Three ninth inning runs lift Bucs over Florida A&M, 7-4
Monday, February 19, 2007

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2007) - The final day of the Wilson Invitational proved to be much better for the ETSU softball team as they scored three runs in the ninth inning to knock off Florida A&M, 7-4, on Monday at USF Softball  Stadium.


            The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Bucs as they improved to 3-4, while the Lady Rattlers remain winless after their first eight games of the season. Freshman Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) entered in relief to earn her second win, and Florida A&M's Ashley Jones suffered the loss as she allowed three ninth inning runs.


            ETSU took advantage of pitching and fielding mistakes by the Lady Rattlers in the first as senior Stephanie Gaynord (Manassas, Va.) led off the game with a walk and eventually scored on a Florida A&M fielding error, giving the Bucs an early 1-0. Walks continued to haunt Florida A&M in the third when Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) drew a two-out walk and scored, thanks to back-to-back singles from Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) and Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.), putting ETSU up 2-0.


            The Lady Rattlers finally got on the board as Melissa Oliphant led off the fourth with a home run to left. Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.) walked the next hitter which led to the Bucs pitching change. Gilbert came in and got the next three outs to end any rally by Florida A&M. ETSU got the run back in the next inning as the Lady Rattlers once again could not overcome their pitching and fielding errors. Jett led off the fifth with a walk, advanced to third when Massenzo reached on a fielding error and finally scored on a fielder's choice.


            With the Bucs leading 3-1 in the sixth, things looked to be under control after Gilbert forced Oliphant to ground into a double play. However, the Florida A&M bats came alive as Ashley Jones singled to short, then scored one play later when Alacia Strafford tripled to right. After allowing a walk, Turelle Farmer singled to left, scoring Strafford which tied game at three.


            After the Bucs could not hold onto their one-run lead in the eighth, they made sure the three runs scored in the ninth would stand. With the bases loaded, Kate Powell (Johnson City, Tenn.) scored which would end up being the game-winning run when Haverman grounded out to short. The Bucs added two more insurance runs when Vercoe and Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) connected on back-to-back singles, giving ETSU the 7-4 advantage. Gilbert pitched a perfect ninth to give the Bucs their third win of the season.


            Haverman and Vercoe combined for three of ETSU's five hits and drove in four of its seven runs. Gilbert allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits in six innings of relief. Jett made her first collegiate start for the Bucs, allowing one run over three innings.


            The road trip continues for ETSU as they head to Richmond, Ky. for a match-up with Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.