Softball sweeps East Tennessee State, 2-1 & 6-2
The JU softball team inched closer to a berth in the Atlantic Sun Tournament after the Dolphins swept East Tennessee State, 2-1 & 6-2, to close out the conference schedule on Saturday afternoon in Johnson City, Tenn.

The Dolphins (23-29, 7-13 A-Sun) earned the game one win on timely RBI hits from sophomore Katie Kelly and freshman Amanda Schmidt, while freshman Sarah Sigrest pitched out of jam in the seventh to secure the victory.

Junior Ashley Mora had a two out, three-run homer to put the Dolphins ahead in game two. Junior Kelly McKeon also had a two-run single and junior Ashley Iveson kept the Lady Buccaneers (24-21, 5-11) off balance at the plate to get the win.

With the win, the Dolphins sweep the Lady Buccaneers for the second year in row and put themselves in position of the fourth or fifth seed in the conference tournament if the season ended today.

The Dolphins currently have bye during the final week of the league-wide conference schedule. ETSU, Stetson and Belmont sit behind JU in the standings with six games left to play.

“We were very resilient today,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “I was proud of the way we put yesterday behind us and was able to get two big wins. We made some big plays on defense and pitching to put us in a position to win. I was glad we played all facets on the game well today

“Overall, I’m really proud of the way our team has battled all season. Hopefully, the wins today put us in position of getting a conference tournament berth so we can keep on playing.”

Sigrest (12-15) earned the game one win after allowing a run on eight hits and a striking out one in seven innings. Iveson (9-10) surrendered two runs on seven hits and three strikeouts in seven innings to get the game two victory.

ETSU starter Marissa Hardy (14-12) was tagged with both losses in the doubleheader. She surrendered two runs on four hits and five strikeouts in seven innings in game one and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in 4.2 innings in game two. Angie Boyd gave up two runs on four hits in 2.1 innings to close out the second game.

Offensively, Kelly finished 4-for-5 with an RBI in two games to pace the Dolphins, while senior Alexis Novak had a pair of doubles in game two.

In game one, the Lady Buccaneers took a 1-0 advantage in the fifth on a throwing error by junior catcher Simone Bruemmer. Katy Jett led off the inning with a single to center and stole second in the next at-bat. After a pop out by Trisha Massenzo, Jett scored when Breummer’s throw on her stolen base attempt at third went into left field.

The Dolphins battled back with RBI hits from Kelly and Schmidt to gain a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning. McKeon had a pinch hit leadoff single to left center field to break up Hardy’s no-hitter. Junior Amber Moseley moved McKeon to third with a single to right field. After McKeon was forced out at third on a fielder’s choice, Kelly plated Moseley with a single to left field. With two outs, Schmidt put the Dolphins ahead on a ground ball single through the left side to score Kelly.

Down to their last out in the seventh inning, Cheniece Cason hit a single to right field to keep the game alive for the Lady Buccaneers. Vicki McCoy followed with an infield single, while Jett was intentionally walked to load the bases. Sigrest got Massenzo to ground out back to her to end the game.

In game two, Massenzo gave the Lady Buccaneers a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the second inning to plate Amy Campbell.

The Dolphins plated four runs with two outs in the fifth inning to take a 4-1 advantage. Sophomore Kat Engler legged out an infield single to second base for JU. After stealing second, Kelly advanced Engler to third on a single up the middle. Mora followed homer over the center field fence to give the Dolphins a 3-1 lead. Novak followed with a double to the left field fence and scored on the next at-bat from an error to cap off the inning.

In the sixth inning, Cason led off with a single for the Lady Buccaneers. Cason stole second and then moved to third on McCoy’s bunt single. In the next at-bat, Cason was picked off at home by Iveson after McCoy stole second. Jett reached on an infield single that moved McCoy to third. The Lady Buccaneers pulled off double steal to get a run, but Iveson retired the next two batters to quash the rally.

The Dolphins got some insurance runs in the seventh inning with a two run, two-out single by McKeon to plate Mora and Schmidt for 6-2 lead.

Iveson pitched a scoreless seventh to secure the doubleheader sweep.

The Dolphins are off for finals next week and will return to action on Wednesday, April 29 for a single game against Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Fla. The game was originally scheduled for April 14, but was postponed due to rain. First pitch is still set for 4 p.m.