|March 30, 2018||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Win: Megan Bilgri (8-4)||7.0||3||0||0||1||5|
|Loss: Madison Ogle (9-7)||6.0||1||2||0||5||10|
|Julia Fritz (ETSU)||2||0||2||0||1||0|
|Quirisa Mauga (MER)||3||1||1||0||0||0|
|March 30, 2018||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||R||H||E|
|Win: Jill McElderry (8-2)||7.0||2||0||0||0||3|
|Loss: Tiffany Laughren (2-2)||2.2||6||3||3||0||1|
|Emma Martindale (ETSU)||2||0||1||0||0||0|
|Julia Fritz (ETSU)||3||0||1||0||0||0|
|Caroline Taylor (MER)||3||1||2||1||0||0|
|Quirisa Mauga (MER)||3||0||2||1||0||0|
MACON, Ga. (March 30, 2018) – Despite holding the top offensive team in the Southern Conference to five total runs on eight hits in two games, the ETSU softball team was unable to take advantage of its solid pitching performances as Mercer shutout the Buccaneers twice on Friday at Sikes Field.
Senior right hander Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.) held Mercer to one hit and struck out a career-high 10 hitters, but it wasn’t enough as the Bucs dropped the opener, 2-0. Meanwhile, Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) and Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.) gave the Blue and Gold a solid showing in the circle in game two, but they were outdueled by Mercer’s Jill McElderry as she tossed a two-hit shutout to cap off the sweep with a 3-0 victory.
ETSU – who has scored only one run in their last 21 innings – had won the last three series over Mercer, but following the pair of setbacks, the Bucs dipped to 13-16, 1-3 in SoCon play. Mercer extended its winning streak to six straight games en route to improving to 24-10, 5-0. Friday marked the first time ETSU was shutout in back-to-back conference games since May 3-4, 2014, against USC Upstate.
In game one, Madison Ogle set a career high with 10 strikeouts, but it was her two-out throwing error in the bottom of the fourth that plated the only runs of the game. Ogle (9-7) – who struck out five straight hitters between the second and third innings – took a no-hitter into the fourth – but suffered the loss in the complete game effort. The Maryville, Tenn. native held the conference’s top hitting team to one hit, while walking five. Ogle became the first Buccaneer pitcher to post double-digit strikeouts since former teammate Lindsey Fadnek struck out 14 against Morehead State on March 5, 2016.
After Ogle left runners in scoring position in the first and third innings, the Buccaneer leader looked to have worked out of another inning unscathed in the fourth. However, with two outs and runners on first and second, Micayla Rood tapped one back to the circle but Ogle’s throw to first base was high, which allowed both runners to score on the play.
The Bucs had scoring chances in the fifth and seventh innings but were unable to find the timely hit. Julia Fritz (Glen Allen, Va.) led off the fifth with a double but was stranded, while she reached on a two-out single in the seventh, followed by Kelsey Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.) reaching on an error to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. But with two outs and two on, pinch hitter Quinn Giesick (Bakersfield, Calif.) ended the threat by flying out to shallow left-center field.
Fritz reached on all three plate appearances as she posted two singles and a walk in game one.
Mercer’s Megan Bilgri earned the win (8-4) after tossing a three-hit shutout with five strikeouts and one walk. Quirisa Mauga and Abby Walsh scored the runs for the Bears in the fourth inning.
In game two, the Bears gave Jill McElderry all the offense she needed by plating three third-inning runs to defeat the Bucs, 3-0.
Tiffany Laughren suffered the loss (2-2) after allowing the three runs on six hits with one strikeout in 2.2 innings, while sophomore Kelly Schmidt held Mercer to one hit over the final 3.1 innings with two strikeouts out of the Buccaneer bullpen. Laughren and Schmidt combined for zero walks, marking just the second time this season ETSU’s pitchers have accomplished the feat (Colgate, Feb. 18).
A leadoff single to Shaila Warren started Mercer’s third inning, while she later scored on an RBI ground out by Laurenne Sanchez. From there, Caroline Taylor followed with a two-out RBI single up the middle and she scored Quirisa Mauga’s double to left-center.
Following the Mauga double, Schmidt came out of the pen and retired 10 of the 11 hitters she faced.
ETSU’s two hits came via a one-out single by Julia Fritz in the fifth, while Emma Martindale (Johnson City, Tenn.) reached on a one-out single in the sixth.
McElderry improved to 8-2 after tossing her third shutout of the season.
The teams wrap up the series on Saturday afternoon with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Sikes Field in Macon, Ga.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball link.