CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 24, 2012) – The ETSU softball team let a pair of games slip away from them on Friday afternoon at the Frost Classic.
After dropping a 4-2 eight-inning heartbreaker to Valparaiso to start the opening game of the tournament, the Bucs saw their two-run lead quickly evaporate against Troy, as the Trojans scored seven in the fourth and broke a 9-all tie with a three-run seventh to finish with a 12-9 victory over the Blue and Gold from Warner Park in Chattanooga.
The Buccaneer offense hit .303 (20-66) in the two games, but their defense committed four errors while leaving nine runners stranded versus Valparaiso. Against Troy, both teams pounded out 13 hits, while the Trojan defense surrendered five errors; however, they backed it up with eight extra base hits.
Individually, freshman outfielder Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) enjoyed a trip back home after extending her hitting streak to 10 straight games to start the season, while sophomore transfer Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) carried her hot bat with her to Chattanooga. Horner – who was fresh off receiving all-tournament honors from last weekend’s Quality Inn Classic – went 4-for-7 (.571) with a home run, two RBI, and two runs scored on Friday. Meanwhile, Everett had four hits in eight at-bats and drove in two runs.
With the pair losses, the Bucs saw their record dip to 1-9.
ETSU vs. Valparaiso
Despite battling back from a two-run deficit, the ETSU softball team couldn’t overcome four errors and leaving nine runners stranded as Valparaiso plated two runs in the eighth to capture the 4-2 win in extra innings.
Both teams recorded seven hits apiece, but it was a passed ball and throwing error which led to the game-winning run crossing the plate for Valparaiso in the eighth. The Crusaders (4-1) tacked on one more run on Jordan Rutkowski’s two-out single through the left side.
The Bucs didn’t go down without a fight as ETSU posted a two-out rally, but couldn’t come up with enough offense to pull off the comeback.
ETSU placed Haley Thompson (Buchanan, Ga.) on second to start the bottom half of the inning, but after Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) flied out to second, Thompson was tagged out on Casey Horner’s grounder to third. However, the Blue and Gold strung together consecutive two-out singles to load the bases, but with the tying run at second, Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) flew out to center to end the game.
Everett extended her hitting streak to nine straight games after going 2-for-4 at the plate, while Horner also finished with a two-hit effort and belted a home run for the second straight game.
Both teams missed out on scoring chances early in the first two innings, but the Crusaders cracked the scoreboard first by plating a pair of runs on three hits in the top of the third to take the 2-0 lead. Valparaiso led off the third with a single by Lindsey Norway and she came around to score when Everett was charged with a throwing error in right on Sara Strickland’s double. Rutkowski gave Valparaiso the two-run cushion when her double plated Strickland from third.
However, the Bucs pulled within a run when Horner blasted a one-out solo shot over the left field fence in the fourth, while Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.) tied it at two in the fifth, when her two-out RBI single to center scored fellow senior Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) from second.
Unfortunately, ETSU had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth and the game-winning run on third with two outs in the seventh, but the Bucs couldn’t generate any offense to pull off the win.
Senior right-hander Sam McGee earned the win (2-1) after allowing two runs on seven hits in eight innings of work, while sophomore righty Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) suffered the loss. Wolff saw her record dip to 0-2 after issuing two runs (one earned) on two hits in 3.2 innings of relief. Senior Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) started in the circle and tossed 4.1 innings of two-run ball (one earned).
ETSU vs. Troy
Typically when a team commits five errors in a game things don’t end on a positive note; however, it was the exact opposite for Troy on Friday afternoon.
The Trojans committed five errors, but Troy used a seven-run fourth and a three-run seventh to pull off a 12-9 win over the Blue and Gold in the second game of the Frost Classic.
Eight different Buccaneer players recorded a hit, while five posted two hits apiece, but it were the eight hits that went for extra bases for Troy that propelled them to the victory.
Sam Lower, Casey Horner, Alex Everett, Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.) and Sade Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) all generated multi-hit games, while Annie Martin and Haley Thompson both ripped doubles and scored two runs each.
However, as ETSU registered 13 hits, the Buccaneer pitching staff also issued 13 hits and 11 of the 12 runs given up were earned. Despite allowing seven runs (six earned) on six hits in three innings, freshman Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) managed to walk away with a no decision in her first collegiate start. The bad luck fell on Kara Woods (Erwin, Tenn.) – who issued five runs on seven hits in the losing decision (0-2).
Troy (9-1) began the game with a leadoff walk by Hannah Renn, and used some small-ball to manufacture the first run of the contest. Renn stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and eventually scored on a passed ball.
The Bucs quickly grabbed the one-run lead in the bottom half of the inning (2-1), after Haley Thompson doubled home Annie Martin – who led off the inning with a walk – while Thompson crossed the dish moments later courtesy of a pair errors by the Trojans.
ETSU extended its lead to 4-1 after three innings of play as Martin began the bottom half of the third with a double to left and later scored when Taylor Smartt was charged with her second error of the game at third. Then, with two outs and runners on second and third, Everett’s single to second plated Lower – who reached via a bunt single and moved to third when Horner reached on a fielder’s choice. However, Horner ended the inning as she tried scoring from second on the play, but was tagged out at home.
From there, the wheels fell off for the Blue and Gold as Troy scored seven runs on six hits in the top of the fourth to regain a lead, 7-4.
The Trojans blasted a pair of two-run home runs in the inning, while Ashley Rainey’s triple also brought in a pair of runs and Jaycee Affeldt added the other RBI with a single.
Over the next two innings the Bucs continued to fight, as ETSU eventually evened things at nine, after pushing three runs across the board in the fifth and tacked on two more runs in the sixth.
ETSU scored its three runs with two outs in the fifth as Everett’s single down the line in right allowed Lower and Horner to come around and cross the dish, while Everett made it a 9-7 game after Delisa drove her in with a RBI single up the middle.
Once again it was the same story in the sixth for the Blue and Gold as ETSU scored the game-tying runs with two outs in the frame. Johnson – who recorded one of her two hits with a one-out single to third – scored when Thompson reached on Troy’s fifth error of the game to make it a one-run affair. The Bucs then tied it at nine on Horner’s RBI single.
Unfortunately, a comeback wasn’t in the books for ETSU.
Troy began the seventh with a hit parade as its first four batters posted hits to grab all the momentum. Nikki Hollett led off the inning with a double and scored the eventual game-winning run on the next play when Hayden Gann singled. Gann later scored on Bailey Blake’s RBI single and Troy capped off the scoring spree with Rainey’s RBI double.
Michaela Hamilton tossed the final inning and two-thirds in relief to pick up her second win (2-0) of the season. Rainey – who got the starting nod in the circle – issued eight runs (three earned) on 10 hits in 5.1 innings, but she also went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI at the plate.
The Bucs look to bounce back on Saturday as ETSU takes on UT-Martin (11 a.m.) and Chattanooga (1:15 p.m.). The games will be played inside Frost Stadium and live video will be offered for both contests.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.