Bucs blanked in game one, 4-0; fall 8-3 in nightcap
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (April 7, 2012) – The ETSU softball team started its 10-game road swing with some rough turbulence on Saturday evening, as the Bucs were swept by USC Upstate at Cyrill Stadium.
Sophomore Hannah Alexander tossed her ninth shutout of the season en route to guiding the Spartans to a 4-0 win in game one, while USC Upstate capped off the sweep with an 8-3 victory in the nightcap.
The Bucs dropped to 10-22, 0-6 on the year, while USC Upstate improved to 31-6, 4-2 with the pair of conference wins.
The Bucs continue their road swing when ETSU travels to Boone, N.C. on Wednesday evening for a non-conference doubleheader at Appalachian State. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Game One Recap
USC Upstate’s Hannah Alexander tossed a two-hit shutout and struck out nine as the Spartans defeated the Bucs, 4-0, in game one on Saturday from Cyrill Stadium.
Alexander improved to 19-2 on the season after recording her ninth shutout of the year, while Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) was left without any offensive output and dropped to 4-11. Wolff allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in the complete game effort.
Junior Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) and senior Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) registered the hits for ETSU. Lower roped a single in the second, while Campbell ended Alexander’s streak of sitting down 10 consecutive Buccaneer hitters with a leadoff single in the sixth.
The Spartans got all the offense they needed in the second inning and never felt any pressure from that point forward.
After Alexander struck out six ETSU hitters in the first inning and a half of play, the Spartans credited the sophomore hurler with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the second to take a 2-0 lead. Cheyenne Griffin led off the inning with a double to right-center – and after Ashley Butler reached a fielder’s choice back to the circle – USC Upstate had runners on the corners with no outs. From there, pinch runner Kara Lohr stole second and both runners scored on Jana Lewis’ single to center, while Lewis moved to second on an error by Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.). However, Wolff regrouped and left a pair of runners stranded in scoring position by getting Hayley Reinfeld out at first.
Unfortunately, the Blue and Gold had no answer for Alexander’s pitching as she retired 15 of the final 16 hitters she faced following the second inning hit by Lower.
The Spartans plated their third run in the fifth when freshman Haley Thompson (Nicholson, Ga.) committed her second error of the game on Griffin’s two-out grounder to second – making it a 3-0 game.
ETSU’s lone threat came in the sixth when Campbell singled to left and moved to second on Thompson’s grounder back to the circle. However, with one out and Campbell on second, Alexander forced Martin to hit soft roller to second and ended the inning by getting Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) to pop out to third.
USC Upstate plated its fourth and final run on a two-out wild pitch by Wolff in the sixth.
Game Two Recap
Sophomore Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) went a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI at the plate, but it wasn’t enough offense to lift the Blue and Gold to a split over USC Upstate as the Spartans picked up a sweep with an 8-3 win in game two of the Atlantic Sun doubleheader.
Baird’s three-hit game was the second of her season and the sixth multi-hit game in 2012, while Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) drove in ETSU’s other run with an RBI double in the third inning. Meanwhile, junior Tara Hartnett reached base three times (two singles and walk) and scored two runs.
Senior right-hander Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) suffered the loss (2-8) after being charged with seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits in 3.2 innings of action. Freshman hurler Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) tossed 2.1 innings of one-run ball in replace of Morris. Once again, Hannah Alexander earned her second win of the day as she allowed two runs on four hits in four innings of relief to improve to 20-2 on the year.
The Spartans wasted little time making a dent in the scoreboard as Janna Lewis took a one-out pitch out of the park for her first home run of the year – giving USC Upstate an early 1-0 lead in the first. USC Upstate wasn’t done scoring in the inning as Ericka Harris reached on a one-out error and scored on the next play when Shellie Robinson laced a double down the line in left to take two-run cushion.
Despite allowing one hit in 1.2 innings of action, USC Upstate starter Lacey Dinney was pulled from the circle after she allowed a one-out single to Baird and a two-out walk to Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.). The pitching change worked as Casee Clauser only needed one pitch to end the threat by forcing Whitley Hensley (Erwin, Tenn.) to pop out to second.
USC Upstate generated a two-out run in the bottom of the inning when Hayley Reinfeld’s RBI single to center brought in Kendall Settlemyre from second – putting the Spartans ahead, 3-0.
ETSU finally scratched a run across in the plate in the top of the third when Hartnett worked a two-out walk and hustled her way home on Horner’s RBI double to left-center to make it a 3-1 game.
The Bucs worked out of a jam in the bottom of the frame when USC Upstate recorded a pair of one-out infield singles, but Morris forced the next two Spartan hitters into inning-ending ground outs.
However, the Blue and Gold couldn’t gain any momentum off the defensive stop in the third.
ETSU chased its second Spartan pitcher from the circle in the fourth when Baird led off the frame with a single to center. Alexander entered in relief and just like she did in the opener, the sophomore pitcher recorded three quick outs to end the inning.
USC Upstate broke the game open with four runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth to extend its lead to, 7-1. Maddison Kieffer led off the frame with a solo shot to center, while a two-run scoring double by Shellie Robinson made it a 6-1 contest. Morris’ day came to an end when Cheyenne Griffin hit a single up the middle to plate Robinson for the fourth run of the inning.
The Blue and Gold responded with a pair of runs in the fifth courtesy of Baird’s two-out, two-RBI bases loaded single to center, but ETSU couldn’t make any more damage as Sam Lower was struck out looking to end the rally.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Spartans finished the scoring plays with an RBI ground out by Robinson, giving the host team the five-run win.
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