seventh marked her personal milestone, while she followed that up with a 3-for-4 effort with three runs scored versus the Spartans. Knoetze has now hit safely in six straight games.
Junior Cassi Pickett (Chattanooga, Tenn.) – who moved her hit streak to five straight games – continued swinging a hot bat as she went 3-for-5 with one double, three walks, a run scored and three RBI, while Taylor Carter (Brazil, Ind.) and Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) both hit .500 on Friday. Carter – who has reached base safely in nine consecutive games – finished 4-for-8 with one double, one home run, three runs and three RBI, while Laughren was 3-for-6 with two doubles, one home run, three runs and three RBI.
As a team, the Bucs hit .349 (22-for-63) with seven doubles, three home runs and 14 runs scored. The Blue and Gold had their leadoff hitter reach in 11 of the 14 innings, but despite going 11-for-21 (.524) with the bases empty, ETSU went 8-for-32 (.250) with runners in scoring position.
The Bucs – who have now lost their last four games by a combined five runs – dipped to 8-12 on the season. ETSU takes on Tennessee Tech Saturday morning at 10 a.m., before wrapping up the day against tournament host Kennesaw State at 3 p.m. The Kennesaw State game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
TENNESSEE TECH RECAP
Taylor Carter, Tiffany Laughren and Mykeah Johnson (Cohutta, Ga.) all belted home runs, but it wasn’t enough to carry the Blue and Gold past Tennessee Tech in the opener as the Golden Eagles held on for an 8-6 eight-inning win.
Each homer tied the game up as Carter’s solo shot in the second made it a 1-1 game, Laughren’s blast in the fourth pulled ETSU even at two, and Johnson’s leadoff home run in the bottom of the seventh tied the game at five.
However, Tennessee Tech used the longball to its advantage in extras as Halli Davis’ two-run home run in the eighth inning pushed the Golden Eagle lead to 8-5. The Bucs battled in the bottom half of the eighth as Cassi Pickett doubled, which put runners on second and third with no outs. From there Taylor Wright (Erwin, Tenn.) drove in Carter – who was placed at second to start the inning – with a sacrifice fly RBI to right; however, with one out and the tying run at the plate Tennessee Tech worked out of trouble. Leig Thomas secured the win as she forced Kelsey Smith (Tucson, Ariz.) to pop out to second and induced Kelsey Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.) into a game-ending ground out to short.
Laughren and Johnson both finished with two-hit games as the Buccaneer duo also connected on their first home run of the season. Laughren and Carter both scored two runs, while Smith pulled the Blue and Gold within a run (5-4) with a two-out, two-RBI double in the sixth inning.
Like the Bucs, Tennessee Tech also connected on three home runs as Davis belted two and Alyssa Richard’s three-run homer in the sixth put the Golden Eagles ahead, 5-2.
The Bucs totaled nine hits against Tennessee Tech's pitching, but ETSU left nine runners stranded and went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.) got the start for the Bucs and she allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits with six strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Freshman Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.) suffered the loss (1-2) as she issued three runs (two earned) on five hits in 2.2 innings.
Tennessee Tech (5-15) pounded out 11 hits with Davis and Richard leading the charge. They combined to go 5-for-8 with three home runs and seven RBI.
Thomas earned the win (2-8) in relief as she allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits in 2.1 innings. Danielle Liberatore got the starting nod for Tennessee Tech as she was tagged for four runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and four walks in 5.2 innings.
MICHIGAN STATE RECAP
After suffering its third straight extra-inning loss earlier in the day, the Bucs looked prime for a breakout win as ETSU scored four first-inning runs, but couldn’t hang on as Michigan State rallied for a 9-8 win in the nightcap.
The Bucs struck for 13 hits with Taylor Carter and Danielle Knoetze each registering three hits each, while Kelsey Chernak and Cassi Pickett posted two-hit games. Knoetze scored three runs, while Pickett drove in three, and Carter and Tiffany Laughren drove in two runs.
Rebecca Wahrmund (Morrilton, Ark.) took the loss (1-1) in relief as she surrendered four runs on five hits with two walks in two innings. Senior Lindsey Fadnek (Coalfield, Tenn.) got the start and was given the four-run lead, but the right-hander couldn’t get out of the first inning. Fadnek allowed three runs on one hit and walked two before turning the ball over to senior Sharlene Godoy (La Puente, Calif.) with one out in the inning. Godoy allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and one strikeout in 3.2 innings.
ETSU stormed out of the gates as they plated four runs on four hits in the top of the first inning to go ahead, 4-0. The scoring spree started with a sac fly RBI from Laughren, while Carter doubled home a run and Pickett plated Carter and Knoetze on a single to right-center.
The lead quickly shrunk as the Spartans scored three runs on only one hit in the bottom half of the frame, making it a 4-3 game. The Bucs were haunted by inconsistent pitching as they walked three Michigan State batters and also plunked one. Two of the walks resulted in RBIs, while a sac fly plated the third run in the inning.
From there, the Blue and Gold held the one-run lead until Michigan State pulled even at four on Ebonee Echols’ two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.
The Bucs quickly answered with two runs in the top of the fifth to regain the lead, but the seesaw affair continued.
After Laughren smacked an RBI double and Carter followed with an RBI single, the Spartans rallied with four runs on five hits in the bottom half of the inning to take their first lead, 8-6.
Again, ETSU never hung its head as they were down two heading into its final inning when the Blue and Gold struck for two runs to tie it at eight. The first four Buccaneer batters reached to start the inning as Knoetze led off with a single and scored when Pickett worked a bases loaded walk. With no outs and the bases still loaded, Laughren – who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning – sprinted home a wild pitch to tie things up. However, with runners on second and third and still no outs, ETSU was unable to do further damage. Spartan pitcher Bridgette Rainey got out the jam by recording back-to-back strikeouts – and after walking Quinn Giesick (Bakersfield, Calif.) to load the bases – the MSU hurler induced Mykeah Johnson into an inning-ending fielders’ choice at second.
Unfortunately, with the game tied, the Bucs couldn’t send the game into extras as a leadoff walk to Kelcey Carassco came around to score on a fielding error by Giesick at second to send Michigan State home with the walk-off win.
Rainey – Michigan State’s number one pitcher – earned the win (7-3) as she tossed one scoreless inning.
Nine Spartans accounted for their 10 hits as leadoff hitter Lea Foerster went 1-for-3 with one double, a run scored and three RBI, while Echols went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run. Carrasco and Sarah Gutknecht each scored two runs.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball page.