JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 1, 2011) - After facing one of the most dominate pitchers in the Atlantic Sun last weekend in Lipscomb's Whitney Kiihnl, the ETSU softball team got an up-close look at the league's best overall pitching staff on Friday evening, as the Jacksonville Dolphins left the Bucs frozen by sweeping the Blue and Gold in a doubleheader from Betty Basler Field.
Jacksonville - who entered the day with a league-leading 1.43 team ERA - shaved some points off that number by limiting the Bucs to one run in 14.0 innings. The Dolphins got a solid outing by Sarah Sigrest in the 4-1 game one victory, while Olivia Kline finished the sweep by tossing her first collegiate no-hitter in the 9-0 win in game two.
The Bucs entered the day with some positive momentum by winning six of their last nine - including a sweep over Belmont - however ETSU saw its record fall to 13-19, 2-4 in conference play after the two setbacks. Jacksonville improved to 26-12, 6-0 in A-Sun play, becoming one of two remaining teams (Florida Gulf Coast) left with a perfect conference slate following Lipscomb's 5-3 loss to Campbell on Friday night in Nashville.
Game One Recap
Sarah Sigrest struck out ten Buccaneer batters and Katie Kelly went a perfect 2-for-2 with a home run as Jacksonville went on to capture game one, 4-1.
Sigrest held the ETSU offense in check for the majority of the contest; however, Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) and Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) provided a brief spark in the fifth. Hartnett recorded a two-out double in the inning and Fox drove her in with a triple to right, making it a 4-1 ballgame. Unfortunately, Sigrest regrouped as she retired seven of the final nine hitters she faced to earn her 13th victory of the season.
After holding the Dolphins scoreless for the first two innings, Jacksonville struck for two runs on three hits in the third to take a 2-0 lead. Meagan Balding drove in the first run of the game with a sac fly to left, while Sarah Simon worked a five pitch walk to give the Dolphins a two-run advantage. However, with the bases loaded and one out, Jessica Duncan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) settled in as she forced Karson Tuck to pop out to short and got Jacey Warner to tap into an inning-ending grounder to second.
The Bucs registered their first hit of the game when Fox hit a slow roller through the left side in the bottom of the inning, but she was left stranded after Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) struck out swinging and Katie Henderson (Jackson, Tenn.) popped out to short.
From there, Kelly made it 3-0 in favor of the Dolphins as she hit a solo homer to left in the fourth, while back-to-back two-out doubles in the fifth extended Jacksonville's lead to 4-0.
ETSU's offense finally broke through in the fifth, but it was too little too late to mount a comeback attack on the top pitching staff in the A-Sun.
Duncan saw her record drop to 6-8 on the year after being tagged for four runs on nine hits in seven innings of action.
Game Two Recap
Olivia Kline tossed her first collegiate no-hitter and she was one of three Dolphin hitters to record a home run, as Jacksonville capped off the sweep with a 9-0 victory in game two from Betty Basler Field.
Kline was effective all game as she recorded 54 strikes on 78 total pitches, while striking out three batters and walking two. The Jacksonville hurler improved to 11-5 on the year, while junior righty Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) suffered the loss (6-6) after being charged with six runs on six hits in 5.1 innings.
Jacksonville wasted little time taking the lead as Amanda Schmidt put the Dolphins ahead 1-0 with her solo home run in the top of the first.
From that point forward the homer would be the only offense Kline needed, but the Dolphins struck for eight runs in the final three innings to come away with the lop-sided victory.
The Bucs put base runners on in the second, fifth and sixth innings, but Kline wouldn't be denied of the no-hitter. Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) reached base via an error in the second as she laid a bunt down the third base line; however, second baseman Karson Tuck was charged with the error after failing to cover the bag on Schmidt's throw. Lower again reached in the fifth as she worked a leadoff walk and Amy Campbell was issued a four pitch walk in the sixth. Unfortunately, Kline silenced the Buccaneer bats and ETSU was unable to push any runs across the dish.
Following the Schmidt homer in the first, Morris kept the Bucs in the contest by holding Jacksonville scoreless for the next three innings, but as the weather got colder the Dolphins' bats heated up.
Sarah Simon gave the Dolphins some breathing room by belting a two-out, two-run homer to right-center in the fifth; while Kline helped her cause by sending a laser over the fence in left-center to put the visitors up 6-0 after six innings of play.
Jacksonville added more salt into the wounds of the Bucs by scoring three more times in the seventh, highlighted by Simon's two-run blast, to make it a 9-0 contest.
The Bucs hit the ball hard in the seventh, but the Jacksonville defense made sure Kline would be rewarded with the no-no as Jacey Warner tracked down two fly outs in left and Kayla Ouellet made a grab in center.
ETSU will look to bounce back on Saturday as the Bucs host North Florida in an A-Sun doubleheader, beginning at 1 p.m. from Betty Basler Field.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.