Lady Bucs sweep Spartans for first two A-Sun victories
Sunday, March 22, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 22, 2009) - After struggling in it last two Atlantic Sun Conference series the ETSU softball team rebounded in a big way sweeping its doubleheader against conference rival USC Upstate, Sunday at Lady Buc Field in Johnson City, Tenn. With the two wins ETSU improves to a 17-9 overall record and 2-4 mark in A-Sun play, while the Spartans fall to 14-6 and are now 1-3 in league action.




In the opening game of the day both starting pitchers would have an easy first two innings, breezing through each lineup with little trouble. However, in the bottom of third after USC Upstate starter Morgan Childers retired the first two Lady Buc batters on just three pitches, ETSU would respond with a big two-out rally.


After back-to-back singles by senior second baseman Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) and leftfielder Kate Powell (Johnson City), junior catcher Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.), laced a single to left scoring Jett on the play, while Powell would come home after Childers relay throw sailed over the head of Upstate catcher Kim Brasil.  Then one batter later senior first baseman Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) add to the lead ripping a Childers fastball to center scoring Hackworth.


The score would stay 3-0 in ETSU's favor until the top of the sixth inning as USC Upstate loaded the bases with only one out. However, just when it looked like Upstate would find its offensive rhythm ETSU starter Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.), shut the door on the Spartan bats, allowing only a sacrifice fly by second baseman Courtney Feldon, giving the Lady Bucs a 3-1 lead after six.


The Spartans would go on threaten once more in the top of the seventh with runners on second and third and two outs. However, again Hardy would show her toughness striking out Brasil for the game's final out giving ETSU the 3-1 victory.


With the win Hardy moved her record to 9-4 on the season, after throwing seven strong innings, while striking out seven and allowing only six hits on the day.


Childers picked up her third loss of the season after allowing three runs (two earned) and six hits.


Offensively, both Powell and freshman centerfielder Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.), led the ETSU attack, going 2-for-3 at the plate, while Courtney Feldon led USC Upstate with a 1-for-2 performance.




After both teams combined for four runs and 11 hits in game one, the second game of Sunday's doubleheader would prove to be a pitching dual between ETSU junior starter Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Childers.


Neither team would have more than two base runners on through the first seven innings, as Gilbert and Childers combined to strike out 14 batters, while allowing both offenses to scatter only six hits. 


In the extra frame the defending A-Sun regular season champion Spartans threatened as Gilbert gave up a single to right by Heidi Gibbs to start the inning. After retiring centerfielder Crislyn Chewning, Gibbs would then advance to third on a wild pitch with one out. However, just like teammate Marissa Hardy did in game one, Gilbert would show her sturdiness on the mound forcing a pair of ground outs by Courtney Feldon and Amber Patterson allowing the Lady Bucs to escape with no damage.


In the bottom of the eighth ETSU would waste little time putting the pressure on the Spartan defense. Senior right fielder Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.), junior shortstop Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and Kate Powell all had three consecutive infield singles loading the bases with no outs. After Childers retired Katy Jett with short fly ball to right field, Trisha Massenzo would step-up with walk-off game-winning sacrifice fly deep to right field giving the Lady Bucs the 1-0 win.


With the complete game shutout effort Gilbert improved to a 7-3 record, while Childers drops to 10-4, despite striking out 10 ETSU hitters.


ETSU will look to build on its success as the Lady Bucs travel to A-Sun foe Stetson for a 2:00 p.m., doubleheader contest Thursday at Patrick Wilson Field in Deland, Fla.


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