Johnson City, Tenn. -- East Tennessee State used a three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth to escape with an 11-10 win against Morehead State at Cardinal Park.
The Bucs (5-11) led 7-1 and 8-4 before falling behind 10-8 on a grand slam in the top of the eighth. ETSU responded with three runs, including the game-winning single by Tim Turner, to secure the win. Junior Reid Casey closed the door with a perfect ninth inning to earn his first save.
The offensive hero of the game was ETSU junior Brandon Cross who knocked in five runs -- three on a first-inning home run -- while going 2-4 at the plate. Morehead States Will Renaker and Bubba Lavender both notched four RBIs. Freshman left-hander Josh Kite earned the win despite allowing the eighth-inning grand slam.
Morehead State (6-5) strung together three singles in the first to take a 1-0 lead. After one out, Jimmy Mains singled and later scored on a Renaker single. The Bucs answered with three in the bottom of the first. After retiring the first two batters, Morehead State starter Triffon Callos plunked Andy Baxter and Nathan Copeland. Buccaneer second baseman Brandon Cross cleaned the bases with a drive over the right field wall.
The Bucs led 7-1 after a four-run second. Jason Nidiffer started the rally with a walk and then scored on a Turner triple. Leadoff hitter Jeremy Terry drove Turner home with a long double to left field and then scored on an RBI groundout by Kirk Keithley. ETSUs fourth run came on a solo shot by Andy Baxter that barely stayed inside the right field pole.
A three-run homer by Renaker in the fifth closed the gap to 7-4. After the shot to left field, Buc starter Jackson Simerly calmed down and retired the side. In the sixth, the Eagles threatened by loading the bases with two walks and a single. ETSU reliever Jarrod Hyder ended the threat by enducing Renaker into a ground out.
Morehead States Casey Gilvin belted his first home run of the season, a two-run shot, in the seventh to close the gap to 8-6. The Eagles took their first lead with a grand slam in the eighth. Mains led off the frame with a single and after two walks, Lavender hit the high homer to left center.
East Tennessee State would not be denied as they rallied for three runs in the home half of the eighth. Nathan Copeland began the frame with a triple and scored on a Cross single. Designated hitter Scott Rose tied the game with a double to left center that plated Cross. A two-out, game-winning single by Turner gave the Bucs an 11-10 win.
The Bucs return to action this weekend with a three-game series at Furman. The series begins on Friday, March 9 at 3 p.m., the middle game will be played at 1 p.m. on Saturday and the series finale will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday.