Bucs take one from Catamounts
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (April 25, 2007) - The ETSU softball team split with Western Carolina Wednesday evening as Amanda Haverman's (Kirkwood, Mo.) game-winning three-run homer propelled the Bucs to victory in game one, 6-2; however, ETSU could not make it a clean sweep in the nightcap as Western took game two by the same score at the Catamount Softball Complex.


In game one, ETSU (24-26) plated the first run of the evening, when Jessie Hackworth's (Clinton, Tenn.) RBI single to center scored Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) in the third. Cason reached two plays earlier on a double to right center, marking her second hit of the day.  


Western Carolina (23-30) took its only lead of the game on Stephanie Beatty's two-run home run off Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.); however, the freshman hurler quickly settled down as she struck out the side to end the inning.


The Bucs regained the lead for good in the fifth, by scoring four runs on three hits to take a 5-2 advantage. Three of the first four ETSU hitters reached base as Cason and Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.) recorded back-to-back singles, and just like in the third Hackworth drove in Cason by reaching on a fielder's choice, which tied the game at two. The big play for the Bucs came two plays later, when Haverman belted the three-run bomb over the left field fence, giving ETSU the three-run lead. The home run was the sixth of the season for the Kirkwood, Mo. native, marking a new single season high for the junior slugger.


ETSU made it 6-2 in the seventh, when Hackworth drove in her third run of the game as she doubled home Jett from third.


After suffering her first collegiate loss on Saturday, Hardy bounced back nicely, allowing only two runs on two hits while striking out six en route to her fifth win of the season. The Rocklin, Calif. native, now has 46 strikeouts in 46.0 IP this season, while Haverman posted her team-leading ninth multi-RBI game and Hackworth recorded her eighth. Cason (three hits), Jett (two hits), Hackworth (two hits) and Haverman (two hits) tallied all nine hits for the Bucs in the win.


Despite a late rally, the Bucs fell short in the nightcap as poor fielding and untimely hitting hurt ETSU's chances to pick up its seventh sweep of the season. Four errors committed by ETSU accounted for four unearned runs in the 6-2 loss.


Freshman Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) cruised through the first two innings as she sent down the first six batters she faced; however, the Catamounts' Jamie Swank led off the third with a single and she quickly advanced to second on an error by Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.). Gilbert then retired the next two batters she faced, but a two-out RBI single by Mendy McKenzie put WCU up, 1-0. Western chased Gilbert from the circle an inning later after she allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits, which led to the six run lead for the Catamounts as the Bucs committed two more costly errors in the frame. Sophomore Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) showed some positive signs by tossing 2.1 scoreless innings in relief.


The Bucs finally ended Lauren Ross' shutout in the seventh when Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) singled in Hackworth and Jett, but Ross ended any threat as she forced Vercoe to ground out to third for the final out.


ETSU missed plenty of chances to push runs across the plate in the nightcap as they left 10 runners stranded, including six through the first three innings. The Bucs had bases loaded with one out in the third but failed to score any runs, and they could convert with runners on first and second with one out in the sixth.


Gilbert (9-13) suffered the loss even though she allowed only two earned runs in 3.2 IP, while Ross improved to 9-7 with the win.


The regular season comes to an end on Friday when the Bucs host Mercer in an A-Sun doubleheader at Metro-Kiwanis Park. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.