Hardy, Hackworth guide Softball Bucs to split over Lipscomb
Saturday, April 5, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 5, 2008) - Sophomore right-hander Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) tossed her 13th complete game of the season and junior Jessie Hackworth's (Clinton, Tenn.) RBI triple in the fifth helped lift ETSU to a 4-1 victory over Lipscomb in Saturday's opener from Draper Diamond. The Lady Bisons managed to pull off a split by taking the nightcap, 3-2, on Abby Keese's game-winning home run in the bottom of the fourth.


With the split, ETSU moved to 17-25, 4-8 in the Atlantic Sun; while Lipscomb tabbed its first-ever win over the Lady Bucs and improved to 16-21, 7-5.


In the opener, both teams went down in order thanks to some key strikeouts; including Hardy freezing Lipscomb's slugger Abby Keese to end the first. The pitchers continued to dominate until Hardy faced some trouble in the third. After allowing a one-out walk to Megan Rottler, Hardy struck out Mackenzie Tucker; however Rottler stole second and advanced to third on a fielding error by Hackworth at third. The error prolonged the inning and Lipscomb managed to take advantage of the miscue when Sara Simons singled up the middle, scoring Rottler. Hardy did a great job holding Lipscomb to the lone run by fanning Keese for the second time and leaving runners stranded at the corners.


ETSU broke up Kim Jacobson's bid for a perfect game when Hardy worked a two-out walk in the fourth which led to the Lady Bucs' first run despite not recording a hit. Junior Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) entered as a pinch runner and stole her 11th base of the season, giving freshman catcher Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) a chance to drive her home. Henderson hit a routine grounder to short, but Keese let the ball go through the pipes and McCoy beat Tucker's throw home from left to tie the game at 1-1. Lipscomb threatened in the bottom half of the inning, but Hardy held her composure and left two Lady Bison runners on base when she forced Rottler to ground into a fielder's choice at third.


Hackworth made up for two fielding miscues earlier in the game by belting the Softball Bucs' first hit in the fifth. After junior Cat Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) worked a one-out walk, Hackworth found the perfect time to record her first triple of the season. Hackworth drove one to the right-center gap, giving ETSU its first lead of the afternoon, 2-1. From there, the Lady Buccaneers continued with their clutch two-out scoring plays thanks to sophomore Cheniece Cason's (Moreno Valley, Calif.) double to left-center. Following Hackworth's three-bagger, junior outfielder Kate Powell (Johnson City) used her speed to turn a grounder to third into an infield hit. Then, after Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) fouled out, Cason came through, pushing ETSU's advantage to 4-1 when her pop fly dropped behind the shortstop and in front of Tucker in left.  


Lipscomb tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the sixth and seventh, but Hardy buckled down. Hardy recorded an out on the Lady Bisons' leadoff batter; however, she placed runners on first and second with one out. She worked out of the jam by forcing Jennifer Allsup to foul out to Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) at first and Hardy tallied her eighth strikeout when she got Rottler out swinging to end any chance of rally in the sixth. The Lady Bisons Katie Brokmeyer led off the seventh with walk, but Hardy settled in and carried ETSU to its 17th victory of the year.


Hardy went the distance allowing an unearned run on two hits while striking out nine en route to her ninth win of the campaign. Lipscomb's Kim Jacobson saw her record fall to 2-7 after surrendering four runs (three earned) on three hits.


In the nightcap, Katy Jett snapped a 0-for-6 slump with her leadoff single to left in the first, but after stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error by Lipscomb's catcher, Alaina Jacobson struck out the next two Lady Buccaneer batters and forced Katie Henderson to fly out to center, leaving Jett on third.


Lipscomb jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second by taking advantage of two hits and a Cheniece Cason fielding error at short. The Lady Bisons first baseman Heather Collins led off the second by reaching on Cason's error and pinch runner Christy Grisham advanced to second on a sac bunt and scored on Christen Campbell's RBI single to left. After freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga) struck out Katie Brokmeyer, Lipscomb's Jennifer Allsup singled to left field, scoring Campbell from second.


The Lady Bucs tied things up at two apiece in the top of the fourth. With one out, Katie Henderson walked and moved to third on Trisha Massenzo's double to left. Senior second baseman Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) ended her 0-for-7 streak when her bloop single to short scored Henderson. Jessie Hackworth's squeeze bunt back to the circle plated Massenzo after Brokmeyer could not handle the throw home from Jacobson. Knight advanced to third and Hackworth eased her way into second on the play. However, ETSU could not break the game open as pinch hitter Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.) struck out and Kate Powell tried to reach on a bunt, but was out on the play. 


Unfortunately, ETSU's lead did not hold long, due to the fact Abby Keese led off the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run over the right-center wall, making it 3-2. Lipscomb then received a double from Campbell, but Boyd worked out of the jam by striking out Brokmeyer and forcing the next two Lady Bison batters to ground out.


ETSU missed out on a golden opportunity to push some runs across the plate in the sixth. Henderson and Massenzo led off the frame with consecutive singles, but Briana Knight failed to get down the sacrifice bunt as Henderson was called out at third. On the next at-bat, Jessie Hackworth looked to have singled to third, but the umpire called the liner foul - Hackworth eventually flied out to right. Jacobson got out of the inning by having McCoy fly out to second, leaving a pair of Lady Buccaneer runners left on the corners.


The Softball Bucs had the game-tying and go-ahead runners aboard in the seventh, but Jacobson struck out Henderson swinging to end the game.


Jett and Massenzo each recorded multi-hit games in the nightcap. Jett finished 3-for-4 and Massenzo went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Boyd (5-7) tossed a solid complete game, allowing three runs (one earned) while striking out three and issuing no walks. Jacobson earned her seventh win on the season, surrendering two runs on seven hits. 


The Lady Bucs quickly return back to the field to finish out a doubleheader with Belmont on Sunday. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. EST from Aquinas Field.


For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.