BOILING SPRINGS, NC- The ETSU softball team plated three runs in the bottom of the second inning, while Sharlene Godoy (La Puente, Calif.) and Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.) held Alabama A&M scoreless for the final five innings as the Buccaneers downed the Bulldogs, 3-2, to claim the AmericInn Classic Championship on Sunday afternoon at Brinkley Stadium.
The Bucs – who won four of the five games this season opening weekend – are off to their best start in program history.
Despite being out-hit, 6-5, ETSU got key at-bats from junior Kelsey Smith (Tucson, Ariz.) and Emma Martindale (Johnson City, Tenn.). Smith got the Blue and Gold on the board with a two-run scoring double in the second, while Martindale’s sacrifice fly RBI proved to plate the game-winning run in Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.). Martindale’s RBI was the first of her collegiate career.
Laughren registered three of the Bucs’ hits on Sunday and has now hit safely in all five games this season. For the weekend, Laughren hit .750 (12-for-16) with four doubles, five runs and three RBI. Taylor Carter (Brazil, Ind.) recorded ETSU’s other hit and scored a run in the three-run second inning.
Godoy picked up her first win in a Buccaneer uniform as she allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in four innings, while Schmidt earned her first collegiate save. Smith held the Bulldogs scoreless on two hits with three strikeouts in three innings out of the bullpen.
For the weekend, ETSU’s pitching staff went 4-1 with a 1.58 ERA (8 ER/35.1 IP) and three saves. At the plate, the Blue and Gold hit .316 (43-for-136) with 11 doubles, one triple and one home run. The Bucs also walked 14 times.
Alabama A&M struck with when Jessica Alferos doubled in a pair of runs in the top of the second, but the Bucs responded with three runs runs on three hits in the bottom of the inning to grab a 3-2 lead. Cassi Pickett (Chattanooga, Tenn.) led off the inning with a walk, while back-to-back singles by Carter and Laughren loaded the bases. Smith was the fourth consecutive Buccaneer to reach in the inning when she laced a two-run double to center and Martindale’s sacrifice fly RBI to center gave the Blue and Gold the lead for good.
Godoy and Schmidt then held Alabama A&M to three hits in the final five innings, while limiting one Bulldog baserunner to reach second base during that stretch (came in the fourth inning).
Caitlyn Hayden took the loss (1-1) for Alabama A&M as she was charged with three runs on five hits with four walks in six innings. Six Bulldog players accounted for their six hits, while Alferos reached twice (double and walk) and drove in the two runs.
The Bulldogs dropped to 1-4 following the setback.
The Bucs return to action next weekend as ETSU heads to Charleston, S.C., for the Buccaneer Invitational Tournament. ETSU opens play against Virginia on Friday morning at 10 a.m.
Courtesy: East Tennessee State Athletics