Pitching, hitting, defense come together
GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 16, 2013) – For two games, it all clicked. The ETSU softball team got timely hitting, great pitching performances and backed it up on defense en route to a doubleheader sweep of Furman, 6-3 and 3-2, Tuesday afternoon from Pepsi Stadium.
In both games, ETSU (12-29, 0-19 A-Sun) took 3-2 leads into the seventh inning.
The first time around, it added the much-needed insurance, capped by Jackie Baird’s (Ooltewah, Tenn.) two-run shot to left to extend the lead to four. It paid dividends as Furman (22-21, 7-7 SoCon) rallied, brought one run across and got the tying run to the plate in the bottom half, but Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) shut the door (5-16) for her 15th complete game of the season.
The Buccaneers were unable to pad the lead in game two, leaving sophomore Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) to hold onto the one-run lead. Leon (1-3) did, closing out her first collegiate seven-inning complete game, setting down the Paladins in order for the win.
“I’m really proud of the girls. They came out loose and had a great approach at the plate,” ETSU head coach Brad Irwin said. “We had too many strikeouts the other day, trying to do too much at the plate, and we talked a lot about focusing and keeping it simple.”
Keeping it simple helped ETSU to 18 hits on the day. Baird went 3-for-6, including her team-leading fifth homer of the season, to compile two runs and four RBIs.
“I knew we needed insurance and I got a fatty on the inside corner,” said Baird, taking over ETSU’s RBI lead with 25 on the season. “I didn’t even think it was going to go over. I saw [Wolff] in front of me and thought ‘What is she doing? Why isn’t she going?’ Then I heard it hit the bushes and knew.”
Redshirt sophomore Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) had a five-hit day, scoring three runs in the opener and earning her team-best 14th stolen base of the season. Sophomore Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) had four hits, going with the outside pitch and singling three times to right, while also smacking a two-RBI double to left in the second game as part of ETSU’s three-run fourth.
Aside from striking out three and having another solid outing in the circle, Wolff contributed offensively, finishing 3-for-7 with a pair of runs and RBIs. Leon struck out a pair and allowed just one walk, going seven innings for the first time in her two-year career to earn her first win of the season.
“I just try to make sure I get ahead in the count as much as I can and relax out there,” Leon said. “I took a more relaxed approach today and felt it really helped.”
The Buccaneers are back in action in less than 24 hours, traveling to Boone, N.C., for another doubleheader against Southern Conference foe Appalachian State. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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