Lower, Duncan steer Bucs to split over Furman
Lower, Duncan steer Bucs to split over Furman
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lower sets career high with four RBI, Duncan strikes out six in eight-run win over Paladins

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 19, 2011) - Sophomore infielder Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) recorded a career high four RBI and senior right-hander Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) struck out six Furman batters, and the ETSU softball team snapped its seven-game skid with a 12-4 six-inning rout over the Paladins on Tuesday evening at Betty Basler Field. However, the Bucs were unable to pull off the sweep despite freshman righty Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) showcasing a solid complete effort, as the Paladins broke a 1-all tie by scoring two seventh-inning runs to force a split with a 3-1 victory over the Blue and Gold.

Not only did Lower shine in the game one victory by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored, but freshman infielder/catcher Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) tied a career mark with her three-hit effort. Baird belted two doubles, scored two runs and drove in the game-ending runs, while Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) and Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) were also productive in the bottom of the line-up. Hartnett recorded her third multi-hit game of the season after finishing 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Fox scored two runs and also posted two RBI in the lop-sided win.

Overall, the Bucs feasted on the Paladin pitchers as the ETSU hitters tallied a .354 batting average on the day, and pushed its record to 15-29 following the split. On the other side, Furman moved its mark to 14-25.

Game One Recap

The Bucs scored six runs in the second and Jackie Baird's two-run scoring double in the sixth gave ETSU the game-shortened 12-4 victory over Furman on Tuesday evening.

Jessica Duncan enjoyed the run support as she moved her record to 8-12 in the circle after allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits in six innings of work. Furman's Kayla Suskauer was tagged with ten runs (nine earned) on nine hits in four innings to see her record drop to 8-10.

In total, the underclassman were effective at the plate for the Bucs as sophomore Sam Lower drove in four, and freshmen Jackie Baird and Nicole Fox each finished with two RBI.

After the Bucs went ahead 1-0 on Amy Campbell's (Chattanooga, Tenn.) sac-fly RBI in the first, Furman hits a pair of doubles in the top of the second to even the game at one.

From there, the Bucs exploded for six runs on four hits in the bottom of the second to take a commanding 7-1 advantage. 

The Bucs quickly loaded the bases to start the big inning, thanks to a double by Wolff, single from Arielle Garner (Buchanan, Ga.) and a walk by Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.). With the bases packed and nobody out, Tara Hartnett put ETSU up 2-1 with a RBI single up the middle, while Fox's patient plate appearance paid off on the next sequence as she worked a full-count walk to bring home Hensley. Lower joined in on the fun as the Buccaneer leadoff hitter plated a pair of runs with a single to center and Fox scored the fifth run of the frame after she hustled home on a passed ball. Senior Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) capped off the six-run frame when her RBI grounder to third scored Lower - giving the Bucs a six-run cushion.

Furman pulled to within four runs (7-3) after Jessie Homesley led off the third inning with a single to left and came around to score on Hannah Pace's two-out double to left-center. Then, after Lower cut off the ball from left, she tried to get Pace out at second but her throw was offline, leading to the Furman runner scoring on the wild attempt.  

Fortunately, Lower bounced back from the slip-up in the bottom half of the inning when her single to second scored a pair of runs, while a RBI single by Fox put the Blue and Gold ahead, 10-3.

The Paladins put their fourth and final run on the board when Stephanie Field's solo homer in the sixth made it a 10-4 ballgame, but Baird finished things off in the bottom of the sixth when her double to center scored Lower and Henderson - putting ETSU up eight runs and ending the contest early.

Game Two Recap

Despite having scoring chances early in the game and Katie Wolff tossing seven solid innings, Furman forced a split by scoring two seventh-inning runs to take the nightcap, 3-1.

Wolff, who suffered the loss (1-8), allowed three runs on nine hits in the complete game effort, while Sam Lower's leadoff homer in the bottom of the first proved to be the only offense for the Bucs. Kayla Suskauer, the losing pitcher in the opener, bounced back to earn the win (9-10) as she limited ETSU to the lone run on six hits in seven innings.

After Wolff worked out of a bases loaded jam to start the game, Lower rewarded her with the solo shot in the bottom of the frame to put ETSU up, 1-0.

Just like in the opener, Furman struck for a run in the top of the second when Stephanie Field's two-out single to center brought home Emily Boyer to tie it at one.

Although the Bucs had scoring chances in the second and third innings, Suskauer held ETSU to only one hit from the fourth inning on.

ETSU missed a golden scoring opportunity in the bottom of the second when the Bucs had runners on second and third with one out; however, Nicole Fox hit into a fielder's choice and was thrown out as she tried to advance to second on the play. Fox hit a grounder to short, but Jessie Homesley came home on the play to get Arielle Garner at the plate, while catcher Hannah Pace's awareness paid off as she saw Fox going to second and her throw was on the mark to get the third out of the frame.

Then in the third, the Bucs loaded the bases with two outs, but Suskauer worked out of the mess by forcing Garner to line out to third.

With neither team being able to generate any offense during the third through sixth innings, the Paladins finally broke through for the two runs in the seventh to capture the 3-1 victory. Katie Michaels led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sac-bunt; however, Wolff looked to be getting out of the inning unscathed after she got Nikki Legg to tap into a grounder for the second out. Unfortunately, Homesley broke the 1-all tie by doubling in Michaels and she eventually scored on Morgan Hughey's RBI single.

The Bucs had the game-tying run at the plate in the seventh after Fox beat out an infield single with two outs, but Suskauer came back to get Lower to hit into a game-ending fielder's choice.

ETSU returns to action on Friday afternoon when the Bucs host Campbell in a conference doubleheader. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Betty Basler Field.

For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com or follow the Bucs on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ETSUAthletics.