North Florida sweeps Lady Bucs in A-Sun opener
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 18, 2009) - When the ETSU softball team takes a look back at Tuesday's doubleheader with North Florida later in the year, the Lady Bucs will know they let two games slip right through their fingertips.


The Lady Bucs left a total of 15 baserunners stranded in two games, and after entering Atlantic Sun play red-hot, the Ospreys quickly cooled ETSU off by sweeping the Lady Bucs out of their newly built ETSU Softball Complex. UNF blanked the Lady Bucs 5-0 in game one and the Ospreys capped off the day by winning a 10-inning thriller, 3-2, in the nightcap.


ETSU, who entered league play winning 15 of its first 20 non-conference games, saw its record drop to 15-7, 0-2 in A-Sun play. Meanwhile, UNF remained hot as the Ospreys improved to 13-15, 3-1.


Junior Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) pitched well enough to win game two, but three Lady Buccaneer errors proved to be the difference maker. Gilbert suffered the loss despite allowing no earned runs in 10 innings work. The junior righty had her three-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 6-3 on the season.


The Lady Bucs looked like they were ready to bounce back from the loss in game one, as ETSU quickly plated two runs in the first inning of the nightcap. The inning began with four consecutive singles and Trisha Massenzo's (Russellville, Tenn.) single to center brought home Kate Powell (Johnson City) from third; while Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.) was gunned down at the plate by Ariana Godwin in center. However, with Godwin throwing home, Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) was able to advance to third on the throw, and after UNF's catcher Ashley Battaglia tried to throw Jett out at third, the junior from Talbott, Tenn. trotted home when Battaglia's throw ended up in left. Unfortunately, the Lady Bucs couldn't make a larger dent in the inning, as Massenzo was tagged out at home on Annie Martin's (Centerville, Tenn.) failed squeeze play.


North Florida cut its deficit in half during the top of fourth when the Ospreys took full use of two Lady Buccaneer errors - making it a 2-1 contest. Airen Payne reached on a Jett error at second to begin the inning and she came around to score after Campbell let a routine grounder go right under her legs at third.


Once again fielding miscues haunted ETSU in the fifth and the Ospreys tied the game at two, when Nicolette Chimato scored from second on Kara Rutenbar's infield single to short. Chimato was able to score after Hackworth let the ball drop right out of her glove at first and the UNF runner touched home when the ball ricocheted into the grass in right. 


ETSU missed a golden opportunity to take the lead in the sixth, but the Lady Bucs left the sacks full of baserunners when Shaina Dent struck out Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) to end the frame. Jett began the excitement with a double to left-center and after Massenzo worked a one-out walk, Martin moved the runners into scoring position with her sac bunt. Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) - who doubled as pinch hitter in game one - was called upon this time around and took Dent into a full count before earning a walk. However, with the bags full Delisa made Dent work in the circle, but the freshman hurler fanned the freshman slugger to end the inning.


Neither team made any noise in the seventh, but again the Lady Bucs looked to have some rhythm working in the bottom of the eighth. Campbell led things off with a single to left and advanced to second on Jett's sacrifice bunt. With Campbell on second and one out, Massenzo hit a soft roller back to the circle, and Dent quickly tossed the ball to third to get Campbell as the lead runner. (Annie) Martin kept the inning alive with a single up the middle -  but with a chance to end the game -  Dent froze Hackworth for the second time in the contest.


Then, after both teams were held scoreless in the ninth, the international tie breaker was used to determine the outcome; however, in the end it benefitted UNF. The Ospreys placed Britanie Block on second to start the inning and she was quickly moved over to third on a fielder's choice. With, runners on the corners and no outs, Battaglia made up for her throwing error in the first when her sacrifice fly to center was deep enough to score Block - putting Ospreys ahead 3-2.


ETSU had one more chance in the bottom half of the inning, but Powell's sacrifice attempt failed and Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) was doubled off at second as she was moving to third on the play. Powell's bunt popped up to Battaglia behind the plate and her throw to second just made it in time to get Cason heading back to the bag.


Dent moved her record to 6-4 on the year after going the distance and allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits.


ETSU vs. UNF Game One Recap

North Florida scored two runs in the first and that was all they needed, as the Ospreys shutout the Lady Bucs, 5-0.


Devyn Findley - who was coming off a no-hitter against Charleston Southern on Saturday - kept her scoreless innings streak intact by tossing her second consecutive shutout. Findley scattered seven hits and fanned three batters and improved to 6-9 on the year.


The Ospreys received RBI doubles from (Ashley) Battaglia and (Airen) Payne in the first and took an early 2-0 lead.


ETSU had an opportunity to push some runs across the plate in the bottom half of the frame, but with runners on second and third, Findley got (Jessie) Hackworth out swinging to end any scoring threat.


The Lady Bucs had the same situation occur in the third, but again with runners in scoring position and two outs, UNF escaped without any damage when Findley forced (Amy) Campbell to pop out to second.


UNF tacked on one more run in the fifth when Battaglia homered over the fence in left-center - giving the Ospreys a 3-0 lead.


Leaving baserunners stranded was a common theme for ETSU in the game, as the Lady Bucs wasted their third chance to push runs home in the bottom of the fifth. (Annie Martin) reached on an error by (Britanie) Block at short and (Cheniece) Cason singled through the left side on the next at-bat. After the runners moved up a base - (Trisha) Massenzo was hit by a pitch - which loaded the bases with two outs. However, (Marlina) Delisa was called in to pinch hit for Campbell and her grounded to third snapped any chance of a Lady Buccaneer rally.


UNF again escaped out of a jam in the sixth and Findley worked a perfect seventh to lead the Ospreys to their second conference win of the season.


Junior Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) was tagged with the loss after allowing five runs on six hits in seven innings of work. Hardy (8-3) struck out five and walked two.


Jett and Massenzo led the Lady Bucs at the plate in both games. Jett went 3-for-6 with a double and run scored, while Massenzo hit .400 (2-5) and finished with one RBI.


ETSU will look to bounce back and get its first conference win of the season on Saturday afternoon when Campbell rolls into Johnson City. First pitch of the double-dip is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside the ETSU Softball Complex.


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