JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 5, 2018) – Senior right-hander Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.) tossed a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts, while the Buccaneers plated two runs in the first two innings as ETSU softball shutout Western Carolina, 6-0, in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader from Betty Basler Field. In game two, freshman Ashton Hill (Dayton, Tenn.) broke a tie game by ripping a two-out, two-run scoring single to right-center in the bottom of the sixth to give ETSU a 3-1 lead. However, with two outs and two on, storms rolled in and forced a suspended game. The game will resume Sunday at 1 p.m., with Senior Day festivities and game three to follow approximately 25 minutes after the conclusion of the suspended game.
Ogle, who is playing her final games in Betty Basler Field this weekend, recorded her fifth career shutout on Saturday en route to improving to 10-13 on the season. The Maryville, Tenn. native moved into sixth all-time in shutouts, while moving into a tie for fourth after posting her 27th career win. Ogle’s nine strikeouts were one shy of tying her career high, while she worked clean innings in the first, fifth and seventh. The only scare she faced came in the sixth when she worked a pair of walks and allowed a runner to reach via an error, but she got out of the inning unscathed by striking out Kailey McNeil looking to keep the shutout intact.
Offensively, ETSU generated eight hits with Taylor Wright (Erwin, Tenn.) and Kelly Warren (Mechanicsville, Va.) both posting two-hit games, along with driving in two runs each. Red-shirt senior Kelsey Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.) reached base twice and scored two runs, while junior Vanessa Elliott (Johnson City, Tenn.) also reached twice and brought in the first run of the game when she worked a four-pitch walk in the bottom of the first.
With the win, ETSU has now won back-to-back games for the first time since March 18, and improved to 15-25, 3-11 in SoCon play. Western Carolina dropped to 15-34, 2-14.
In game one, the Bucs got all the offense they needed in the first inning as Elliott worked a bases loaded walk to plate Warren – who reached via an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error – while Nikki Grupp (Jacksonville, Fla.) later scored when Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) lined out and shortstop Ashlyn Long was charged with a throwing error after she tried to double up Elliott at first, giving ETSU a 2-0 lead.
The Blue and Gold added to their lead an inning later when Wright doubled home Chernak and Lauren Lee (Cleveland, Tenn.), making it a 4-0 score.
As Ogle was tallying scoreless innings, the Bucs extended their lead in the sixth as Warren slapped one through the right side to score Chernak and Anissa Avila (Black Mountain, N.C.) to cap it at 6-0.
Western Carolina’s Kinsey Liscio took the loss (5-10) as she was charged with four runs (three earned) on seven hits with three walks in five innings of work. Madison Armstrong recorded her ninth double of the season to account for one of the Catamounts’ two hits.
In game two, Vanessa Elliott belted her second home run of the season with a leadoff homer in the second, but Western Carolina tied the game at one on Erica Hayes’ two-out double in the top of the third.
After Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.) left two runners stranded in scoring position to end that third inning, the Catamounts threatened again an inning later. In the top of the fourth, Western Carolina had runners on second and third with one out when Abigail Daniels flew out to left, which appeared to bring in the go-ahead run. However, the Buccaneers appealed that Shaina Reed left third base early and won it to bring the run off the board.
From there, the game remained tied at one until Hill came through with her first RBI hit of her young career as she took a 2-1 pitch into the gap in right center to bring home Avila and Grupp, giving ETSU a 3-1 lead. Kelsey Smith (Tucson, Ariz.) then singled to left-center and right after the hit the game was suspended as lightning and rain reached the area.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball link.