The Bucs continued conference play this past weekend by hosting UNC-Greensboro at Betty Basler Field. This matchup was sure to be a challenging one, with UNC-Greensboro sitting at the top of the Southern Conference standings and ETSU coming off a blowout loss to Furman the previous weekend.
However, strong pitching kept the first game close against the best the SoCon has to offer. UNC-Greensboro recently put up 19 runs earlier in the week against Presbyterian, while ETSU held them to just 3, thanks to the stellar pitching from Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Georgia) and Madison Ogle (Maryville, Tennessee). The Bucs ultimately fell, 1-0.
Ogle pitched the first outing on Friday afternoon. Of her 124 pitches from the mound, 78 were strikes, leading to 6 strikeouts. She also held the high octane UNC-Greensboro offense to only 1 run in 7 innings, coming from a run batted in during the 3rd inning. Ogle pitched above the team’s season average in strikeouts, while keeping UNC-Greensboro below their season average in runs and hits a game. This big performance from the senior pitcher comes at a good time, with ETSU slipping to the bottom of the SoCon standings with under a month to go before the postseason begins.
Ogle got a rest the next day out, and sophomore Schmidt picked up where she left off. Schmidt had a similarly stellar performance, throwing 64 strikes on 96 pitches with a strikeout. However, again the runs came to UNC-Greensboro in the third inning. Despite the 2-0 loss, ETSU again held the best offense in the Southern Conference to a below average game.
With very little time left in the season, the strong showing from the pitching mound should bring a sigh of relief. Although the Bucs offensive struggles continue, they didn’t manage to score, and only had 4 hits over the two games, strong pitching can keep the Bucs alive long enough to hopefully come out of their hitting slump.
The final game of the series was rained out Sunday. The Bucs are on the road next, facing the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on Tuesday night. Following that matchup, the team gets a much needed rest, before hosting USC Upstate on April 26.