ETSU softball ends day one of Buzz Classic with a split
Saturday, March 3, 2007

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (March. 2, 2007) - The ETSU softball team kicked off the Buzz Classic on a high note Saturday morning by winning a classic pitchers duel, 1-0, against Morehead State; however, the Bucs could not pull of the sweep as they ran into troubles with Georgia State, falling 11-1 in the nightcap.


In the first game, ETSU got back into the win column as they shutout Morehead State, snapping a three-game skid. Sophomore Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) ended her four-game losing streak as she threw six scoreless innings, allowing eight hits while striking out three. Freshman Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) picked up her first collegiate save and the first save for the Bucs this season by tossing one inning in relief.


Vercoe cruised through the first two innings, but then had to battle through a wild third. After the leadoff hitter grounded out to second, the sophomore hurler put the next two runners on by allowing back-to-back singles. With runners on first and third and one out, Morehead State's Bri Jones laid down an unsuccessful squeeze play as Ashley Archer was tagged out by Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) at the plate. The Eagles next hitter singled, but another base running blunder by Morehead State ended the inning as Courtney Seiler was tagged out at home in a rundown.


The Bucs made Morehead State pay for its errors in the next inning when Vercoe led off the fourth with a walk and moved to second on Amanda Haverman's (Kirkwood, Mo.) sacrifice bunt. ETSU head coach Andrea Mangrum decided to add speed on the base paths when she brought in freshman Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) to pinch run for Vercoe. Her move paid off when Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) singled and then stole second, causing the Eagles catcher to commit an error, eventually scoring Cason for the games lone run.


Morehead State had plenty of opportunities to tie the game or take the lead in the final four innings as they had a base runner reach during each of those frames, but Vercoe settled down and relied on her defense to make plays in the field.


Vercoe helped the team out with not only her arm but her bat as well, as she picked up her third multi-hit game of the season, going two-for-two. Despite being out hit eight to three, the ETSU defense and pitching stepped up when they needed it to secure the victory.


Everything started off well for ETSU in game two, when Jessie Hackworth singled to right, scoring Vercoe who reached two plays earlier on a fielder's choice in the first. The run put the Bucs up 1-0 over Georgia State, and Darci Gilbert did her job early as she kept the Panthers off the board through the first three frames.


With the Bucs holding the one-run lead through three, Georgia State finally found its offense as they totaled 11 runs on 12 hits over the final four innings to pick up the 11-1 victory. The Panthers tied the game in fourth, and then a two-run home run by Nichole Griffin in the fifth proved to be the game-winner for Georgia State. Gilbert surrendered two more runs in the sixth, which led to a pitching for the Bucs as freshman Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.) entered in relief. Jett escaped the sixth without any problems, but the same could not be said in the seventh as she allowed six runs on six hits, which led to Georgia State taking the game, 11-1.


After earning her first collegiate save earlier in the day against Morehead State, Gilbert was dealt her fourth loss on the season (2-4) as she allowed five runs on 10 hits through 5.1 IP. Georgia State's Madi Gore improved to 6-2 as she allowed one run while striking out eight.


The Bucs conclude the Buzz Classic on Saturday when they take on Florida A&M at noon, and then face Big Ten foe Wisconsin at 2 p.m. ETSU will look to move to 2-0 this season against Florida A&M as the defeated the Lady Rattlers, 7-4, back on Feb. 19 in the Wilson Invitational.