NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 5, 2012) – The ETSU softball team closed the door on its 2012 season as the Bucs were swept by Lipscomb on Saturday night from Draper Diamond in Nashville.
Lipscomb’s Whitney Kiihnl tossed a two-hit shutout and Kelsey Cartwright belted a two-run home run, lifting the Lady Bisons to a 4-0 win in game one. In game two, the Bucs scored three runs in the seventh, but the rally fell short as Lipscomb hung on for the 7-5 victory.
ETSU closed the season on an eight-game losing skid as the Bucs completed the year with a record of 11-38, 1-17, while Lipscomb secured the fourth seed in next week’s Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament by improving to 34-18, 11-7.
With the season coming to an end, red-shirt freshman Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.) enjoyed an outstanding year as she etched her name into the Buccaneer record books. Horner’s .411 on-base percentage ranks fourth highest in a single-season, while her seven home runs tied her with Stephanie Gaynord (2007) and Trisha Massenzo (2008) for fourth, and her .537 slugging percentage is the fifth highest in an ETSU season.
As Horner closed the books on a successful rookie season, four seniors wrapped up their playing careers in the Blue and Gold on Saturday night in Nashville. Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Marlina Delisa (Tucson, Ariz.), Annie Martin (Centerville, Tenn.), and Shelby Morris (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) played their final game at Draper Diamond.
In game two, Martin finished her career with a 3-hit effort, Delisa roped a one-out RBI single, Campbell reached base twice (one hit, one walk) – and despite suffering the loss – Morris tossed the final game of the 2012 season for the Bucs.
In game one, Lipscomb threatened in the second when the Lady Bisons had runners on second and third with two outs, but Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) worked out of danger when she struck out Bridgette Begle looking to end the inning; however, the Purple and White got revenge in the third. Lipscomb scored the first runs of the game when Cartwright put the Lady Bisons ahead, 2-0, as she blasted her 15th homer of the season to left.
With Kiihnl – the 2010 A-Sun Pitcher and Player of the Year – keeping the Blue and Gold scoreless, the two runs were more than enough offense to lead the Lady Bisons to victory.
However, Lipscomb added a run on a squeeze play in the fourth and Kristen Sturdivant capped off the scoring with a solo shot to left-center in the sixth – giving the Lady Bisons a four-run cushion.
Junior outfielder Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.) and Casey Horner provided the hits for the Blue and Gold, while Wolff worked a pair of walks, Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) was hit by a pitch with two outs in the second, and two ETSU hitters reached via errors in the sixth.
ETSU missed a chance in the sixth when Amy Campbell (Chattanooga, Tenn.) reached on a leadoff error by Cartwright at short, but she was called out at second when Bree Thurman had the ball pop out of her glove on a pop fly by Hartnett in the very next at-bat. With Campbell holding up on the play at first, Thurman was able to retrieve the ball and Campbell was called out on a close play as she slid into the bag, which ended any kind of momentum shift.
After allowing Hartnett to record a one-out hit in the third, Kiihnl kept the Blue and Gold hitless until Horner led off the seventh with a single to right; however, the Bucs couldn’t string together a rally as Kiihnl retired the next three hitters to secure the win.
Kiihnl – who tossed her third shutout of the season – improved to 22-12 after striking out four and issuing the two walks, while Wolff ended the season with a mark of 5-19 after being charged with four runs (three earned) on six hits in six innings of work.
The Bucs wasted little time jumping ahead of Lipscomb, 1-0, in game two as Hartnett led off with an infield single and moved to second on a fielder’s choice by Martin. After Haley Elliott tried to get Hartnett out at second on the grounder to first by Martin, the Blue and Gold had runners on first and second with no outs. Then, following a pop out by Wolff and a ground out by Horner, Hartnett scored when Jordan Abell had trouble fielding a grounder from Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) at second, but Martin was tagged out at the plate when Cartwright came up firing home from short to end the inning.
Unfortunately, Lipscomb quickly took the lead by scoring three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first to go up, 3-1. The Lady Bisons began the frame with a leadoff single by Kiihnl and she advanced to second when Gracey Aguirre reached on an error by Morris as Aguirre laid down the sac-bunt. With runners on first and second, Cartwright returned a missile back to Morris in the circle – and after the ball ricocheted off her ankle and flew into right field – Everett gunned down Kiihnl at the plate as she tried to score from second on the play. However, Caroline Mason doubled home a pair of runs and she scored the third run of the inning on Elliott’s single up the middle.
In the third, ETSU led off the inning with three consecutive singles, but had nothing to show for it as Ashley Anderson forced Wolff to hit into a 4-2-3 double play – and after Horner walked to load the bases for the second time – Everett tapped into an inning-ending grounder to second.
The Blue and Gold loaded the bases again in the fourth, but ETSU was able to scratch across at least one run on an RBI single by Martin to make it a 3-2 game. ETSU should have plated the game-tying run as Wolff hit one into right, but she was called out on the unorthodox 9-3 putout to end the inning as she wasn’t hustling down the line to first.
Lipscomb capitalized on an extra out in the bottom of the fourth to extend its lead to 6-2. With one out and a runner on first, Morris’ throw to second was high as she tried to get the lead runner on the fielder’s choice sac-bunt, which would have resulted in the second out of the inning. From there, the Lady Bisons made the Bucs pay as Cartwright ripped a two-out, two-RBI single to right-center, while a bases loaded walk to Mollie Mitchell brought in Kiihnl – who singled to left earlier in the inning.
Just like she did in game one, Sturdivant finished off Lipscomb’s scoring when she sent one over the fence in left-center pushing Lipscomb’s advantage to, 7-2, in the sixth inning.
Meanwhile, the Bucs didn’t go down without a fight as ETSU pushed three runs across the dish before Anderson stopped the rally by forcing Lower to hit into a game-ending grounder to short. The Blue and Gold began the final inning with three straight singles by Martin, Horner, and Wolff, before Anderson finally got one out by getting Everett to hit into a fielder’s choice. However, Anderson lost her composure as a wild pitch allowed pinch-runner Sade Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga.) to score the first run of the frame, while a throwing error by Lipscomb’s catcher on the same play let fellow pinch-runner Lily Robins (Collierville, Tenn.) cross the plate – making it a 7-4 contest. Unfortunately, the Bucs were only able to put one more run on the board on Delisa’s RBI ground out to second, as Anderson worked out of the wild inning by getting the Lower grounder.
Anderson improved to 12-6 after earning the win by surrendering the five runs (two earned) on 11 hits, while Morris was handed the loss (2-16) as she was charged with seven runs (two earned) on 10 hits in six innings in the circle.
Along with Martin, Hartnett registered a pair of hits and scored a run, and Treadway posted her first multi-hit game of the season after going 2-for-3.
Hartnett enjoyed her best collegiate season in the Blue and Gold in 2012 as she hit .315 (35-111) with three doubles, a triple, 10 RBI, and 11 runs scored in 40 games (37 starts), while Everett impressed the Buccaneer faithful after her solid rookie campaign. The Soddy Daisy, Tenn. native – who began the season with a program-tying 11-game hitting streak – also strung together a 10-game run midway through the season. Overall, Everett finished with a .299 batting average (44-147) along with 13 runs scored and 20 RBI in 48 starts. As well as etching her name into the record books, Horner also led the ETSU offense in batting average (.316), home runs (7), and RBIs (24), while Martin led the team with a career-high 46 hits, three triples, and 24 runs scored in 49 games played.
The Bucs return to the diamond in the fall as ETSU gears up for the 2013 season.
For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.