Softball gears up for home-opener Thursday against Appalachian State

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 14, 2012) – After playing its first 22 games away from Johnson City to start the season, the ETSU softball team finally heads home to Basler Field as the Bucs make their home debut Thursday evening against Appalachian State. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 5 p.m.

The Bucs – who made trips to Panthersville, Ga., Troy, Ala., Chattanooga, Knoxville, Lynchburg, Va., and most recently Clearwater, Fla. to begin the 2012 campaign – posted a 7-15 mark in the first 22 games away from home. Of the 15 setbacks, six of them were one-run decisions, while the Blue and Gold have either led or tied in 12 of those games.  

Freshman outfielder Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) carries a six-game hitting streak into Thursday’s doubleheader after beginning the season with an 11-game streak. Overall, Everett has reached base safely in 19 of her 21 games played, while recording a hit in 18 games. Meanwhile, senior Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) has reached base safely in seven consecutive games, while junior Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) and sophomore Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) have picked up their play over this stretch as well. Hartnett is hitting .533 (8-15) with a triple, four runs scored, and six RBI since March 6, and Baird is 7-for-14 with two doubles, a home run, four runs scored and four RBI.

Since joining the team, sophomore Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) and freshman Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) have given ETSU a lift at the plate and in the circle. Horner is currently tied for second in the A-Sun in RBI (18), ranks third in slugging percentage (.785) and on-base percentage (.487), is tied for third in batting average (.400), and ranks fourth in home runs (6). In the circle, Leon leads the team in wins (4) and ranks ninth among A-Sun players by holding the opposition to a .226 batting average.

As a team, the Bucs are hitting .340 (71-209) with nine doubles, two triples, and five home runs, while nearly averaging seven runs per game in their last seven outings. Through 22 games, ETSU ranks fourth in the A-Sun in batting average (.286) and runs scored (108).

While the Bucs have enjoyed a strong offensive surge to start the season, Appalachian State (10-9) has also been a solid hitting team in 19 games. The Mountaineers rank 38th nationally with a .314 batting average and 42nd in stolen bases per game (1.63).

Individually, senior infielder Megan Rembielak leads the team with a .429 (30-70) batting average and is 12-for-13 in stolen base opportunities. As Rembielak provides the contact and speed, junior outfielder Allie Cashion carries the power as she is hitting .404 (23-57) with seven home runs and 24 RBI.

Appalachian State – who dropped two of three in its Southern Conference opener last weekend versus UNC Greensboro – was picked to finish fourth in the SoCon preseason coaches’ poll.

Thursday marks the 31st and 32nd meetings between the two programs, with ETSU holding a commanding 22-8 series lead, which dates back to the 2001 season. The Bucs have won three straight against the Mountaineers and 10 of their last 13 versus the former SoCon rival.

Fans unable to make the trip to Johnson City can follow all the action via live stats on Gametracker.

For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com

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