The ETSU softball team opened up Southern Conference play on Saturday against the Mercer University Bears.

In the double-header, the Bucs fell to Mercer 2-0 in the 1 p.m. match but rallied in game two to get a 2-1 win.

During the first match, the Bucs only had four hits, none of which were able to turn into runs as the Mercer pitcher shutout the Bucs.

A junior for ETSU, Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tenn.) pitched for the Bucs in game one. She tied her career high for strikeouts with eight, but allowed two runs off six hits by the Mercer Bears.

However, game two saw new light with senior Lindsey Fadnek (Coalfield, Tenn.) on the mound. She pitched a complete game for the Bucs, allowing only one run.

The Bucs had one run in the first inning and another in the third to secure the win in game two.

Behind the plate, the hits for ETSU came from senior Mykeah Johnson (Cohutta, Ga.) and freshman Nikki Group (Jacksonville, Fla.)

On Sunday, these two teams squared off again at Betty Basler Field.

The Bucs shut out the Bears once again with a 2-0 win.

Junior Ogle came back up on the mound despite her loss to Mercer during game one on Saturday.

Ogle pitched a complete game again, but this time came out on top, only allowing three hits that produced no runs.

This was Ogle’s first complete game shutout, while tossing two strikes and giving away no walks to the Bears.

“She was lights out this weekend,” said Head Coach Brad Irwin. “To neutralize them [Mercer] the way she did is a tremendous pitching performance by her.”

The first hit for ETSU came from Danielle Knoetze (San Diego, Cal.) when she hit a double in the sixth inning. Following behind her, Tiffany Laughren (Erwin, Tenn.) got off a homerun, bringing in Knoetze and ending the game solid in the sixth inning.

“She [Mercer pitcher] finally gave me an inside pitch and it just felt right,” said Laughren of her home run at bat.

Whole Knoetze and Laughren had the game defining hits, the Bucs had a total of eight hits during game three.

Johnson and Grupp, who both had hits during game two, also contributed to game three with base hits.

With this win, the Bucs win the series against Mercer 2-1, adding to their overall record of 16-17.

This is the first time since 2004 that the Bucs have started off SoCon play with a series win.

Next weekend, the Bucs will travel to Samford for a three-game SoCon series.