On Feb. 24 the Bucs entered the Winthrop Invitational looking to bounce back from the Buccaneer Invitational.
The Winthrop Invitational included Eastern Kentucky, Winthrop, Youngstown St., Bucknell and North Carolina Central.
“We’re looking to bounce back from a sub-par performance last weekend,” said head coach Brad Irwin. There were a few areas the Bucs needed to improve on, including pitching and consistency on offense.
“We haven’t hit the way we are capable of the past couple weeks,” Irwin said. “Pitching-wise we walked too many people last week.”
Irwin expected Danielle Knoetza (San Diego, Calif.) to have a big weekend. He felt she could be a big spark for the Bucs offense.
The Bucs first game Friday was against Eastern Kentucky. Both teams scored two runs in the second inning. The Bucs first run came off an Eastern Kentucky error to have bases loaded. Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) knocked in Nikki Grupp (Jacksonville, Fla.) to tie the game. Knoetze hit a homer to left field in the fourth inning bringing in Grupp to give the Bucs a 4-2 lead.
Pitcher Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.) pitched well for the Bucs throwing seven innings with eight strikeouts. The Bucs won 4-2, improving their record to 5-6.
Next the Bucs played Winthrop.
After trailing one run going into the third inning, the Bucs scored three runs. Knoetze hit a homer to bring in Grupp and Kelsey Chernak (Ooltewah, Tenn.). Winthrop scored two runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at 3-3.
In the eighth inning, Laughren doubled to bring in Mykeah Johnson (Cohutta, Ga.). Followed by Taylor Carter’s (Brazil, Ind.) hit a homer to bring in Laughren for the 6-3 lead. Winthrop made a charge with two runs but fell short.
The Bucs won to improve their record to 6-6.
Saturday the Bucs started their day off against Youngstown State. Danielle Knoetze put the Bucs on the board in the third inning with a home-run hit, bringing in two runners on base. Carter hit a single to right field to bring in a run, which gave the Bucs a 4-0 lead going into the fourth inning.
With bases loaded, Laughren hit a ground rule double to bring in two runs to give the Bucs a 6-0 lead. Youngstown State got their first run in the fifth inning to bring the Bucs lead to 6-1. The Bucs won 7-3, improving their record again to 7-6.
To end their day Saturday the Bucs faced Bucknell who came into the game with a 5-2 record. Bucknell got on the board first, scoring two runs in the first inning. Grupp hit a double with bases loaded in the second inning, driving in three runs to give the Bucs a 3-2 lead.
The Bucs scored once in the seventh inning as they fell 7-4. The loss brought the Bucs’ record to 7-7.
On Sunday, the Bucs played North Carolina Central and won 11-0 to improve their record to 8-7.