ETSU softball remains red hot, sweeps Campbell Tuesday night
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

BUIES CREEK, N.C. (March 27, 2007) - The number three was an important figure for the ETSU softball team Tuesday night at Eakes Complex, as they used a three-run fifth to propel them over Campbell in game one, 7-4, and the Bucs scored three first-inning runs in the nightcap to come away with the 4-2 victory.


ETSU has posted back-to-back series sweeps, matching its longest winning of the season at four. With the sweep, the Bucs improved to 15-15, 3-1 in the Atlantic Sun, marking the first time since Feb. 17 they have been at the .500 plateau. Campbell has lost six of its last seven, and fell to 19-23, 3-5.


The Bucs scored first in game one when Marissa Hardy's (Rocklin, Calif.) two out double drove in Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.), giving ETSU an early 1-0 advantage in the second.


However, Campbell took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning after receiving four consecutive hits, but sophomore hurler Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) did an excellent job to get out of the second without allowing any more runs. With no outs and runners on second and third, Ashley Jones tried to score on a grounder to third, but was called out at home. Campbell then tried to get fancy on the base paths, calling for a double steal, but Hilary Wheatley became the second out at home when senior Stephanie Gaynord (Manassas, Va.) gunned her down from short, and Vercoe got out of the wild inning by striking out Jessica Huffman.


Both teams pushed a run across the plate in the third, but the Bucs offense remained on fire by scoring three in the fifth and two more in the six to open the game up. Gaynord kicked things off in the fifth with an infield single, and quickly scored on Katy Jett's (Talbot, Tenn.) double to left center, which tied the game at three. After back-to-back outs, ETSU's clutch offense kicked into gear as they received an RBI single by junior Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.), and she came in to score when Knight recorded her first triple of the season, giving the Bucs a 5-3 lead.


The Lady Camels would cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth, but Vercoe left the tying run at third when she forced Karlie Love to tap one back to the mound.


The Bucs added two insurance runs in the sixth as they took advantage of a couple walks from Brittany Stanley. Hardy led off the sixth with a walk and eventually scored on Jett's second double of the game. Gaynord also drew a walk and would come across to score on a Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) sacrifice bunt.


Vercoe cruised through the final two innings as she retired six of the final seven Campbell hitters to earn her eighth win of the season. The sophomore standout went the distance and allowed four runs (three earned) on 10 hits.


In game two, the Bucs bats came to life early, by pushing three runs across the board in the first inning. ETSU began the game with three straight hits as Gaynord kicked things off with a leadoff triple. She quickly scored when Jett singled up the middle, and Hackworth joined in on the hit parade with a single to left. Jett and Hackworth each moved up a base on a wild pitch by Stanley, while Vercoe drove in Jett on an RBI grounder to second and Hackworth scored when Knight singled up the middle.


Freshman Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) kept the Lady Camels in check, until Courtney Quinn led off the fourth with a triple and scored on Love's sacrifice fly. However, Gilbert quickly regained her rhythm and got out of the inning with ease.


The lethal duo of Gaynord and Jett continued to give Campbell's pitching a headache as Gaynord singled in the fifth and scored when Jett smacked her third double of the night, giving ETSU a 4-1 lead.


Gilbert was then faced with a huge test in the sixth as she allowed four straight hits to start the inning. With nobody out and the bases loaded and one run already in, Gilbert forced Jessica Huffman to hit into an infield fly, and got out of the jam by getting pinch hitter Cassie Webb to line into a double play.


After allowing a leadoff single in the seventh, Hardy came in to relieve Gilbert, and she got the job done for her first collegiate save. Hardy walked the first batter she faced, but got the next three Lady Camel hitters out to end the game.


Gilbert earned her second straight win by working 6.0 innings and allowing two runs on 10 hits. Freshman (Katy) Jett had an outstanding pair of games as she went 5-for-8 (.625) with three doubles, four RBI and three runs scored.


ETSU will have a very quick turnaround as they host Appalachian State tomorrow at Metro-Kiwanis Park. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.