Hardy sets single-season shutout record, Lady Bucs split with Kennesaw State
Saturday, April 25, 2009

KENNESAW, Ga. (April 25, 2009) - Junior Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) tossed an ETSU record-setting sixth shutout of the season and Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) scored the lone run of the contest on an error by Tiffany Alvarado in center, as the Lady Bucs ended a four-game losing streak with their 1-0 win over Kennesaw State in game one on Saturday afternoon at Bailey Park. However, the Lady Owls used a two-run home run from Klair Wells in the bottom of the fifth in game two, and forced a split with a 4-2 victory.


With the split, the Lady Bucs improved to 25-24, 6-14 in the A-Sun, while Kennesaw State saw its mark go to 21-30, 7-13. Following the game one win and Stetson's sweep over Belmont, ETSU solidified the number five seed in next month's Atlantic Sun Tournament and will face either Mercer or Lipscomb in the first round of the double-elimination tournament, which begins Thursday, May 7 at Stetson's Patricia Wilson Field.


Hardy and Kennesaw State's April Harper battled in a classic pitcher's duel in game one, but the Rocklin, Calif. native found herself on the winning side as ETSU took advantage of the error in the seventh. The junior right-hander, who broke five school records a year ago, etched her name into the books again by allowing five hits and struck out six Lady Owl hitters. Hardy improved to 15-13 on the season, while Harper dropped to 10-9 despite allowing seven hits and the unearned run.


After missing out on scoring opportunities earlier in the game and not pushing a run across the dish in the last 20.2 IP, ETSU capitalized on the error by Kennesaw State in center - which came off the bat from Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) - and Cason used her blazing speed to score from first to give the Lady Bucs the lead and eventual win, 1-0.


Kennesaw State didn't go down without a fight, but with a runner on second and two outs, Hardy induced pinch hitter Brittany Moore into a game-ending line out at third.


For the second time in the first three innings, the Lady Bucs placed runners in scoring position but failed to push any runs across the dish.


In the top of the first, ETSU had Jett and Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) on first and second, but April Harper worked out of the minor jam by forcing Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) to ground out to short.


Again, ETSU threatened in the third when Cason reached on a one-out single up the middle and Jett followed with her second infield hit of the game - putting runners on first and second with one out. However, after an Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.) sac but, Harper induced Massenzo into an inning-ending ground out to second, which kept the game scoreless.


The Lady Owls posed a threat in the bottom half of the fourth, but Hardy continued her dominance in the circle to keep the game knotted at zero. After retiring 11 of the first 12 hitters she faced, Hardy gave up back-to-back two-out singles to Kennesaw State, but the Rocklin, Calif. native got out of the inning by picking up her third punch out of the game by getting Jacki Waren out on strikes. 


Once again, the Lady Bucs looked to plate the games' first run in the fifth, but Harper continued to work some magic and get out of another pressure situation. Senior designated player Cat Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) worked a one-out single when second baseman Klair Wells lost the ball in the sun and the Grand Rapids, Mich. found herself in a rundown, but after bulldozing over Jamie Kekaualua, Zyskowski was called safe at second. Then, after Cason failed to get down a sac but, Jett singled through the left side; however, it was not deep enough to score Zyskowski from second. Unfortunately, Harper got Campbell out on a pop foul to Kekaualua to end the inning.


Fortunately, late in the game ETSU caught a break when Kennesaw State committed its sixth error in the last two days, and snapped a scoreless affair for the win.


Jett and Cason, ETSU's number one and two hitters, were solid in game one, as they combined for five of the seven Lady Buccaneer hits. Jett finished 3-for-4 with the RBI and Cason went 2-for-4 with a run scored.   


Game Two Recap

After the Lady Bucs grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth on Kala Tipton's (Church Hill, Tenn.) first collegiate hit and RBI, Kennesaw State's Klair Wells' two-run home run over the wall in right-center in the fifth proved to be the game-winner, as the Lady Owls forced a split with the 4-2 come-from-behind victory.


Kennesaw State's Amanda Burns tossed three scoreless innings of one-hit ball in relief and was tabbed with her third victory of the year. Catherine Tarvin started the game but was tagged for two runs on four hits in four innings of work. Junior Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) lasted 4.2 innings for the Lady Bucs, but fell to 8-7 after issuing three runs on five hits. Marissa Hardy closed out the game by tossing 1.1 innings and allowed one run on one hit.  


The Lady Owls took the early 1-0 lead in the third on Hollie Huffman's two-out RBI single up the middle - which scored Kelsey Kulk - who led off the inning with a double down the leftfield line.


ETSU did trail for long as they scored two runs on three hits in the top of the fourth and took a 2-1 lead. The Lady Bucs placed runners on first and third with one out after Trisha Massenzo posted a double to right-center and moved to third on Hardy's single to right-center. Then, after Chelsea O'Connor (Knoxville, Tenn.) entered as a pinch runner for Hardy and was caught stealing at second, ETSU took advantage of some command issues by Tarvin in the circle. Tarvin issued back-to-back walks to Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) and Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.), while Massenzo scored the Lady Bucs' first run on a wild pitch in between the Henderson at-bat. Then, with Martin on third and two outs, Tipton waited for the best time to post her first collegiate hit and RBI when her liner to right scored Martin - putting ETSU up 2-1.


However, the Lady Bucs' lead didn't last long as Wells posted a two-run homer over the wall in right-center - giving Kennesaw State the 3-2 lead with two outs in the fifth.


The Lady Owls tacked on one more run on Jacki Warren's solo shot in the sixth and Kennesaw State posted the split with the two-run victory.


ETSU resumes action on Wednesday, April 29, when the Lady Bucs travel over the mountain to take on Western Carolina. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 5 p.m. at the Catamount Softball Complex.


For more information regarding Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.