Bucs host Jacksonville and North Florida in conference play this weekend
Bucs host Jacksonville and North Florida in conference play this weekend
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fans are encouraged to bring their dog to the park on Friday, while Saturday is Father/Daughter Day

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 31, 2011) - The ETSU softball team returns to conference play this weekend when the Bucs host Jacksonville and North Florida in A-Sun doubleheaders from Betty Basler Field. On Friday, the Blue and Gold face league-leading Jacksonville at 4/6 p.m., while UNF makes a visit to Johnson City on Saturday afternoon at 1/3 p.m.

The Bucs enter Friday's conference showdown with a record of 13-17, 2-2 after having their doubleheader against Appalachian State called due to rain on Wednesday evening. ETSU was leading the Mountaineers, 3-0, in the top of the fifth inning when the crew chief sent both teams into their respective dugouts as rain slowly began to fall at Betty Basler Field.

Overall, the Bucs have won six of their last nine games and are coming off a sweep over Belmont last Saturday afternoon. During this nine game stretch, ETSU is hitting .331 as a team, while 24 of its hits have gone for extra bases. Individually, sophomore Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) is hitting .500 with five doubles, while freshman Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) has posted a .333 average with a double, triple, two home runs and 10 RBIs in her last nine outings. Meanwhile, in the circle, senior righty Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) and junior hurler Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) have earned three wins apiece for the Blue and Gold.

Jacksonville is one of the hottest teams in the A-Sun thus far as the Dolphins carry a perfect 4-0 conference mark into play on Friday. The Dolphins are 24-12 overall, and have won six straight and nine of 12 - including a 3-1 victory over then No. 22 Texas A&M back on March 17.

The Dolphins - who are led by ace Sarah Sigrest - lead the A-Sun with their 1.45 team ERA. Sigrest is 12-4 with a 1.07 ERA and has a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.8:1. In addition, Olivia Kline is 9-5 with a 1.61 ERA in 18 appearances (10 starts).

On Saturday, the Bucs will host their second straight opponent from Jacksonville as the North Florida Ospreys come to town for a conference twinbill.

UNF (17-18, 1-3) has lost six of its last eight games and will take on USC Upstate on Friday evening before heading to Johnson City. The Ospreys are coming off back-to-back splits over Mercer and Bethune-Cookman, and UNF has won three of its four games away from Jacksonville in 2011. Cortney Radke leads a UNF pitching staff that has posted six shutouts on the season, as she has gone 15-11 with a 1.99 ERA and has tallied five of those shutouts. At the dish, Jackie Reese and Maria Reynolds register the power numbers for the Ospreys as they have combined for 14 doubles and eight homers on the year.

The ETSU marketing department will be holding two special promotions on Friday and Saturday. Friday is "April Drools Day" so fans are encouraged to bring their dog to the park, while Saturday is "Father/Daughter Day." Dads who bring their daughter to the doubleheader will receive admission for only $1.

Fans unable to make the trip to Johnson City this weekend can view all the action online via A-Sun.TV (weather permitting), while live stats will be available through Gametracker.

For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.