February 10, 20171234567RHE
North Carolina A&T0001000151
Win: Madison Ogle (1-0) 5.031002
Loss: HEADEN (0-1) 7.0106523
Nikki Grupp (ETSU) 403200
February 10, 201712345678RHE
Win: THOMPSON (1-1) 2.021110
Loss: Tiffany Laughren (0-1) 0.111000
Taylor Carter (ETSU) 423100
Tiffany Laughren (ETSU) 413200
February 11, 20171234567RHE
Alabama A&M0200000261
Win: Rebecca Wahrmund (1-0) 4.052025
Loss: E.Lipinski (0-1) 4.197520
K. Lang (AAMUSB17) 302210
S. Smith (AAMUSB17) 302000
Tiffany Laughren (ETSU) 313110
February 11, 20171234567RHE
Win: Lindsey Fadnek (1-0) 4.131133
Loss: THOMPSON (1-2) 5.044113
Danielle Knoetze (ETSU) 412100
Taylor Carter (ETSU) 312101
February 12, 20171234567RHE
Alabama A&M0200000262
Win: Sharlene Godoy (2-0) 4.042111
Loss: C. Hayden (1-1) 6.053340
I. Largin (AAMUSB17) 401000
T. Sanders (AAMUSB17) 301000
B. Foreman (AAMUSB17) 311000
A. Smith (AAMUSB17) 311000
D. Hansell (AAMUSB17) 301000
J. Alferos (AAMUSB17) 201210
Tiffany Laughren (ETSU) 313000
Bucs open season this weekend at Gardner-Webb
Bucs open season this weekend at Gardner-Webb
Thursday, February 9, 2017

ETSU to play five games in three days at AmericInn Classic

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. (Feb. 9, 2017) – After going through preseason workouts and practices, the ETSU softball team is set to open its 2017 season this weekend as the Buccaneers head to Boiling Springs, N.C. to play in the AmericInn Classic, hosted by Gardner-Webb University. 

“We are really excited to open up the season and are ready to go out there and compete,” said head coach Brad Irwin, who enters his seventh season at the helm. “We had a really good month of preseason practice leading into this weekend’s season opening tournament. The weather has allowed us to be outside more times than usual, so we feel we are as prepared as we can be. Our pitchers are ready to face opposing hitters and our hitters are ready to face opposing pitchers.” 


The Bucs open the tournament on Friday when ETSU takes on North Carolina A&T at noon, before wrapping up the day against tournament host Gardner-Webb at 4 p.m. 

On Saturday, the Blue and Gold play Alabama A&M at 10 a.m., while the teams will then be seeded based on their three-game record and be put in bracket play. The No. 1 and No. 4 seeded teams play Saturday at 2 p.m., while the No. 2 and No. 3 seeded teams play at 4 p.m. 

The two winning teams will play for the championship on Sunday at 2 p.m., and the two losing teams will play a third-place game at 12 p.m. 

The games will be played at Brinkley Stadium. 


Live stats for the entire tournament will be available via StatBroadcast.com. Click here to access live stat links. 


ETSU is looking to build off last season’s success where they finished tied for third in the Southern Conference. The Bucs – who return 16 players from a year ago – finished with a .500 mark in conference play in 2016. Overall, the Blue and Gold went 20-22, 9-9 last season. 

The Bucs had four players receive preseason all-conference honors as Danielle Knoetze (San Diego, Calif.) earned first team honors, while Taylor Carter (Brazil, Ind.), Lindsey Fadnek (Coalfield, Tenn.) and Kelsey Smith (Tucson, Ariz.) picked up second team honors. 

Last season, Knoetze and Carter combined for 85 hits, 18 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 50 runs and 43 RBI, while Smith belted eight home runs and drove in 24 runs in 37 games played. Fadnek registered 11 of ETSU’s 20 wins and struck out 94 hitters, while Smith also picked up four saves in 30.2 innings of work. 

The Blue and Gold return all seven of their pitchers who saw action a year ago … The seven hurlers either recorded at least one win or one save in the circle, and they also combined for three shutouts.

ETSU did graduate three of its top five hitters in Bethany Cowart (Ringgold, Ga.), Madison Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Sam Carpenter (Forest City, N.C.). The three seniors accounted for 97 hits, eight doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 51 runs and 53 RBI last year. 


North Carolina A&T is led by all-conference selections Raven Gray and Mohagony Headen … Gray – a junior outfielder – hit. 369 with eight doubles, four triples, four home runs and 29 RBI for the Aggies in 2016 … Headen – a sophomore pitcher – went 7-6 with a 4.33 ERA and pitched 106.2 innings a year ago. 

The Aggies finished last season with a 17-32 (6-9 MEAC) record and advanced to the MEAC tournament before being eliminated by Hampton. 

North Carolina A&T returns four of its top six hitters from a year ago – including sophomore utility player Zadasia Waddell … Waddell led the Aggies in home runs (8) and RBI (35), while she was second on the team in hits (43) and doubles (6) … Waddell also made 30 appearances (18 starts) in the circle where she earned five wins and two saves. 


Gardner-Webb went 21-33 (7-17 Big South) last season … Fifteen of the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ wins came at home in 2016. 

The Runnin’ Bulldogs lost their top three hitters from last season, but junior catcher/outfielder Rachel Cumiskey is GWU’s top returning player … Cumiskey hit .268 (42-158) with 11 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 27 RBI last season. 

In the circle, the Runnin’ Bulldogs return four of their five pitchers who made appearances a year ago … Senior right-hander Mackenzie Thompson is the top returning pitcher as she went 11-13 with a 3.71 ERA (74 ER/139.2 IP) in 26 appearances (23 starts). 

Gardner-Webb opens its season Thursday at USC Upstate. 


Alabama A&M went 12-35, 9-11 in the SWAC last season. 

Junior shortstop Tiana Sanders and junior outfielder Imani Largin were each selected to the preseason all-conference team … Sanders, who picked up first-team preseason honors, led the Lady Bulldogs in numerous offensive categories in 2016, including batting average (.352), hits (45), runs batted in (37), total bases (97), slugging percentage (.758), on base percentage (.428), and home runs (14). She ranked among the top five in the SWAC in six of those categories and started in 42 games. 

Largin earned second-team all-conference honors for A&M. Last season, she was ranked 10th in the SWAC with a .447 on base percentage. She was second in numerous offensive categories for the Lady Bulldogs including batting average (.349), hits (38), and slugging percentage (.486).


Below is a breakdown of the Bucs by infield, outfield, catcher and pitcher…


The Buccaneer infielders feature a great mix of upperclassmen, while a handful of newcomers and underclassmen can also expect to make an impact in 2017. The veterans of Taylor Carter, Kelsey Smith, and Kesley Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.) gives the Blue and Gold solid leadership. Carter started 39 games at first base for the Bucs last season, while Smith started 23 at third and Chernak started 11 at shortstop before suffering a season-ending injury. For their careers, Carter has started 89 games at first, Chernak has combined to start 96 games at either shortstop (53) or second (43) and Smith has started 45 games at third to go with 18 at first. 

Newcomers Nikki Grupp (Jacksonville, Fla.), Kylie Toler (Bradenton, Fla.) and Renae Spears (Memphis, Tenn.), along with sophomore Taylor Wright (Erwin, Tenn.) will also get playing time. 


We have a lot of experience returning in Taylor Carter, Kelsey Chernak, and Kelsey Smith. We also have two freshmen in Nikki Grupp and Kylie Toler, to go along with sophomores Taylor Wright and Renae Spears, who will all see playing time as well. With that experience and addition of the freshmen, we look for them to anchor us in the infield as well as being key figures for us offensively.” 


With the departure of Madison Boyd, Bethany Cowart and Jennine Duncan (Jonesborough, Tenn.) to graduation, the Bucs are forced to place some experienced players into new positions in 2017. In 2016, Boyd started 36 games in right, and one each in center and left, while Cowart started 35 in left and four in center, and Duncan got 20 starts in center. 

This season, Danielle Knoetze – who made 18 starts at third and 16 at designated player a year ago – will move to the outfield, along with fellow seniors Mykeah Johnson (Cohutta, Ga.) and Brooke Baxter (Jasper, Tenn.), junior Emma Martindale (Johnson City, Tenn.), and sophomores Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) and Maya Mathis (Chattanooga, Tenn.). Laughren – a SoCon All-Freshman Team selection – made six outfield starts in 2016, while Johnson made four starts in right. 

The Blue and Gold will also get an experienced player added to the lineup once the women’s basketball season is complete as two-sport star Malloree Schurr (Montgomery, Texas) made 19 of her 22 starts in the outfield a year ago. 


“Our outfield set up is a little bit different this year as we have experienced players out there, but for some of them, it will be their first time playing those positions in college. Tiffany and Mykeah started a few games for us last year, while Danielle was primarily used at third or designated player. We also look forward to getting the addition of Malloree once the basketball season is over. We have lot of different options in all three positions as well as some key offensive producers.”  


Junior Cassi Pickett (Chattanooga, Tenn.) will lead the group of catchers in 2017. Pickett has 59 career starts behind the plate in her Buccaneer career, while she’s also a dangerous threat to opposing teams’ pitchers. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native is a career .320 hitter (65-for-203) with eight doubles, 10 home runs, 29 runs and 36 RBI in 73 games for the Blue and Gold. 

Pickett will be joined by a pair of freshmen in Quinn Giesick (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Kylie Toler. Giesick played her high school ball at Liberty High School where she was a career .400 hitter, while Toler was two-sport athlete (volleyball/softball) at Braden River High School. 


“I am excited about our three catchers, especially the experience and leadership qualities Cassi brings to our unit. Our pitchers are very familiar with Cassi, and she has been a solid catcher for us over the last two seasons. Both Quinn and Kylie give us great depth at the position, and they have been working hard this preseason.”  


The Bucs are very deep and versatile when it comes to their 2017 pitching staff. All seven pitchers who saw time in the circle a year ago return for the Blue and Gold this season. 

ETSU’s pitching staff consists of seniors Lindsey Fadnek, Rebecca Wahrumund (Morrilton, Ark.) and Sharlene Godoy (La Puente, Calif.), juniors Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.) and Kelsey Smith (Tucson, Ariz.), and sophomore Tiffany Laughren. In addition to the returners, freshman Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.) will make her collegiate debut in 2017. 

Both Fadnek and Ogle have over 100.0 career innings, while Laughren went 2-2 with a 2.00 ERA (4 ER/14.0 IP) in seven appearances as a freshman. Fadnek led the Blue and Gold in wins (11), appearances (23), starts (17), complete games (5), innings (90.2) and strikeouts (94) in 2016. Meanwhile, Wahrmund has pitched for the Bucs over the last three seasons and is coming off her best collegiate campaign where she totaled four wins and a save in 17 appearances in 2016. Smith and Godoy were used out of the Buccaneer bullpen last year as they combined for six saves in 24 appearances. 


“We have a very deep and experienced pitching staff. I really like how each pitcher brings something different to the circle. We will look to use a staff approach in the circle this season.” 

For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball page.