Softball Bucs split home opener with Tennessee Tech behind Hardy's career-high 12K's
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 12, 2008) - Sophomore Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) was almost untouchable in game one against Tennessee Tech Wednesday afternoon as she posted a new career-high 12 strikeouts and lifted ETSU to a 3-1 victory; however, the Golden Eagles' bats woke up in the nightcap and won 10-3 from Metro-Kiwanis Park.


Hardy, who has already tallied two 11 strikeout performances this season, went the distance and allowed only one run on three hits. She retired nine of the first 10 Golden Eagle batters she faced, including striking out the side in the third. After allowing Tennessee Tech to score a run in the fourth, the Rocklin, Calif. native settled down nicely and limited the visitors to only one hit in the final three innings. It was fitting that Hardy posted the new career mark, by fanning Landry Moore to end the game.


ETSU scored two runs in the second off Tennessee Tech's ace Sarah Street. The Lady Bucs received consecutive singles from Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) and Amanda Haverman (Kirkwood, Mo.), which led to the first run of the game. Haverman's single to right scored sophomore Trisha Massenzo (Russellvile, Tenn.), who reached two plays earlier on a fielder's choice. Then, Hackworth scored on Briana Knight's (Brier, Wash.) RBI grounder to first, giving ETSU an early 2-0 lead.


After the Golden Eagles cut the lead in half, ETSU plated an insurance run in the fifth. Sophomore Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) flashed some power with her RBI double to left-center, scoring Haverman from second. From there, the Softball Bucs rode behind Hardy's dominant effort in the circle for the two-run victory.


With the win, Hardy moved to 5-3 on the season and pushed her strikeout total to 72 in 62.0 IP. Hardy has also only allowed two runs on seven hits over her last four appearances (17.0 IP).


In game two, the Golden Eagles roughed up ETSU's pitching staff by knocking out six homers.


Sophomore Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) started for the Lady Bucs, but was pulled after surrendering two, two-run home runs in only 2.1 IP. Freshman Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga) entered in relief and did a fine job in keeping ETSU in the contest until she was tagged for two blasts in the seventh.


ETSU clipped the lead to 4-1, after taking advantage of two Tech errors in the third. Junior Kate Powell (Johnson City) singled to left and advanced to second on the Golden Eagles' first error in the frame. Powell eventually came around to score when shortstop Beth Boden dropped a routine fly hit by Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.).


Tennessee Tech added a run in the fourth and sixth, but freshman Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) made it 6-3 by sending one over the left field fence for her second homer of the season.  Unfortunately, the Golden Eagles broke the game open with three homers in the seventh en route to their 10-3 victory.


Gilbert saw her record drop to 2-8 on the campaign after allowing four runs in 2.1 IP, while Maddie Schmissrauter moved her mark to 3-4 by holding ETSU to three runs on seven hits in six innings.


Haverman, Henderson, Hackworth and Powell all enjoyed their home-opener as they combined to hit .391 (9-for-23) with three RBIs and five runs scored.


With the split, ETSU pushed its record to 9-15, while the Golden Eagles stand at 12-14-1 overall.


The Softball Bucs return to action this Sunday as they open up conference play with league newcomer and leader Florida Gulf Coast. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 2 p.m. at Metro Kiwanis Park.