Lady Buccaneer rally falls short against Virginia Tech, 5-3
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 31, 2009) - Heading into the bottom of the fifth trailing 5-1, the ETSU Softball team strung together a brief two-run rally and also had the game-tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh; however, Virginia Tech worked out of a couple late inning jams to walk a way with a 5-3 victory Tuesday evening inside the ETSU Softball Complex.


With the loss, the Lady Bucs suffered their fourth straight defeat and saw the record fall to 18-13. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech won for the fifth time in the last seven games and improved to 13-17.


Juniors Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) and Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) highlighted the Lady Bucs offensively, as they combined to go 5-for-7 with a run scored and two RBI. Jett led ETSU with three hits (four at-bats) and a run scored, while Massenzo has now hit safely in all 11 home games and finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs.


Base running blunders could have cost both teams scoring opportunities early in the game, but the Hokies struck first - scoring three runs in the third. Junior right-hander Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) looked to work out of a jam in the inning, but with two outs, the Hokies received a RBI single by Charisse Mariconda to give Virginia Tech a 1-0 lead. Then, Hardy's second wild pitch of the game proved to be costly, as the Hokies scored two runs on the play and extended their advantage to 3-0. With runners on second and third, Hardy couldn't find the plate and the ball bounced to the backstop - and after Jenna Rhodes scored on the play - Mariconda trotted home when Massenzo's throw sailed to the left of Hardy at the plate.


ETSU began its rally in the bottom half of the fourth when senior designated player Cat Zyskowski's (Grand Rapids, Mich.) two-out RBI single to right scored pinch runner Kala Tipton (Church Hill, Tenn.) - cutting the deficit to 3-1.


However, the Hokies responded with two runs on four hits in the top of the fifth to grab a 5-1 lead. Virginia Tech's Amber Walker led off the inning with a single to center field - and after the Hokies tried to use some small-ball to move her into scoring position - they eventually ended up with a no-out bases loaded situation when the Lady Buccaneer defense misread back-to-back infield bunt singles. Again it was the Mariconda show, as she singled home her second and third runs of the game to make it a four-run contest. Hardy did an excellent job working out of the jam by striking out back-to-back Virginia Tech hitters and left two runners stranded.


The Lady Bucs didn't go down without a fight and had their chances to tie the game in the last two innings.


ETSU's bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth when Jett and Kate Powell (Johnson City) started the rally with back-to-back two-out singles. Then, with runners in scoring position and two outs, the Hokies went to the bullpen as Kenzie Roark entered in relief. Massenzo made the call to the pen backfire when she hit a laser to center and plated both Lady Buccaneer runners - making it a 5-3 contest. However, with Massenzo at first and the game-tying run stepping to the plate, Roark induced Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) into an inning-ending ground out to second.


The Lady Bucs gave it one last chance in the bottom of the seventh, but with Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) at third Roark got Powell out on strikes to end the game.


Abbie Rexrode saw her record improve to 4-6 on the season after allowing three runs on six hits in 4.2 innings of action. Roark - who kept the Lady Bucs scoreless for the final 2.1 innings - was rewarded with her second save of the season. On the flip side, Hardy saw her mark dip to 9-5 on the year, as she was tagged for five runs on 12 hits.


Mariconda led the Hokies offensively as she went a perfect 4-for-4 in the leadoff role, and combined the number-one hitters went 7-for-8 on the day with Jett's three-hit effort. Jett also extended her hitting streak to five games with her performance on Tuesday.


The Lady Bucs quickly return to action on Wednesday evening when ETSU hosts Appalachian State in a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. inside the newly built ETSU Softball Complex.


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