GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2008) - Things were looking bright for the Softball Bucs after the first 4.5 innings of play Sunday morning as they led 4-0, but College of Charleston tied the game with a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh and scored the game winning run when Darci Gilbert (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) hit Kristi Woodall with the bases loaded in the eighth, rallying the Cougars past ETSU, 5-4, at the Cox Communications Classic.
The loss marked the Lady Bucs' sixth straight defeat as they left Gainesville without a win at the Pressly Softball Stadium. College of Charleston snapped its four-game skid and won for just the second time in 12 games this season.
ETSU (1-6) scored the first two runs of the morning when junior Caitlin Zyskowski (Grand Rapids, Mich.) blasted her first homer of the season over the wall in left. The two-run bomb gave ETSU the early cushion as it also scored sophomore Katy Jett (Talbot, Tenn.), who reached with her single to third.
The Lady Bucs missed an opportunity to push more runs across the plate in third. After Kate Powell (Johnson City) and Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.) led off the inning with back-to-back singles, College of Charleston's Terri Mesko settled down and recorded three straight outs to end the inning. However, two innings later, Jessie Hackworth's (Clinton, Tenn.) single proved to be critical. The blast to center scored Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and McCoy, giving ETSU a 4-0 advantage.
Those two runs proved to be key at the time, because Katie Nutaitis two-run home run cut ETSU's lead to 4-2 in the bottom half of the inning. Then College of Charleston tied things up in the bottom of the seventh. Shannon Howard's two-run home run (with one out) tied the game at four, sending it into extra frames.
After the Lady Bucs left a runner on third in the top of the eighth, the Cougars took advantage of some Gilbert's control problems. With one out and the bases juiced, Gilbert hit her third Cougar batter of the game, and scored Alexa Datko for the game winner.
Sophomore Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) started the morning for ETSU and pitched 3.2 innings of shutout ball. However, Gilbert entered in relief after Hardy posted her third walk of the fourth inning. In total, Hardy scattered three hits but walked four and struck out three. Howard, who sent the game to extra's in the seventh, earned the win after tossing three scoreless innings.
ETSU will return to action this Friday when they compete in the Chattanooga Challenge. The Lady Bucs will open the three-day five-game tournament against St. Francis at 2:15 p.m.
For more information on Lady Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.