Hardy mows down the Blue Hose; Lady Bucs sweep Presbyterian
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 26, 2008) - This will be one birthday sophomore Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) will never forget.


The right-handed flamethrower punched out a new career high and school record 16 Presbyterian batters in the 6-1 victory, capping off a sweep Wednesday night from under the lights at Metro-Kiwanis Park. ETSU rallied back and defeated the Blue Hose, 6-5, in game one thanks to RBI doubles from junior Caitlin Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and sophomore Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.).


Hardy was untouchable in the first three innings as she sent nine straight PC hitters down on strikes. The Rocklin, Calif. native was perfect through 3.2 IP, but Laura Tate's double to left-center broke the no-hit bid. Rachel Parker's single on the very next at-bat split ETSU's lead in half, 2-1, but that was all the scoring Hardy allowed for the final three-plus innings.


ETSU received all the offensive output they needed during the first two frames. Sophomore second baseman Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) scored the first run of the game in the first inning. After Jett walked, she stole second and came around to score on Trisha Massenzo's (Russellville, Tenn.) RBI single to right-center. The Softball Bucs plated another run in the bottom half of the second thanks to Amanda Haverman's (Kirkwood, Mo.) run scoring single to left.


As Hardy was cruising in the circle, ETSU's two runs were golden, but for insurance purposes the Lady Bucs plated three more in the fourth and an additional run in the sixth. Freshman Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) made it 3-0 after she stole home on a double steal with Haverman stealing second. The Lady Buccaneers pushed two more runs across by taking advantage of a Pagie Cassidy throwing error in the circle. With one out and the bases loaded, Cason tapped one back to the pitcher, but Cassidy's low throw home went past Tate's glove, allowing Haverman and Kate Powell (Johnson City) to score.


Hardy continued to deal as she struck out two more batters in the fifth and broke her previous record of 12 when she got Tate out swinging for number 13 in the sixth. The hurler struck out one more Blue Hose batter in the inning and froze Erin Stewart for the second out in the seventh. Then, with 289 Lady Buccaneer fans on their feet, Hardy made history by sending Cari Clark down on strikes to end the game.


With the win, Hardy improved to 8-6 on the year and broke Belinda Barrera's four-year-old record with her 16-strikeout performance. Berrera struck out 15 back on March 13, 2004 vs. Towson. Hardy now has 125 K's on the season and 10 complete games. Cassady suffered the loss and fell to 3-7 after allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits in four innings of work.


Despite being out-hit nine to eight, ETSU still managed a way to rally back and defeat the Blue Hose in the opener, 6-5.


The Lady Bucs jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the first inning behind Katy Jett's scoring plays. Jett's RBI single to short scored junior Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) and two stolen bases by Jett put ETSU ahead by two after she stole home and Katie Henderson stole second.


However, the lead did not last long as Presbyterian scored four times in the third on two home runs. Amanda Miller led off the inning with a solo shot to left and with runners on second and third, freshman Katie Anderson knocked one over the leftfield fence, making it 4-2.


After freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga) entered in relief she kept the Softball Bus in the game by tossing 4.2 innings of one-run ball.


With ETSU down to its final two innings of work, the Lady Buccaneer bats finally woke back up and attacked the pitches of Mary Gordon in the sixth. Haverman began the rally by reaching on an error at second and Powell's blazing speed beat out a sacrifice bunt, placing runners at first and second with only one out. Zyskowski then found the gap in right and doubled home both runners, which put ETSU up 5-4. At the time Cheniece Cason's third double of the year seemed to plate an insurance run, but after Rachel Parker's homer in the seventh the RBI proved to be the game-winner.


Boyd picked up her third consecutive win and moved her mark to 5-3. The Chattanooga native allowed one run on five hits and struck out five in 4.2 IP. Gordon suffered the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 5.2 innings.


ETSU was led by Zyskowski's, Haverman's and Massenzo's three-hit efforts on the day, while a pair of Lady Bucs also extended their hitting streaks. Jett has now hit safely in five straight games and Powell is enjoying a season-high four game hit streak. Powell and Jett also posted two hits apiece and accounted for five of the 12 total runs on the evening (Powell with three, Jett with two).


The Softball Bucs have now won seven of their last eight and currently stand 16-18 on the year. Presbyterian has lost all 13 road games this season and fell to 9-20 in its first season at the Division I level.


ETSU returns to action this Friday as they host North Florida in conference action. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 2 p.m. at Metro-Kiwanis Park.