Softball Bucs' surge in game two forces split with Upstate
Monday, March 24, 2008

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (March 24, 2008) - After being shutout by USC Upstate 6-0 in game one, the ETSU softball team forced a split by exploding for four runs in the fifth and five more in the sixth en route to a 13-6 victory in the nightcap Monday evening from Cyrill Field.


With the split, the Lady Buccaneers have now won five of their last six games and ETSU moved its record to 14-18, 3-3 in Atlantic Sun play; while the Spartans' record goes to 17-8, 3-3.


ETSU looked to have scored its first run in the second game on a Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) sac fly to left, but the play was reversed after sophomore Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) was called out at third for leaving early on the tag to end the first. However, the Lady Bucs made up for Cason's speediness and used some small ball an inning later to make it 1-0. Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) - who started the frame with a single to the right side - advanced to second on Katie Henderson's (Jackson, Tenn.) sacrifice bunt and came around to score on Marissa Hardy's (Rocklin, Calif.) single to right field after Heidi Goss could not make a play on the pop fly.


Freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) was looking brilliant in the circle through the first three innings. Boyd retired nine of the first 11 Spartan hitters she faced and left the tying run stranded at second after recording her first strikeout to end the third inning.


Despite posting one hit Upstate took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth. The Spartans tied the game at one after Melissa Lockey scored on a passed ball by Boyd, and a sac bunt by Tiffany Pitcher made it 2-1.


The Softball Bucs made sure Upstate's lead would not last long as ETSU scored four runs in the top of the fifth. Hardy began the fun-filled frame with a single to center and junior Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) reached on an infield hit to third. Caitlin Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) advanced the runners into scoring position with her sac bunt, which led to Cason's RBI single to left. Jett then made it 5-2 on her electrifying blast to left field, marking her third homer of the season.   


Upstate regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning thanks to Kim Brasil's first collegiate home run and runs scored by Shay Slater and Heidi Gibbs. Brasil's two-run homer cut the deficit to one, but two unearned runs put the Spartans back ahead, 6-5.


The sea-saw affair continued as ETSU jumped back in front, 10-6, in the sixth. Zyskowski's started the scoring when her sharp liner over the shortstop's glove plated pinch runner Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) and Hardy with two outs. Then, the Lady Bucs exploded with four straight hits, resulting in three additional runs coming across the plate. Cason's infield single brought Zyskowski home after she advanced to third on a passed ball and Jett doubled home two more.


ETSU continued with its scoring barrage in the seventh as Hardy's one-out double scored Henderson from second and put the Lady Bucs ahead, 11-6. From there, the Lady Buccaneers scored two more runs on a throwing error by Upstate's catcher.


Jett drove in a career-high five runs and Hardy became the ninth Lady Buccaneer player in program history to belt four hits in a single game. She joins Hackworth as the only other player to accomplish the feat this season. Hardy was a perfect 4-for-4 with a double and two RBI.


Boyd has now won back-to-back starts for the first time in her ETSU career and pushed her record to 4-3 on the season. The Chattanooga native went the distance, allowing six runs (two earned) on eight hits. Game one's winner Morgan Childers suffered the loss after surrendering six runs in 1.2 innings in relief. Childers' record fell to 14-4.


In game one, the Spartans plated their first three runs after taking advantage of a couple ETSU errors in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Shay Slater reached on a Cheniece Cason throwing error and scored on a miscue from Briana Knight (Brier, Wash.) at second three plays later. The error occurred when pinch runner Courtney Tate stole second and Knight dropped the throw from catcher Katie Henderson. Then, a double to left-center and a single to right plated two more unearned runs for Upstate. Sophomore Marissa Hardy ended and any more scoring opportunities by leaving two runners in scoring position as she struck out Ana Mitchell.


The Spartans' bats continued to stay alive in the third. Tiffany Pitcher's second double of the game scored a pair of runners, making it 5-0. However, ETSU finally caught some luck and lifted Hardy out of a jam. Upstate had runners on first and second, but Melissa Lockey was called out after leaving early and Ana Mitchell ended the frame as she was thrown out by Henderson. An inning later the Spartans were looking for some extra cushion, but a perfect throw from right fielder Katy Jett gunned down Slater trying to score from second.


Unfortunately, the Lady Bucs could not catch any breaks in the top of the sixth. After Cason stretched a blooper into a double to lead off the inning, pinch hitter Caitlin Zyskowski and (Katy) Jett both could not reach as their shots just missed staying fair down the left field line. Upstate's hurler Morgan Childers then recorded her seventh strike out on Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.), leaving Cason at second. 


Upstate made it 6-0 when Kim Brasil scored on a wild pitch from Marissa Hardy in the sixth.


After earning both wins against Gardner-Webb on Friday, Hardy was tagged with the loss. The right-hander allowed six runs (three earned) on 11 hits, while striking out five. Childers posted her fifth shutout of the season and moved her mark to 14-3.


ETSU will begin a six-game home stand on Wednesday afternoon when the Lady Bucs host Presbyterian College. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 4 p.m. at Metro-Kiwanis Park.


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