Bucs begin road swing Saturday at USC Upstate
ETSU (10-21)
USC Upstate (30-6)
4/7/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 242
USC Upstate020011X460
Win: ALEXANDER (19-2) 7.020009
Loss: WOLFF (4-11) 6.064313
LOWER (ETSU) 201000
LEWIS (UPST) 302200

Friday, April 06, 2012

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (April 6, 2012) – After finishing up a season-long eight-game homestand last weekend, the ETSU softball team now begins a 10-game road swing on Saturday evening when the Bucs head to Spartanburg, S.C. to face USC Upstate in a critical Atlantic Sun showdown. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 4 p.m. at Cyrill Stadium.

ETSU (10-20, 0-4) got off to a rough start in conference play as three of its four A-Sun losses were one-run heartbreakers. However, the Blue and Gold hope to turn things around as the Bucs head to Spartanburg, Boone, and Jacksonville on this road trip which spans 12 days and just over 1,500 roundtrip miles. 

Senior outfielder Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) carries a five-game hitting streak into play on Saturday, while she is hitting .329 (24-73) with three doubles, two triples and 16 runs scored in her last 21 games. Martin – who is currently tied for second in the A-Sun with three triples – is three triples shy of tying former Buccaneer great Janine Sprague’s single-season ETSU record of six triples set in both 2004 and 2005. Meanwhile, as Martin is producing in the leadoff role, sophomore catcher/infielder Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) and junior outfielder Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) have picked up their play as of late. Baird has raised her batting average over 153 points as the Ooltewah, Tenn. native is hitting .394 (13-33) with three doubles, two home runs (one grand slam), six runs scored, and 10 RBI over her last 13 games. In addition, Hartnett has posted 15 hits in her last 38 at-bats (.395), while registering a triple, four walks, six runs scored, and six RBI over her last 15 contests.

The Bucs have been snake bitten this season as nearly half of their games played are one-run affairs, but the Blue and Gold are only 4-10 in those contests. Furthermore, ETSU has either led or tied in 16 of the 20 games lost in 2012, while the Bucs have also dropped all six of their extra-inning games.

USC Upstate (29-6, 2-2) has won nine of its last 11 games and are ranked 10th in the Mid-Major Top 25 Softball Poll. The Spartans were picked to finish fourth in the Preseason A-Sun Coaches Poll and have recorded shutouts in 19 of their 29 wins this season.

After losing one of the best pitchers in the A-Sun in Morgan Childers, sophomore right-hander Hannah Alexander has done a solid job replacing the void as she is 18-2 with a 1.13 ERA (21 ER/130.0 IP) in 24 appearances (19 starts) for USC Upstate. Alexander has tossed eight shutouts, which places her eighth among NCAA Division I leaders, while her ERA ranks 23rd. At the plate, the Spartans are led by freshman Shellie Robinson’s .423 batting average, 44 hits, nine doubles, 12 home runs, 26 RBI and 37 runs scored. Like Alexander, Robinson ranks among the nation leaders in slugging percentage (11th, .875), home runs (14th), and batting average (30th).

As a team, USC Upstate ranks fifth in the country with a .335 batting average and 14th in ERA.

After taking three of the first four games in the series, the Bucs have dropped four straight to USC Upstate and trail the all-time series, 5-3. ETSU’s last win in the series was a 1-0 victory to cap off the sweep in 2009, while the Blue and Gold are 1-3 in games played in Spartanburg. Martin is 3-for-10 against the Spartan pitchers, while sophomore Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) has a 1.62 ERA in two appearances vs. USC Upstate.

Fans unable to make the trip to Spartanburg can watch the action via A-Sun.TV, while live stats will be offered on Gametracker. In addition, live updates will be posted on Twitter @ETSUAthletics.

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

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MCC NCAA South Regional Tallahassee, Fla.
Nov 14 13 of 22
WCC NCAA South Regional Tallahassee, Fla.
Nov 14 23 of 29
VB ETSU 3 Charleston, S.C.
Nov 14 The Citadel 1
WBB ETSU 81 Final
Nov 14 University of North Carolina at Asheville 68
Nov 14 Valparaiso 90
VB ETSU 3 Macon, Ga.
Nov 15 Mercer University 1
WBB High Point University 76 Final
Nov 17 ETSU 84
MBB Virginia-Wise 66 F
Nov 18 ETSU 111
WBB Appalachian State University 76 Final
Nov 19 ETSU 70
WBB ETSU 79 Final
Nov 21 Saint Francis University 63
VB ETSU Greensboro, N.C.
Nov 22, 12:00 p.m. No. 5 Western Carolina (SoCon Quarterfinal)
MBB UNC Asheville 87 F
Nov 22, 12:00 p.m. ETSU 98
MBB ETSU Rock Hill, S.C.
Nov 24, 7:00 p.m. Winthrop
WBB ETSU Terre Haute, Ind.
Nov 24, 8:00 p.m. Indiana State University
WBB ETSU Bloomington, Ind.
Nov 26, 2:00 p.m. Indiana University
WBB ETSU Blacksburg, Va.
Nov 29, 5:00 p.m. Virginia Tech University
MBB ETSU Morehead, Ky.
Dec 1, 7:00 p.m. Morehead State
WBB ETSU Fairfax, Va.
Dec 3, 5:00 p.m. George Mason University
MBB Western Carolina Freedom Hall
Dec 3, 8:00 p.m. ETSU