Johnson City, Tenn. -- East Tennessee State senior third baseman Andy Baxter hit a three-run homerun that broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Buccaneers a the lead for good in a 21-15 victory over Valparaiso in the fourth game of the East Tennessee State Pirate Club Classic Saturday afternoon from Cardinal Park.
ETSU (3-6) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third with a two-run double by senior right fielder Nathan Copeland. Valparaiso (0-1) immediately answered back with five runs of their own in the top of the fourth to take a 5-2 advantage.
The Crusader lead was short-lived as the Buccaneers caught fire to score seven runs in the bottom of the fifth. The big blows of the inning were the three-run blast by Baxter that was immediately followed by a solo shot from Copeland.
ETSU scored all 21 of their runs in the last six innings of play and batted around in the fourth and the eighth innings.
Valparaiso threatened the Buccaneer lead when they trimmed the advantage to 16-14 after scoring four runs in the top of the eighth. ETSU responded by scoring five runs in the bottom of the frame to break the game open for good.
Baxter led the Buccaneer charge, going 3-3 with four runs scored and five RBI. Copeland led ETSU with five runs batted in for the afternoon. Freshman outfielder Tim Turner (3), freshman catcher Jason Nidiffer (3) and senior infielder Ryan McKinney (2)all had multiple RBI games for the Buccaneers.
Valparaiso was led by first baseman Dan Schrum, who had two hits in three at bats, along with four runs scored and two RBI. Tom Magnetti, Marc Boggio, Jeff Mandsager and Brian Wolotka also had two runs batted in for the Crusaders.
Sophomore Jarrod Hyder picked up the victory after pitching three innings of relief for ETSU. Angus Roy received the loss for Valparaiso.
ETSU returns to action tomorrow at 3 p.m. against Akron in the final day of the Pirate Club Classic. Valparaiso will face Xavier at noon.
Game 1 Recap: Akron 15, Xavier 6
Akron center fielder Steve Bowers went 3-4 with two runs scored and two RBI to lead the Zips to a 15-6 win against Xavier, avenging Fridays loss to the Musketeers in the first game of the East Tennessee State Pirate Club Classic.
Zip reliever Ben Shepherd earned the win, pitching 4.2 innings of shutout relief, allowing only one hit and striking out four. Musketeer starter Matt Raih allowed seven runs (four earned) over two innings pitched and was saddled with the loss.
Brady Steineck, Ty Moorehead and Jim Gemler each had two hits for Akron. Outfielder Russ Reyes led the Musketeers with two hits and three RBI in four at bats.
Akron plays tomorrow at 3 p.m. against East Tennessee State in the final day of the Pirate Club Classic. Xavier will face Valparaiso at 12 p.m.