ETSU has fun in home finale; Lady Bucs sweep Western Carolina
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 23, 2008) - The ETSU softball team received strong outings from Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) in the circle, and the Lady Bucs as a team provided some explosive offense en route to its sixth sweep of the season Wednesday afternoon from Metro-Kiwanis Park. The Softball Bucs defeated Western Carolina, 5-1, in the opener and swept the Catamounts out of the friendly confines with a 5-3 win in the nightcap.


With the sweep, ETSU closed out the home slate winning six of its last eight games and move to 26-29 on the year. The Catamounts - who entered the day on a positive note - dropped to 15-33 overall.


After Boyd received some defensive help in the top of first, the Lady Bucs attacked in the bottom of the inning to grab a 1-0 lead in game one. Boyd put the first two Catamount batters aboard, but she induced Amber Hawkins to line into a double play at short and retired the inning when Beth Hauser flied out to center. The birthday girl Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) led things off in the bottom half of the frame with a rocket to left and jetted her way to second for her 18th stolen base of the season. Then, after Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) worked the count, she drove home Jett with a scorching single up the middle.  


ETSU added to its lead in the second when Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) singled down the left field line and advanced to second on a fielding error. Fellow junior, Kate Powell (Johnson City), did an excellent job fouling off some pitches and finally found one to her linking as she drove home Hackworth with a single to right-center.


The scoring spree continued in the third as Jett scored for the second time of the game, and put ETSU ahead, 3-0. Like the first inning, Jett led off with a single to left and instantly stole second - which gave a Lady Buccaneer a chance to bring her home. That is exactly what Trisha Massezno (Russellville, Tenn.) did, as belted an RBI single to right.


Boyd cruised through the second and third innings, but faced a little road block in the fourth. The right-hander retired the first two Catamount hitters, but after surrendering back-to-back singles; Boyd settled in and froze Lauren Ross for the final out of the inning. 


The Lady Buccaneers tacked on a couple runs in the sixth to grab a 5-0 advantage. Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) and Hackworth started the fun with back-to-back one-out singles. From there, Powell loaded the bases after she reached on a bunt when Amber Hawkins' foot slipped off the first base bag. Then, the California girls each chipped in with the scoring plays, as Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) began the RBI madness with single to right-center and Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) wrapped things up when she brought home Hackworth on a fielder's choice to short.


The Catamounts broke up Boyd's shutout bid in the seventh on Lauren Ross' solo home run to left-center. However, the Chattanooga, Tenn. native returned to fine form and kept WCU off the board to earn her seventh win of the season.


Boyd tossed her eighth complete game of the year after allowing one run on eight hits; while striking out six and did not issue a walk. Ross saw her mark fall to 7-16 after lasting only three innings and surrendered three runs (two earned) on seven hits.


ETSU capped off the sweep by pounding out 11 hits in game two as every Lady Buccaneer player reached base.


Western Carolina jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on Jamie Swank's RBI single to right in the second, but the Catamounts left three of their 11 runners stranded when Darci Gilbert forced Danielle Reese to fly out to second for the final out of the inning. The Lady Bucs quickly evened things up in the bottom half of the inning as ETSU took charge of Michelle Tating's control issues in the circle. Hackworth, Powell, and Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) each came through with clutch two-out singles and Hackworth tied the game on Tating's wild pitch with the bases juiced.


The Softball Bucs scored three more times in the third thanks to five hits in the frame. All five of those hits came in consecutive form of singles as Vicki McCoy, Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.), Trisha Massenzo, Katie Henderson and Jessie Hackworth all knocked out hits. McCoy scored the first run of the inning after catcher Danielle Reese airmailed Stephanie Beatty at third - which also gave Knight the opportunity to move into third. Then, RBIs by Massenzo and Hackworth, forced the Catamounts to change pitchers as Lilly McDonagh entered in relief; unfortunately, ETSU left the runners aboard when McDonagh picked back-to-back ground outs.


Gilbert did an excellent job holding the visitors scoreless from the third through the sixth innings, and Massenzo's solo shot in the fifth gave the Murfreesboro native a four-run cushion, 5-1. Massenzo's blast over the right-center fence was her team-leading sixth bomb of the season.


The Catamounts rallied for two runs on five hits in the top of the seventh, but Gilbert struck out McDonagh with the bases loaded to end the game, marking her first win since March 20.


With the win, Gilbert moved her record to 4-8 on the year; while Tating suffered her eighth loss of the season. Gilbert allowed three runs (two earned) on 11 hits, but struck out a season-high six and only walked one.


As a team, the Lady Bucs hit .382 (21-for-55) on the day and 20 of those 21 hits were singles. Jessie Hackworth, Kate Powell, and Trisha Massenzo combined to go 10-for-17 (.588) with five runs scored and five RBI. Hackworth finished 4-for-6 with three runs scored, Powell was 3-for-5 with an RBI and Massenzo was 3-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored. In total, every Lady Buccaneer player tallied a hit on the day.


ETSU closes out its regular season schedule with two critical conference doubleheaders this weekend. The Lady Bucs begin play with Mercer Friday night at 5 p.m. from Sikes Field in Macon, Ga.


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