Five-run fifth lifts Gardner-Webb over Softball Bucs

Thursday, May 10, 2007

DELAND, Fla. (May 10, 2007) - With the Bucs leading 3-2 heading into the bottom half the fifth, Gardner-Webb broke the game wide open with a five-run inning and cruised to a 7-4 victory, handing ETSU its first loss of the Atlantic Sun Tournament presented by Coca-Cola Thursday evening at Patricia Wilson Field.


With the loss, ETSU falls to 26-28, while Gardner-Webb improved to 34-24-1 and moves to 2-0 in the tournament.


The Bucs got things rolling early thanks to Amanda Haverman's (Kirkwood, Mo.) RBI single down the left field line in the top of the first, scoring Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.) from second; however, Mary Catherine Vercoe (Signal Mountain, Tenn.) was called out at the plate after trying to score from first. ETSU did an excellent job keeping the inning alive as Gardner-Webb's Alison Coffey retired the first two batters she faced, but back-to-back infield singles by Hackworth and Vercoe gave Haverman the chance pick up her team-leading 37th RBI of the season.


ETSU's lead did not last long as Gardner-Webb plated two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Melody Harrell recorded her fifth straight hit of the tournament with a RBI double to right center, scoring Abbie Looper, who led off the inning with a walk. The Runnin' Bulldogs took the 2-1 lead on Jessie Williams' single to right, but Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.) gunned down Emily Sherrill from right as she tried to score from second to end the inning.


Gardner-Webb's Joanna Ward led off the second with a single, but Vercoe eased out of any damage by flashing some leather as she turned a double play when Haley Scism lined one back to the circle.


The Bucs quickly regained the lead in the third as Vercoe helped her cause by driving in Stephanie Gaynord (Manassas, Va.) with a chopper to first, and Trisha Massenzo's (Russellville, Tenn.) bases loaded single drove in Jett, giving ETSU a 3-2 lead. The Bucs took advantage of wild pitching and bad fielding as Gaynord led off the inning with a walk, and Jett reached on a throwing error by Abbie Looper as she threw the ball into center, trying to force Gaynord out at second. Hackworth posted her second infield hit of the game as she lined one to third, which loaded the bases and led to the rally.


For the second straight inning Vercoe worked out of a jam as she had runners on first and second with only one out, but forced the next to G-Webb hitters to line out, keeping the ETSU one-run lead in tact.


After cruising through three scoreless innings the wheels came off for the Bucs in the fifth as G-Webb tagged ETSU's pitchers for five runs on five hits. Triples by Kelly Linsley and Lindsey Whitfield plated runs for the Runnin' Bulldogs, while singles by Williams and Scism led to three runs, giving G-Webb the 7-3 advantage. 


ETSU loaded the bases for the fourth time of the game in the sixth as Kate Powell (Johnson City) and Gaynord posted singles and Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) reached on an error by Joanna Ward at first; however, the Bucs missed out on a golden opportunity to reach closer as Coffey limited them to only one run.


Vercoe suffered the loss and dropped to 10-12, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 4.2 IP, while Coffey surrendered four runs (two earned) on seven hits in 6.0 IP, moving to 9-8 on the season. Timely hitting cost ETSU the chance to pull off its first win over G-Webb this season after leaving nine runners stranded.



The Bucs will now face either Stetson or Campbell on Friday, depending on the Hatters outcome against Lipscomb in Thursday's final game. If Stetson beats the Bisons then ETSU will face Campbell at 3:30 p.m., however, if the Hatters lose the Bucs get Stetson at 1 p.m.

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