ETSU to take on St. Francis (PA), Gardner-Webb and Bowling Green
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. (Feb. 21, 2019) – The ETSU Softball team will look to continue its best start in program history this weekend when the Bucs take part in the GWU Softball Tournament hosted by Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C. ETSU will kick off the tournament on Friday with a doubleheader against St. Francis (PA) at noon, followed by host Gardner-Webb at 4 p.m. The Bucs will take on the Red Flash and Runnin’ Bulldogs twice this weekend, in addition to squaring off with Bowling Green.
Date: Friday, Feb. 22 – Sunday, Feb. 24
Location: Boiling Springs, N.C. | Brinkley Stadium
Teams: ETSU (6-1-2), St. Francis (5-4), Gardner-Webb (6-2), Bowling Green (0-3)
Tournament Central: All live stats/live video can be found at etsubucs.com
Twitter Updates: @ETSUSoftball
Red Hot Start
The Bucs enter the third weekend with a 6-1-2 overall record, recording a .778 winning percentage in the first nine games. The .778 win percentage is the best mark through the first nine games in program history. ETSU’s six wins also marks the third time in school history that the Bucs have started the season with six wins in nine games, matching the wins total in 2009 and 2010. Three of ETSU’s wins have come via the shutout, including two last weekend at the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational hosted by Charleston Southern.
This Girl is on FIRE
ETSU is led in the circle by junior right hander, Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.). Schmidt was recently named Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week for the first time in her career after finishing 2-0 last week with a 1.00 ERA and two complete-game, shutout victories. The Georgia native punched out 17 batters in 14 innings, including a career-high 11 strikeouts against Detroit Mercy on Friday, Feb. 15 in a 1-0 victory. Schmidt is 3-0 on the season and ranks third in the SoCon in ERA (2.04), opposing batting average (.239) and strikeouts (24).
Battling the Bucs
ETSU has proven to be a tough out this season, falling just once to Virginia Tech by the final of 8-3. The Bucs are getting things done in all facets of the game, ranking second in batting average (.308), runs scored (59), RBIs (52) and leading the conference in walks (37) and stolen bases (16). Taylor Wright (Erwin, Tenn.) leads the way with a .429 batting average and six RBIs. Lauren Lee (Cleveland, Tenn.) ranks fifth in the conference in batting average (.379), while Nikki Grupp (Jacksonville, Fla.) leads the team and ranks second in runs batted in with 10. ETSU’s 3.25 ERA and .273 opposing batting average also ranks second in the league, led by the performance from Schmidt.
Squaring up with St. Francis
The Red Flash are 5-4 heading into the tournament in Boiling Springs, having split four games at the East Carolina Pirate Clash last weekend in Greenville, N.C. Hayley Norton is the premier contributor at the plate for the Red Flash, batting .536 with three long balls and 10 runs batted in. As a team, St. Francis is batting .306 with eight home runs and 47 RBIs. Meadow Uncapher leads the team in pitching with a 2-0 record in three games started. The freshman pitcher has a 0.00 ERA in 16 innings of work.
The Bucs are 2-0 all-time against St. Francis, outscoring the Red Flash by a combined 17-1. The last meeting fell in favor of ETSU by the final score of 8-0 on Feb. 22, 2008.
Figuring out the Falcons
Bowling Green is winless in its first three games heading into the weekend tournament. The Falcons have been outscored 17-5, including 4-0 in their last game against Boston on Feb. 16. As a team, Bowling Green has 11 hits in 70 at bats, led by Madi McCoy with a .400 batting average and one home run. Meredith Miller has started all three games on the rubber for the Falcons, posting a 0-2 record with a 4.85 ERA in 13 innings pitched.
The Falcons hold the narrow 3-2 advantage in the all-time series, having defeated ETSU in consecutive games in 2013 and 2014. The Bucs have scored 16 runs against the Falcons in the series, while Bowling Green has tacked on 21.
Runnin with the Bulldogs
Gardner-Webb is off to a strong start this season, registering six wins in its first eight games. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have yet to play a game away from home as all eight games have been played at Brinkley Stadium. Five of Gardner-Webb’s six wins have come via the run rule application. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have three players batting over .400, led by Andria Booth with a .471 average. As a team, Gardner-Webb has knocked in 66 runs and has blasted seven homers. Brooke Perry is fourth in the NCAA in RBIs with 18 and first in runs batted in per game with 2.57. The Runnin’ Bulldogs are averaging 8.86 runs scored per game, ranking second in the Big South and seventh in the NCAA.
ETSU is 14-10 all-time against Gardner-Webb, having won two of the last three meetings. The Bucs have won 10 of the last 13 contests against the Runnin’ Bulldogs, despite dropping the most recent showing on Feb. 24, 2018 by the final score of 6-3.
Keeping up with the Bucs
For complete information on ETSU softball, follow the program via social media on Twitter (@ETSUSoftball), Instagram (@etsubucssoftball) and Facebook (@BucSoftball). For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball link.