ETSU Softball off to best start in school history after sweeping Milligan
Junior Marissa Hardy won her third straight decision on Saturday.
Junior Marissa Hardy won her third straight decision on Saturday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 21, 2009) - A day after opening their brand new stadium with a split against Furman, the Lady Buccaneer softball team exploded for 22 runs and 17 hits, as ETSU swept Milligan on Saturday afternoon from the ETSU Softball Complex. The Lady Bucs opened with a 12-3 win in game one and capped off the sweep with a 10-0 win in game two, both ending in five innings.

 

ETSU - who closed out a four-game homestand and now leave Johnson City for two and half weeks - pushed its mark to 6-3, which sets the best start to a Lady Buccaneer season in program history. Milligan dropped to 4-4 after the sweep.

 

Junior Marissa Hardy (Rocklin, Calif.) won her third straight decision after shutting down the Buffs in game one. Hardy entered in relief and held Milligan scoreless for 2.1 IP, while striking out four batters.

 

The Lady Bucs were led by freshman Annie Martin's (Centerville, Tenn.) .667 batting average (2-3), while three ETSU players hit .500 - including junior catcher Trisha Massenzo (Russellville, Tenn.) - who extended her hitting streak to a team-high eight games after going 3-for-6 with with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs on Saturday. After posting ETSU's first-ever hit inside the new stadium with a home run on Friday, Massenzo came through with the Lady Bucs' first-ever double in game one.

 

After freshman right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) retired the side to start the first inning of game one, the Lady Bucs hit a little rough patch in the second. Morris struck out the first Milligan batter she faced to start the second, but then lost control from there. The Mt. Juliet, Tenn. native hit Mallory Tincher, and eventually moved to third on a passed ball and wild pitch. Then, after back-to-back walks by Morris, the freshman had nerves rushing through her, as she hit Alicia Engle, giving Milligan an early 1-0 lead after Tincher scored from third. Following the hit batter, Hardy entered in relief and forced Ellyn Sapp to pop up to Massenzo.

 

Fortunately, the Lady Bucs responded in the bottom half of the frame, as they scored 10 runs on eight hits and grabbed a 10-1 lead. Jessie Hackworth (Clinton, Tenn.), Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.), Katy Jett (Talbott, Tenn.), Amy Campbell (Hixson, Tenn.), and (Annie) Martin all drove a one run in the inning, while Cheniece Cason (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and Massenzo plated in a pair of runs. Massenzo drove in two with her double to left, where as, Cason came to the plate twice in the inning and scored Campbell both times.

 

Hardy faced the minimum in the third thanks to Massenzo throwing out Jessica Fix to end the frame, but the 2008 Atlantic Sun All-Tournament selection faced a minor jam in the fourth. Hardy allowed a one-out single to Megan Heaton and she advanced to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball. After allowing a two-out walk to Jessica Faircloth, Hardy fanned her third Milligan batter of the inning - leaving runners on first and third.

 

ETSU took advantage of some sketchy Milligan pitching and fielding, as the Lady Bucs scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to grab a 12-1 lead. Chelsea O'Connor (Knoxville) worked a one-out walk and scored when Martin reached on a fielding error by the Milligan shortstop. Meanwhile, Delisa's second hit of the game brought home Martin.

 

Morris entered back in the circle to start the top of the fifth and allowed two runs on three hits, but left two Milligan runners stranded. The freshman righty worked out of the rough frame to end the game by forcing Jessica Russell to ground out to short.

 

Rachel Ingleby suffered the loss after being slammed for eight runs (seven earned) on five hits in 1.2IP. Faircloth - who entered in relief -didn't fair any better by issuing four runs in two and one-third of an inning.

 

GAME TWO RECAP

The Lady Bucs had no problems with Milligan in game two, as ETSU scored six runs in the first two innings en route to a 10-0 victory.

 

Sophomore Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) bounced back nicely after being dealt the loss in game one against Furman on Friday. Boyd tossed a two-hit shutout and struck out four batters.

 

ETSU led off the bottom half of the first with four straight hits, as Vicki McCoy (Ringgold, Ga.), Kate Powell (Johnson City), Katy Jett and Trisha Massenzo each record singles. Jett plated the first two runs of the game when her single to center brought in Powell and McCoy, while Massenzo's rope to center scored Jett, making it a 3-0 Lady Buccaneer lead.

 

Then, in the bottom of the second, ETSU took full advantage of two errors by the Buffs to extend its lead to 6-0.

 

After taking a 7-0 lead in third, the Lady Bucs run-ruled Milligan by scoring three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Powell led off the inning with a single to center, stole second and came around to score on Marissa Hardy's two-RBI double - which also sent in Jett - who walked after Powell singled. Hardy came around to touch the plate on Cason's RBI single up the middle.

 

Boyd worked a perfect fifth to lift ETSU to a sweep over the Buffs.

 

Sidney Burns was handed the loss after being tagged for six runs (three earned) on five hits, while Ryann Musick allowed four runs (three earned) in two innings of work.

 

The Lady Bucs will now say good-bye to Johnson City until March 18th. ETSU begins its road trip on Feb. 27, when they open play in the Chattanooga Tournament against Boston College.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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