ETSU softball leaves Georgia winless
ETSU softball leaves Georgia winless
Sunday, April 17, 2011

MACON, Ga. (April 16, 2011) - This eight-game road swing was a bit of a rough one for the Buccaneer softball team to endure as ETSU lost seven times on the turbulent trip, including a pair of setbacks on Saturday afternoon at Kennesaw State. The Owls swept the Blue and Gold 8-0 in six innings and rallied for 7-6 win in game two from Bailey Park.

ETSU was unable to get anything going offensively during this stretch of road games, as the Bucs were outscored 53-16. After the pair of losses on Saturday, the Bucs saw their record dip to 14-28, 3-13 in A-Sun play, while the Owls improved to 26-19, 8-5.

The Bucs, who were no-hit in game one, showed a lot of fight and determination in the nightcap, but ETSU was unable to close the door on the Owls for the win. Despite leading four different times in the ballgame, Kennesaw State managed to plate two runs in the seventh and captured the come-from-behind win.

Game One Recap

Three Kennesaw State hitters belted home runs and Jessica Cross continued hanging goose eggs on the Buccaneer offense by tossing her first no-hitter of the year, and the Owls steamrolled ETSU, 8-0 in six innings.

The Bucs, who were blanked for the fourth consecutive game in the opener, were no-hit for the second time on the season.

Kennesaw State used a five-run third inning to set the tone, while Ashlee Burkett ended things in the sixth when her two-run homer just hooked fair around the left field foul pole, giving the Owls an eight-run lead.

The Buccaneer defense made a statement early on as the Owls threatened in the first, but Kennesaw State was left scoreless when left fielder Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) gunned down Sara Sikes at the plate to end the inning. Sikes - who led off with an infield single - advanced to second on a sac-bunt. However, with Sikes on second, Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) robbed Jessica Cross of a hit as she snagged a liner at third, leading to Hartnett's heroics in left to keep the game knotted at zero.

Just as the Bucs did in the bottom half of the first, the Owls flashed some leather in the top half of the third to keep from Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) scoring the first run of the game. Fox led off the third with a walk and moved to second on Hartnett's soft roller to the circle. Unfortunately, Baird hit a rocket to second, but Stephanie Phillips robbed the Ooltewah, Tenn. native of a possible RBI single and Cross forced Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) to hit into an inning-ending out back to the pitcher to keep the game scoreless.

After keeping the Owls scoreless in the first two innings, Kennesaw State struck for five runs on three hits in the third to take a 5-0 lead. Jensen Hackett led off the inning with a walk and she instantly scored on Sikes' RBI double to right-center on the next at-bat. From there, Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) walked her second Owl hitter of the inning - and after falling behind 3-0 to Sharon Swanson - the KSU left fielder found a pitch in her zone as she blasted a three-run homer over the fence in left. The Owls weren't done leaving the yard as Brittany Moore's two-out solo shot gave KSU the five-run cushion.

Kennesaw State got an RBI single from Sikes before Burkett ended the game with her fifth round-tripper of the season with two outs in the sixth.

Cross saw her record move to 11-6 after only needing 51 pitches to record the no-hitter, while Duncan earned the loss (7-12) after being tagged for all eight runs on ten hits in 5.2 innings of work.

Game Two Recap

Despite holding a lead four different times in the nightcap, ETSU couldn't close the door on Kennesaw State as the Owls rallied for two seventh-inning runs to capture the sweep with a 7-6 victory in game two.

Sophomore Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) and senior Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) bounced back nicely after being no-hit in game one as the dominate duo combined to go 4-for-7 with a double, home run, three runs scored and three RBI. Freshman Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) finished with two hits and a run scored, while sophomore Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) drove in the go-ahead run with her RBI single to right in the top of the seventh.

Unfortunately, after Henderson gave the Bucs a one-run lead in the sixth with her two run homer - marking its first round-tripper since April 2 against UNF - and having Hensley put the Blue and Gold back ahead in the seventh, Kennesaw State dealt ETSU a heartbreaking defeat by plating two runs in the bottom half of the frame for the win.

Wolff got the starting nod in the circle and allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits in six innings of work, but was given the no-decision after junior Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) was issued the loss (6-9) after allowing the game-winning run to cross the dish in the seventh. Game one winner Jessica Cross - who scored the tying run in the seventh - earned the win (12-6) despite being charged with the go-ahead run in the top half of the seventh.

After being no-hit in the opener, Lower led off the game by poking a single up the middle, and Amy Campbell snapped a 23-inning Buccaneer scoreless streak when her RBI single to right scored Lower from second - putting the Blue and Gold up 1-0.

The Owls had runners on first and third with only one out in the bottom of the first, but Wolff worked out of the jam by forcing Sharon Swanson to line out to second and induced Bianca Durant to tap into an inning-ending roller to Arielle Garner (Buchanan, Ga.) at first.

ETSU had a chance to add to its lead in the second when Wolff and Mikayla Treadway (Unicoi, Tenn.) singled, but with one out and runners on first and second, Abbey Meixel struck out Nicole Fox and Lower to end the inning.  

Kennesaw State took full use of two Buccaneer miscues in the third to even things at one. Ashlele Burkett led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. From there, Sharon Swanson flied out to right - but with Burkett tagging to third - she scored when Treadway's throw back into the infield was offline making it 1-all.

Fortunately, the Bucs got that run back, plus an insurance run in the top of the fourth to take a 3-1 lead. Wolff led off the inning with a single to left and the Owls made a pitching change by bringing in Catherine Tarvin. Tarvin didn't last long as Hensley reached on a fielding error by Stephanie Phillips at second and Treadway walked to load the bases. With no outs and nowhere to put Fox, the Kennesaw State pitchers were in a big conundrum. Fox put more pressure on the Owls when she reached on a fielder's choice as Tarvin tried to get Wolff out at the plate on the the play. Wolff beat the attempt to the plate - and following a bases loaded walk to Lower - Tarvin was pulled with ETSU taking a two-run lead. However, the Blue and Gold were unable to make any more damage as Amanda Henderson entered in relief to work out of the bases loaded situation. Henderson recorded three consecutive outs to leave three runners aboard for the Bucs.

With the Bucs clinging to their two-run lead, the Blue and Gold slowly saw Kennesaw State rally for three runs in the fifth to take a 4-3 advantage. Durant tied the game at three when her double to the gap in right-center scored two runs, and Brittany Moore's two-out single went under Campbell's glove to give the Owls their first lead of the game.

The see-saw game continued when Henderson stepped up with a clutch two-out, two-run homer to left-center in the sixth. But the Owls pulled even at five in the bottom of the inning when Jensen Hackett hit a single to right, and scored the unearned run after Treadway misplayed the ball and was charged with the three-base error.

The Bucs regained the lead (6-5) in the seventh when Hensley's two-out chopper through the right-side scored pinch runner Sade Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) from second, but the wheels came off again in the bottom of the frame. Following Cross' leadoff double, Morris entered in relief and got Swanson to fly out to center for the first out. Then, Cross scored the tying run on Durant's single to right - and after Moore walked - Phillips reached on a fielder's choice as Durant was called out at third. However, ETSU was unable to get the third out to send the game into extras, as Morgan Chapman came up with the game-winning RBI single to short, giving KSU the one-run victory. Lower made an excellent play on the Chapman hit, but after she tried to get Phillips out at second, Moore's awareness kicked in by breaking home on the play.

The Bucs kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday evening when ETSU hosts Furman in a non-conference doubleheader from Betty Basler Field. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

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