JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 1, 2013) – The ETSU softball team returns home to Betty Basler Field on Tuesday as it hosts Tennessee Tech for a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.
ETSU (8-21, 0-11 A-Sun) holds a 4-6 record at home while Tennessee Tech (13-14, 3-4 OVC) is 4-4 on the road.
The Buccaneer Breakdown
Redshirt sophomore Nicole Fox (Peachtree City, Ga.) is hitting .352 to head the offense. Fox carries team-highs in at-bats (108), hits (38), runs (15) and stolen bases (10-13) and is one of three Buccaneers to have played and started in all 29 games. All of Fox’s starts have come in center field.
Junior Jackie Baird (Ooltewah, Tenn.) enters the midweek doubleheader leading in most power statistics. Baird has hit a team-leading four home runs and is also tops in RBIs (19), doubles (6) and slugging (.534). The third baseman/catcher is hitting .330 on the year with a team-high OBP of .422.
Other Bucs making an offensive presence are Tara Hartnett (Snellville, Ga.), Katie Wolff (LaGrange, Texas) and Casey Horner (Whitesburg, Tenn.). Hartnett and Wolff have their batting averages at .317 and .306, respectively, and have combined to score 20 runs and drive in 17. Horner sits an RBI shy of Baird’s team-leading total, but has seen her average dip below .300 for the first time this season at .295.
Sophomore Alex Everett (Soddy Daisy, Tenn.) is on the rise after a 3-for-8 weekend against North Florida. Everett’s season average is up to .271 and she has scored 10 runs to go along with seven RBIs. Freshman Sam Carpenter (Forest City, N.C.) and senior Sam Lower (Sebring, Fla.) share the Buccaneer lead in home runs with three apiece.
As a team, the Bucs are hitting .279 to rank tied for fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
In the circle, Wolff (3-11) continues to be rock solid with a 2.56 ERA in just over 90 innings pitched. Nine of Wolff’s 13 starts have ended in complete games – including her last seven starts – with one shutout. Wolff has struck out 43 and walked 41. Freshman Sam Harrell (Okeechobee, Fla.) has made 13 starts as well and combined for a third over 69 innings pitched. Harrell (4-8) carries a 3.94 ERA, striking out 41 and walking 39.
As a staff, ETSU holds a 3.79 ERA and allows an opposing batting average of .276.
Last Time Out
ETSU made a trip to Jacksonville, Fla., to take on the University of North Florida in a three-game, Atlantic Sun series last Friday and Saturday. UNF took all three games, winning Friday’s double header by scores of 5-1 and 10-0 (5), while earning the sweep on Saturday, 1-0.
The series opener was ETSU’s to win until the sixth when UNF struck for five runs to take the 5-1 lead. The Ospreys scored all five runs with two outs, beginning with a bloop single over the head of Baird at third to tie the game. A hit batsman and a single put the home side on top before Kelly Wilson cracked her first long ball of the season to give UNF a four-run lead. The Bucs had eight hits and drew two walks in the game, but left 11 on base.
All the momentum carried into game two where UNF led 3-0 after three innings. It got out of hand in the fourth as North Florida put up seven runs, capped by a bases-clearing, three-RBI triple off the bat of Brittany Hendrix.
Wolff gave ETSU every chance to win in the series finale, but the Bucs could not plate a run and UNF walked off on a two-error play. With a runner on first, a sac bunt was put down and mishandled by Baird. Freshman Bethany Cowart (Ringgold, Ga.) scooped it up and threw to Carpenter covering first, but was not in time. Seeing Hendrix headed for third, Carpenter threw across the diamond but sailed the throw high and into left field to bring in the winning run.
Scouting Tennessee Tech
The Golden Eagles come to Johnson City hitting .266 as a team and are led by Mel Christian who is at .379. Christian has played and started in all 27 contests and holds the team lead in runs (20), hits (36) and stolen bases (12-15). She also has driven in 11 to rank second in that department.
Madison Taylor is another big threat at .360 with a team-high 12 RBIs. Taylor knows how to work the count having walked 10 times. Hannah Eldridge is the other TTU starter above .300, sitting a point above with a team-leading five doubles while boasting 14 runs and 10 RBIs.
Tennessee Tech is not too big a threat for a long ball having only seven on the season.
In the circle, it’s Taylor Ketchum (8-5) who heads the staff with a 2.59 ERA. In 14 starts and 17 combined appearances, Ketchum has pitched 87 innings while striking out 52 and walking 23. Eleven of Ketchum’s starts have gone for complete games.
Erica Tuck (0-5) has seen nine starts, but suffers from a team-worst 6.46 ERA. Other pitchers on the Golden Eagle staff include Hannah Weaver (1-1, 4.97 ERA) and Claudia Harke (2-3, 6-35 ERA).
TTU’s staff ERA is 4.40.
Tennessee Tech holds a 14-3 lead in the al-time series and has won its last five contests against ETSU. Last season, the two teams met in Cookeville and the Golden Eagles won by scores of 5-1 and 11-3. ETSU’s last win came in 2008, 1-0, the last time the two sides met in Johnson City.
Live stats for both games will be available through Stat Broadcast by logging onto ETSUBucs.com. ETSU’s latest partner in live statistics allows fans to access all the stats they need, keep up with the scores around the conference with a built-in scoreboard and even interact with the action. Fans who Tweet using the hashtags #ETSUsb or #BucYeah will have their Tweets shown at the bottom interface and will be able to interact with @ETSUSoftball and @ETSUAthletics.
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