February 09, 20181234567RHE
Radford0020031661
ETSU0000000021
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: MORROW (1-0) 7.020006
Loss: Madison Ogle (0-1) 7.066518
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
GAGLIANO (RAD) 412201
TAPIA (RAD) 312000
Nikki Grupp (ETSU) 301000
Tiffany Laughren (ETSU) 301000
February 09, 201812345RHE
ETSU010416131
Murray State7711X16160
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: CAMPBELL (1-0) 1.131120
Loss: Marissa Honeycutt (0-1) 0.247641
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
Lauren Lee (ETSU) 414000
FINCK (MUR) 423300
GILMORE (MUR) 323110
February 10, 20181234567RHE
ETSU0000010150
Radford000030X321
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: HUFFMAN (1-0) 3.020005
Loss: Kelly Schmidt (0-1) 4.112223
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
Nikki Grupp (ETSU) 311000
Tiffany Laughren (ETSU) 201010
Kelsey Chernak (ETSU) 301000
Kelsey Smith (ETSU) 301000
Vanessa Elliott (ETSU) 301000
GAGLIANO (RAD) 301000
WRATCHFORD (RAD) 211201
February 10, 20181234567RHE
Murray State0012002541
ETSU240001X793
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: Madison Ogle (1-1) 7.045168
Loss: CAMPBELL (1-1) 1.266621
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
CULVER (MUR) 322211
Lauren Lee (ETSU) 312000
Vanessa Elliott (ETSU) 412200
Kylie Toler (ETSU) 302200
February 11, 20181234567RHE
ETSU10100417130
Georgia Southern00011125102
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: Madison Ogle (2-1) 5.052220
Loss: H. Felt (0-1) 4.095000
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
Vanessa Elliott (ETSU) 413100
S. Wilson (GS) 323111
ETSU softball set to open 2018 season
ETSU softball set to open 2018 season
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bucs eye another run to NCAA Tournament

STATESBORO, Ga. (Feb. 8, 2018) – Coming off its first ever Southern Conference Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance, the ETSU softball team is set for a repeat as the Buccaneers open the 2018 season this Friday at the Eagle Round Robin in Statesboro, Ga.

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

ETSU vs. Radford, 9 a.m. – Friday | LIVE STATS

ETSU vs. Murray State, 11:30 a.m. – Friday | LIVE STATS | LIVE AUDIO

ETSU vs. Murray State, 9 a.m. – Saturday | LIVE STATS | LIVE AUDIO

ETSU vs. Austin Peay, 11:30 a.m. – Saturday | LIVE STATS

ETSU at Georgia Southern, 2 p.m. – Sunday | LIVE STATS | LIVE VIDEO

SEASON PREVIEW

The Bucs – who are coming off a historic season where the Blue and Gold totaled 29 wins – return 13 players from last season’s squad. The Bucs posted their second winning season in the 17-year history of the program after going 29-26 and finished third in the SoCon standings at 10-7.

The Bucs’ 2017 season was historic on many fronts as they also posted their highest winning percentage in program history, while 29 wins were the second-most by any Buccaneer team. ETSU also set single-season records in batting average (.285), doubles (80), RBI (218), walks (181), on-base percentage (.371), sacrifice flies (17) and saves (13). The Blue and Gold also went 13-5 (.722) at home, which set the single-season home winning percentage record.

“Last year was special, but now that we got a taste of winning a championship, we want to get another one,” said head coach Brad Irwin, who is entering his eighth season at the helm. “Last year we were built around power – looking to drive in runs with doubles and home runs. After graduating some key pieces, our make up this year will be a lot different. We will still rely on our power hitters that are returning, but this year we will feature more speed in the top the lineup and throughout our order.

“We had several good weeks of practice to prepare us for this weekend. We are all excited to finally play some meaningful games and hit the ground running.”  

ETSU graduated Danielle Knoetze (San Diego, Calif.), the reigning SoCon Player of the Year, all-conference selection Taylor Carter (Brazil, Ind.), SoCon Tournament MVP Lindsey Fadnek (Coalfield, Tenn.), Mykeah Johnson (Cohutta, Ga.), Brooke Baxter (Jasper, Tenn.), Rebecca Wahrmund (Morrilton, Ark.), and Sharlene Godoy (La Puente, Calif.). Knoetze, Carter and Johnson combined for 169 hits, 27 doubles, 25 home runs, 65 walks, 101 runs, and 98 RBIs. In the circle, Fadnek, Wahrmund and Godoy combined to pitch 169.2 innings with 13 wins, nine saves and 131 strikeouts.

Despite losing key production at the plate and in the circle, the Blue and Gold return 13 letterwinners from a year ago, including seven starters and three pitchers. Included in that group are preseason all-conference selections Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) and Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.), along with Nikki Grupp (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Kylie Toler (Bradenton, Fla.) – who both earned SoCon all-freshman team honors last season.

Laughren led the Blue and Gold in batting average (.373) and set the Buccaneer single-season doubles record with 18. The Erwin, Tenn. native also drove in 31 runs, posted 28 walks and led the team with a .479 on-base percentage. In addition to her time playing the outfield, Laughren has made 13 career appearances in the circle (four starts), posting four wins with one save in 27.2 innings. Meanwhile, Ogle set personal single-season highs in wins (12), appearances (33), starts (27), complete games (10), shutouts (2), innings (153.2) and strikeouts (96). Ogle was named to the 2017 SoCon All-Tournament Team after going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA (2 ER/17.0 IP) with one complete game shutout in three appearances (two starts).

Grupp and Toler are coming off productive rookie seasons where they combined for 61 hits, 12 doubles, 44 runs, 35 walks and 30 RBI. Grupp carries a streak over into this season as she reached base in her final 10 games to end the 2017 campaign.

Seniors Kelsey Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.), Kelsey Smith (Tucson, Ariz.), Emma Martindale (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Malloree Schurr (Montgomery, Texas) join Ogle in gearing up for their final season in the Blue and Gold. The group of seniors have played in 469 career games, consisting of 378 starts. Chernak – who is entering her red-shirt season – has played in 159 games (156 starts) with 102 hits, 22 doubles, 43 RBI and 64 runs. Smith enters her senior year with a shot to become the Bucs’ all-time home run leader as she has belted 21 over her first three seasons and is 13 shy of breaking Jackie Baird’s mark of 33. Like Laughren, Smith also has pitching experience as she has made 20 appearances (two starts) in her first three years with the Bucs. Smith’s four saves are tied for sixth all-time and is three shy of tying the Buccaneer record. Chernak will continue to get the starting nod at short, while Smith will move from third to first in replace of Carter. Martindale will also see more time in the outfield as she is coming off a strong fall season, while Schurr will switch from the hardwood to the diamond after the women’s basketball season wraps up.

In addition to the seniors, juniors Taylor Wright (Erwin, Tenn.), Maya Mathis (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Renae Spears (Memphis, Tenn.), along with sophomores Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.) and Quinn Giesick (Bakersfield, Calif.) all return for the Blue and Gold. Schmidt totaled 28 innings in 11 appearances (two starts) her freshman season en route to posting a 2-2 record with a 2.75 ERA. Wright – who played in 34 games (18 starts) – will be used a designated player, while Giesick finished with 21 hits, six doubles, two triples, 13 runs and 10 RBI in 35 games a year ago. Giesick will share time with Toler behind the plate and will also be used as the designated player.

“I am excited with the group of players that we have returning,” added Irwin, who enters the year needing four wins to become the all-time wins leader in school history. “We have a lot of experience returning and we are going to need them to produce throughout our lineup. It helps having a core group of veterans returning to help our younger players adjust as we open the season.”

With the departure of seven decorated players to graduation, Coach Irwin and his staff added 12 newcomers to the 2018 roster.

Irwin is excited about this new group and is ready for them to help build on the success set by the class a year ago.

“We are very excited about this group of newcomers,” said Irwin. “This class fills many needs as we lost a large group with the graduating seniors last season. I look for this group to do great things during their time in a Buccaneer uniform.”

The group features three transfers and nine true freshmen.

Sophomore outfielder Demi Coleman (Maryville, Tenn.) played her freshman year at Tennessee Tech last season, while junior outfielder Vanessa Elliott (Johnson City, Tenn.) returns home after playing two years at Walters State. In addition to Elliott, sophomore pitcher Marissa Honeycutt (Kingsport, Tenn.) also moved closer to home after spending one year at North Alabama.

The nine freshmen consist of Lauren Lee (Cleveland, Tenn.), Madison Webb (Concord, N.C.), Anissa Avila (Black Mountain, N.C.), Julia Fritz (Glen Allen, Va.), Kelsey Brown (Advance, N.C.), Mikah McCombs (Sale Creek, Tenn.), Kristen Hall (Jonesborough, Tenn.), Kelly Warren (Mechanicsville, Va.) and Ashton Hill (Dayton, Tenn.). Lee, Webb, Fritz, McCombs and Hill can either play the outfield or infield, while Avila and Warren are outfielders, Hall is an infielder and Brown is a catcher.

TOURNAMENT FIELD

This weekend marks the first of five non-conference tournaments for the Bucs this season. ETSU will open the season against Radford at 9 a.m., while taking on Murray State at 11:30 a.m. On Saturday, the Blue and Gold face Murray State (9 a.m.) and Austin Peay (11:30 a.m.), while wrapping up the tournament taking on tournament host Georgia Southern Sunday at 2 p.m. All of the games will be played at Eagle Field.

Click here for the tournament schedule and live stat links.

ABOUT THE OPPONENTS

RADFORD

  • Last season Radford went 27-28 and enter year one of the Hope Creasy era as she becomes the ninth head coach in program history
  • SophomoreHunter Mundy led the Highlanders offensively in 2017 posting a team leading .329 batting average and a team-high 32 RBIs.
  • Abby Morrowis geared up for her senior season after a pitching a team-leading 3.05 ERA in 2017 with 21 complete games. Morrow was named All-Big South Second Team Honorable Mention last year.
  • Marissa Gaglianoreturns as the everyday shortstop and was second on the team with a .278 batting average. She recorded 21 stolen bases in 2017, which was good for fourth in the Big South.
  • Radford was picked to finish fifth in the Big South coaches’ poll.

ETSU vs. Radford

  • Radford leads the all-time series, 17-11, but the Bucs have won five of the last eight meetings, including sweeping a doubleheader a year ago in Johnson City
  • This marks the fourth straight year the two programs will play
  • Last year, ETSU outscored the Highlanders, 14-5, while out-hitting Radford, 21-11
  • Madison Ogle tossed a complete game as she allowed three runs on five hits with five strikeouts in seven innings
  • Nikki Grupp and Quinn Giesick both went 3-for-6 in the doubleheader … Giesick drove in four runs and Grupp scored four runs

MURRAY STATE

  • Murray State is coming off a 36-20 campaign in 2017 where the Racers earned a trip to the NISC – their first-ever postseason berth
  • The Racers won 20 of their first 24 games to start the season
  • Of its 10 starters from a year ago, only two return for Murray State in 2018. The seven offensive players lost represents 57.7 percent of MSU's hitting from a season ago, 65.2-percent of its scoring, 72.6-percent of its run production and 77.0-percent of its power hitting
  • Murray State went 8-0 in its fall season this year with wins over Evansville, SIU and Saint Louis
  • The Racers were picked to finish fifth in the OVC and picked up two of the 12 possible first-place votes

ETSU vs. Murray State

  • The Bucs and Racers have met once in series history with Murray State defeating ETSU, 5-0, to open the 2016 season in Kennesaw, Ga.

ABOUT AUSTIN PEAY

  • Austin Peay went 17-31 in 2017, including a 5-15 mark in OVC play
  • Like Radford, the Governors are under new leadership as Rodney DeLong was named the program’s ninth coach in June 2017
  • The Govs return 14 letterwinners – including seven defensive starters – accounting for 79.8 percent of last year's total offense
  • SophomoreKelsey Gross is the only returning pitcher on this year's roster with NCAA Division I experience in the circle

ETSU vs. Austin Peay

  • Saturday marks the third all-time meeting between ETSU and Austin Peay with both teams splitting the previous two
  • The Bucs defeated the Govs, 7-6, on March 3, 2006, while Austin Peay blanked ETSU, 5-0, on Feb. 9, 2013

ABOUT GEORGIA SOUTHERN

  • Georgia Southern went 24-29, 12-15 (Sun Belt) in 2017
  • Head coach Kim Dean makes her Georgia Southern debut this weekend
  • Sophomore outfielder Mekhia Freeman earned preseason All-Sun Belt honors after hitting .323 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 25 RBI in her freshman season
  • The right side of the infield features returners as senior second basemanIndia Davis (.281, 7 RBI) and sophomore first baseman Shelby Wilson (.246, 3 HR, 14 RBI, team-leading 28 walks) are back for the Eagles. The other two returning starters are senior outfielder/shortstop Alesha Mann (.250, 1 HR, 14 RBI) and junior corner infielder Hannah Farrell (.132, 1 HR, 6 RBI).

ETSU vs. Georgia Southern

  • ETSU and Georgia Southern have met 16 times with the Eagles holding a slight 9-7 advantage
  • Sunday marks the first meeting between the two teams since March 26, 2005
  • The Bucs have won three of the last five meetings

FACILITY AND TICKET INFO
All games will be played at Eagle Field on the campus of Georgia Southern. The address is 615 Fair Rd, Statesboro, GA 30458.

Georgia Southern Softball is now a ticketed sport. For this weekend, fans may purchase an tournament pass for $15 which includes entrance to all 13 scheduled games. Fans may purchase a single-day pass for $10, which includes entrance to the scheduled games for that day (5 on Friday, 5 on Saturday, 3 on Sunday). Georgia Southern season ticket packages are good only for the six scheduled GS games this weekend. All seats are general admission.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here.

Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the gate.

CLEAR BAG POLICY
Consistent with other Sun Belt, NCAA and NFL policies, Georgia Southern Athletics will began using a Clear Bag Policy at all ticketed athletic events on Aug. 1, 2017.

You may find out more about what can and can't be brought into Eagle Field at http://gseagles.com/sports/2017/6/19/clear-bag-policy.aspx.

For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball page.