Massenzo, Jett and Gilbert help guide Lady Bucs to a split on day one of Charleston Tournament
Friday, February 13, 2009

, S.C. (Feb. 13, 2009) - After being blanked 1-0 by James Madison in its season-opener on Friday, the ETSU softball team bounced back in a big way, as the Lady Bucs pounded Howard, 12-3, forcing a split on day one of the College of Charleston Tournament from Patriots Point Stadium.


ETSU (1-1) responded nicely after dropping a classic pitchers duel in its season-opener, as the junior trio of Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.), Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) and Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) helped guide the Lady Bucs to their first win in 2009.


Massenzo went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and one run scored against the Bisons, while Jett was 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored. After surrendering three first inning runs, Gilbert settled in and kept Howard scoreless for the next three innings before she was relieved by a pair of Lady Buccaneer right-handers.  


Howard scored its first two runs of the game on Emily Johnson's one out double to left-center, which scored Courtney Young and Sondra Jones. Johnson came around to score when Jennifer Bien-Amie singled to right, giving the Bison an early 3-0 cushion.


In the end, those three runs wouldn't hold up for a Bison victory.


The Lady Bucs, who were held scoreless for the first nine innings of season, finally broke through by plating two runs in the third, four in the fourth, and two more in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.  


Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and Jett led off the third inning with back-to-back singles and both advanced a base following Jessica Hurston's wild pitch. With Cason on third and Jett on second, senior outfielder Kate Powell (Johnson City) drove in ETSU's first run of the season with a sacrifice fly to right. With Jett moving up on the sac-fly, senior first baseman Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) made it a 3-2 ballgame after she scored Jett with a RBI grounder to short.


ETSU finally grabbed the lead in the fourth, thanks to Massenzo's double down the left field line, which plated freshmen Chelsea O'Connor (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.). The Lady Bucs weren't satisfied with their one-run lead and extended it to 6-3, following Jett's RBI double to left and another RBI by Hackworth. Jett's double scored Massenzo from third and Hackworth - who reached on an error - brought home Jett from third as well.


Massenzo came through again in the fifth, as her single to second brought in O'Connor and Campbell, putting the Lady Bucs up, 8-3.


An inning later, ETSU pushed two more runs across the board. Hackworth worked a one-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on Katie Henderson's (Jackson, Tenn.) single to right. Eventually the sacks were full of Lady Bucs, as Henderson stole second and O'Connor got on base for the fourth time - reaching on a fielder's choice. Then, with the bases loaded, Campbell drove in her first collegiate run with a single to second, and Henderson scored ETSU's 10th run of the game when Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) grounded out to second.


Once again Cason and Jett packed the 1-2 punch for the Lady Bucs in the seventh. The junior tandem led off the frame with back-to-back doubles and ETSU went ahead, 11-3, as Cason scored on the Jett rocket to short. Then, freshman Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) drove in Jett - for her first career RBI as a Lady Buccaneer - to make it a final of 12-3.


After being limited to three hits in the season-opener versus James Madison, the Lady Bucs tagged Howard's pitching staff for 13 hits, as eight ETSU players recorded at least one base nock. Joining Massenzo and Jett with multi-hit games were Cason (2-for-4) and Campbell (2-for-3); while Hackworth also drove in two RBIs.


Gilbert tossed four innings, allowing three runs on nine hits while striking out three and issuing no walks. Freshman right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) and sophomore righty Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) each entered in relief. Morris tossed one scoreless inning, while Boyd held the Bison scoreless for the final two frames and struck out one Howard hitter.  


Howard's Jessica Hurston suffered the loss after being torched for 10 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits in six innings of work.


ETSU vs. James Madison (Game One Recap)

The opening game was a classic pitchers duel as both ETSU and James Madison were held scoreless for the first five innings, until the Dukes cracked the board with the game-winning run in the top of the sixth.  


Both teams had an opportunity to plate a run early on in the game, with ETSU leaving Kate Powell (Johnson City) stranded at third in the first inning. With out, Powell doubled through the left side, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. However, with two outs and the senior speedster on third, Meredith Felts got junior catcher Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) out swinging to end the inning.


Meanwhile, James Madison couldn't take advantage of putting runners in scoring position in the third and fourth innings. Junior Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) was dealing - as the right-hander retired the first eight Duke batters she faced - until Kaitlyn Wernsing doubled down the left field line with two outs in the third. The double didn't faze Hardy as she forced Shannon Moxey to fly out to Powell in left. Then, in the top of the fourth, Hardy easily worked through the first two JMU batters, but Julia Dominguez reached on an error, Courtney Simmons singled to left and both runners moved up a base after a wild pitch. For the second straight inning Hardy worked out of the jam by getting Brittney Dyson to pop out to right.


James Madison (2-3) finally broke through in the top of the sixth, as the Dukes used some small-ball to plate the games only run. Ashley Burnham led off the frame with a single to left, stole second and advanced to third on Amber Kirk's sacrifice bunt. After Dominguez walked, the senior designated player was picked off by Hardy, but Burnham was able to score - giving JMU the 1-0 lead.


The Lady Bucs tried to mount a comeback in the bottom half of the inning.


After Felts forced the first two ETSU hitters into outs, junior Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) became the first Lady Buccaneer runner to reach base since Powell's double in the first. From there, Powell recorded her second hit of the afternoon by singling through the left side; however, Felts induced Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) into a groundout to end the rally. 


In the seventh, Felts (1-1) struck out two of the three Lady Buc hitters she faced to earn her first victory of the season.


Hardy (0-1), who is coming off a program-best 19-win season in 2008, went the distance and allowed four hits, while fanning two. Felts was nearly flawless, as tossed a three-hit shutout.


The Lady Bucs return to action bright and early tomorrow morning when ETSU takes on College of Charleston at 10 a.m. Following its game with the host Cougars, ETSU takes on Akron at noon.


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