Lady Bucs sweep Sienna with walk-off single
Published: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 09:02
The ETSU Lady Bucs Softball team opened their home season over the weekend in a three-game series against the Siena Saints. The Lady Bucs looked to build on the momentum from their 3-2 weekend at the College of Charleston Classic.
ETSU came out strong in the first game of their Saturday doubleheader, taking game one 12-5. They finished the day with a 10-4 win over the Saints in the second game. On Sunday the Lady Bucs finished the series sweep with a 5-4 come-from-behind victory.
“Siena has good hitters, but this team never gives up, and that makes me very proud,” said coach Brad Irwin. “It is huge to get a sweep, especially with the conference changing to a three-game series.”
The Lady Bucs came out swinging in the first inning, but two quick outs looked to end the frame early for ETSU. The Lady Bucs fought back to put runners in scoring position and a single by junior Jackie Baird gave ETSU the 1-0 lead. The Lady Bucs were not finished there, a walked batter loaded the bases for ETSU and sophomore Casey Horner made the Saints pay on a line drive up the third base line, 3-0 ETSU after the first.
Siena answered back, tying the game at 3-3 in the second and took the outright lead in the top of the third on a two-run throwing error by freshman pitcher Samantha Harrell. ETSU re-took the lead in the bottom of the third as senior Sam Lower and sophomore Alex Everett each drove in two runners, 7-5 ETSU after three.
A solo shot over the left field fence by Lower kicked off a high-scoring fifth inning for the Lady Bucs with red-shirt sophomore Nicole Fox stealing home after a wild pitch. Senior Tara Hartnett and Horner each drove in runs for the 11-5 lead after five innings. ETSU finished strong as Lower added one more in the bottom of the sixth, stealing home on a wild pitch for the 12-5 lead. The Saints tried to get back in the game, but the ETSU defense proved too much, Lady Bucs, 12-5.
ETSU continued to drive the ball in the second game, as Baird started the Lady Bucs off early with a double to plate a run in the bottom of the first. Siena answered back to tie the game in the top of the second, but ETSU loaded the bases in the bottom of the second and Lower drove a ball deep over the left-field fence for a grand slam, 5-1 ETSU heading to the third.
The Saints looked to stay in the game, driving in a run in the third, but the Lady Bucs had an answer for every point Siena put on the board. Solo home runs by Baird in third and Horner in the fifth kept the game out of reach. ETSU scored at least one run in every inning at bat in the second game to win 10-4.
“Our offense was rolling today, with 34 hits,” said Lower. “Our hard work is paying off right now.”
The Lady Bucs struggled at the start of third game as freshman pitcher Samantha Harrell gave up four earned runs, forcing ETSU to change pitchers in the first inning, going to junior Elliana Cabrera. ETSU tried to find a rhythm during the game but stranded runner after runner on base. The Lady Bucs defense held strong though, keeping Siena off the board the rest of the game.
ETSU looked to rally back in the bottom of the seventh, as senior Whitley Hensley opened up with a solo home run to start the rally. ETSU continued to get players on bases and Baird made the Saints pay, driving in two runs to cut the Siena lead to one, 4-3 bottom of the seventh. A walk by Siena loaded the bases with two outs and a walk-off single by Horner completed the seventh-inning comeback, as ETSU beat Siena 5-4, a clean sweep of the Saints.
“It feels good to get the walk-off,” said Horner “I focused on making good hard contact with the ball and trusted the girls on base to score.”
This is the third comeback victory for the Lady Bucs this season and the second where ETSU scored five runs in the last inning to win. ETSU now looks to a doubleheader on Thursday against Liberty University with the first game scheduled to start at 4 p.m.