JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 26, 2012) – After fighting its way to a two-run win over Stetson at home last Saturday, the ETSU softball team was looking to end its home portion of the season on a high note Thursday evening from a dark and gloomy Betty Basler Field.
Unfortunately, the Bucs ran into the strong arm of Eastern Kentucky’s hurler Leanna Pittsenbarger.
Pittsenbarger earned both victories in the Colonels’ sweep over the Blue and Gold by tossing a two-hit shutout in an 8-0 five-inning win in game one, while she pitched 5.2 scoreless innings in relief in the 6-0 win in game two.
For the second consecutive doubleheader, the Bucs were swept by an Ohio Valley Conference foe as ETSU dropped to 11-34 following the pair of setbacks, while Eastern Kentucky won its fourth straight, improving to 24-25 on the season.
In game one, Eastern Kentucky wasted little time pushing runs across the plate as the Colonels plated two in the top of the first to grab a 2-0 lead. The Colonels scored their first run on Raquel Howes’ RBI single to center, while a bases loaded walk to Larkyn Wood scored Howes.
After the Blue and Gold left two runners on in the second, Eastern Kentucky broke the game open by chasing starter Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) from the circle in the top of the third and freshman right-hander Whitney Leon (Dandridge, Tenn.) was greeted rudely when Wood cleared the bases with a grand slam – extending the Colonels lead to 6-0.
With the Bucs going down in order in the bottom of the third, Eastern Kentucky scored its seventh and eighth runs of the game in the fourth when Nicole Heitz tripled home Diane Gallagher from second, while Heitz also scored on the play as Mikayla Treadway (Unicoi, Tenn.) airmailed Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) at third.
The eight-run lead held up after five complete innings as Pittsenbarger retired 11 of the final 12 Buccaneer hitters after giving up a one-out hit to Wolff in the second to earn the win for the Colonels.
Pittsenbarger evened up her record at 12-12 after tossing the shutout, while striking out eight and issuing one walk. Wolff was tagged with the loss (5-17) after surrendering five runs on four hits in 2.1 innings of work.
The Colonels used the long ball to register all their runs in the nightcap.
Eastern Kentucky used a solo shot by Christina Ciolek in the top of the second to gain the early 1-0 advantage.
From there, Katie Tackett posted the first of her two round-trippers in the game by smashing a three-run homer in the third inning – making it a 4-0 contest.
Tackett capped off the scoring plays when her second home run of the game pushed the Colonels’ lead to 6-0 following a two-run blast to left in the seventh.
The Bucs had chances as they left eight runners stranded and two runners on in the first, second, and seventh innings, but after Pittsenbarger entered in the second, she held the ETSU hitters to three hits, while striking out six batters to move her mark to 13-12. Senior Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) made her final start in the circle for the Bucs at Betty Basler Field, but suffered the loss (2-14). Morris was charged with six runs on 14 hits in the complete game effort.
Seven different Buccaneer batters recorded a hit in game two as Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.), Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.), Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.), Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.), Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.), Treadway, and Wolff all finished with one hit.
The Bucs will now have a week off before they close the door on the 2012 campaign when ETSU travels to Nashville for a pair of A-Sun doubleheaders, beginning Friday evening at Belmont. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. Eastern.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.