Sunday, April 07, 2013
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Heather Parker was almost perfect in the circle.
Heading into the seventh inning Sunday at ETSU Parker had not allowed a hit. But her bid for a no-hitter was ruined as Casey Horner led off the seventh with a single.
The no-hitter may have been ruined, but Parker got the shutout as the Purple and Gold beat ETSU 7-0 at Betty Basler Field.
It was the second shutout of the series for Parker. She blanked ETSU 8-0 Saturday with a one-hit performance.
“Heather is doing a really great job of hitting her spots and getting ahead,” LU coach Kristin Ryman said. “She is getting some hitters to chase pitches later in the count because she is getting ahead.
“She is working her game plan to a `T’. She is really on her game. She did what we needed her to do and more.”
Ryman pointed out that it is often more difficult for a pitcher to throw in the second day of a series.
“It is always tough to face a set of hitters that you have already seen the day before,” Ryman said. “They know what to expect and we know what to expect out of them.
“On the second day you have to fight a little bit harder because there are no surprises. To face essentially the same set of hitters for the second time and still not give up a hit until the seventh was huge.”
The Lady Bisons swept an A-Sun series on the road for the second week in a row. They won three games at Florida Gulf Coast last weekend. The Lady Bisons are 20-18 overall, 9-6 in the conference. ETSU slipped to 10-24, 0-14 in the A-Sun.
Parker, 8-9, struck out eight batters, one short of tying her season high. She walked one batter.
LU’s Paige Neely put on a power performance at the plate with an RBI-triple in the third and a solo home run to left in the fifth.
Gracey Aguirre blasted a solo homer to left field to lead off the second inning. Brittany Elmore hit an RBI-triple to right in the sixth and finished with two runs batted in for the game. Bree Thurman doubled down the left field line in the fourth.
“Paige’s triple and Brittany’s triple both hit the top of the fence and bounced back into play,” Ryman said. ‘They were both literally inches from going out.”
Thurman and Heather Montgomery, batting No. 8 and No. 9 respectively, combined for six hits, six runs, three RBI and five stolen bases in the series. Thurman stole four bases in the series including two in Sunday’s game.
“Bree was a big spark in the bottom of the order this weekend,” Ryman said. “I am proud of her. When the bottom part of the order is finding ways to get on base it makes our lineup very dangerous.
“I thought she had some really nice at bats. She has the power potential to hit quite a few doubles and to drive the ball out of the park every once in a while. She was seeing the ball well. She picked pitches she could be successful with. She was very confident at the plate.”
Katie Wolff, 4-13, went the distance for ETSU giving up eight hits. All seven runs were earned. She walked four batters and struck out three.
The Lady Bisons face an important A-Sun series at home at Draper Diamond this weekend. USC Upstate, the conference leader, visits for a three-game series with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday and a single game Sunday at 3.
Wednesday the Lady Bisons will welcome Belmont for a 5 p.m. doubleheader.
“We have the rivalry from down the street with Belmont,” Ryman said. “They have been on a steady climb and are winning games in the OVC. They are going to come out hungry. They aren’t conference games any more, but they are still for bragging rights.
“Belmont will be good preparation for us for another tough conference weekend against Upstate. Hopefully, we will get back in synch on our home field.”