Softball sweeps Buc Challenge tournament two days in a row
Published: Sunday, February 23, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014 21:02
The ETSU softball team picked up right where it left off after day one of the Buccaneer Challenge presented by Holiday Inn, dominating the tournament’s second and final day. In their two wins Sunday, the Bucs allowed just five total hits while outscoring their opponents, 15-0.
By beating Siena, 7-0, and Oakland, 8-0, Sunday, the Bucs (7-5) are off to their best start since 2010.
“Sweeping two days in a row is big,” ETSU head coach Brad Irwin said of the Buccaneers running the table over the weekend. “We’ve been splitting a lot of double headers, so it’s huge. I’m really proud of the girls.”
In the first game of ETSU’s afternoon double-header, freshman Taylor Carter continued her torrid pace to start the season, allowing just three hits en route to clinching her second complete game shutout of the season.
The Brazil, Ind., native helped her own cause in ETSU’s first half inning, driving in Bethany Cowart on a double to right centerfield to give the Bucs the early 1-0 advantage.
ETSU’s red-hot offense provided six insurance runs for Carter, posting three runs in the third inning, two more in the fourth, and another in the sixth.
The Bucs are averaging 5.42 runs per game this season. On the weekend, ETSU outscored Oakland and Siena by a combined 25-4 margin.
With the bases loaded in the 3rd inning, freshman Danielle Knoetze singled to center field to plate a pair of runs. One batter later, Knoetze was driven home by junior Casey Horner to give the Bucs a 4-0 lead heading into the fourth inning.
Senior catcher Jackie Baird blasted her team-best seventh home run of the season in the fourth inning, pushing ETSU’s lead to 6-0.
Baird has homered in seven of the Bucs’ 12 games this season and leads the team with 15 RBI.
Putting the finishing touches on her fifth pitching victory of the season, Carter drove home another run in the 6th to extend ETSU’s to 7-0.
On the weekend, Carter pitched 14 innings of one-run softball, allowing no walks while hitting .417 with a homer and four RBI.
Six different ETSU players recorded hits in the game.
In its second game of the day, ETSU showed no signs of cooling off on the mound or at the plate.
Senior pitcher Katie Wolff tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits.
The Bucs used a seven-run third inning to take control of the game, capitalizing on a throwing error by Oakland’s Morgan Muron.
Senior Nicole Fox reached first on Muron’s throwing error to lead off the inning.
With two outs, Baird singled to centerfield to drive Fox home, setting the stage for ETSU’s highest-scoring inning of the season.
Over the next five batters, the Bucs recorded a walk, two singles, a triple, and a home run.
Horner belted her first homer of the season, a three-run blast to left center, while Fox legged out a two-RBI, stand-up triple.
The Bucs sealed their perfect weekend by scoring one run in the fifth inning to conclude the game via mercy rule.
“Yesterday, we gave up more hits than we would like to,” Irwin said. “Coming back today and facing the same two teams, I thought both Taylor [Carter] and Katie [Wolff] were very sharp. We just have to keep scoring runs. When the offense produces like that, it takes the pressure off our pitchers and allows them to throw their stuff.”
The Buccaneers will look to extend their four-game win streak as they host Morehead State for a three-game series March 1-2.