Johnson City, Tenn. (April 9, 2002) - East Tennessee State University's baseball team kept its hot streak alive tonight, with a 16-3 pasting of Middle Tennessee State this evening at Cardinal Park in non-conference baseball action. The win was the fourth straight for the Bucs and improves their record to 11-19 while MTSU drops to 19-13.
Kirk Keithley (Peoria, Ill.) kept his hot hitting going, getting a 3-for-5 night, driving in four runs. He slammed his first home run of the season over the fence in left to put ETSU on the board first in the bottom of the second.
Middle Tennessee State came back with two runs in the third to take its only lead of the contest. Nate Jaggers followed a Chuck Akers double with a run scoring single for the first Blue Raider run. Akers then came home on a double from Josh Archer to make it 2-1 in favor of MTSU.
ETSU starting pitcher Jackson Simerly (Bluff City, Tenn.) settled down after that, allowing just one more MTSU run in the eighth. Simerly picked up his first win of the season, going 7.2 innings and allowing two earned runs and eight hits. He struck out five against two walks.
ETSU got all the runs it would need in a three-run fourth, taking advantage of a pair of Blue Raider errors. Keithley doubled home one run, while Justin Clear (Lafollette, Tenn.) singled home another. The other run scored when Clear's hit to left got by the left fielder, allowing Michael Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.), who reached by when he was hit by the pitch, to score.
Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) drove in a run with a groundout in the fifth and Jeremy Terry (Cumberland, Ky.) singled and later scored on another MTSU error in the sixth.
A four-run seventh put the game away for ETSU. With one out, Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) singled and stole second before Moore walked. Davis Burklin (Knoxville, Tenn.) brought both runners home with a long double to deep right center. Keithley later added his second RBI double of the night before Brandon Cross (Bluff City, Tenn.) scored on a wild pitch.
ETSU added six more in the eighth, mostly due to the ineffectiveness of MTSU reliever Jason Kuhn, who gave up all six runs. Kuhn had control problems, walking five and uncorking six wild pitches in just two-thirds of an inning. Khun's six wild pitches were just one shy of the NCAA record. The Bucs had only two hits in the inning in 11 plate appearances, getting an RBI pinch-hit single from Bryan Crouse (Kingston, Tenn.) and a two-run double from Ryan Hyder (Erwin, Tenn.) in his second trip up in the inning.
Keithley led the 12-hit ETSU attack with his three hits, while Burklin and Hyder each added a pair of RBIs. Jaggers led MTSU with three hits in four trips, driving in one run. Jeremy Armstrong, the Blue Raider's second pitcher of the game, took the loss, allowing five runs, one earned, and six hits in 3.0 innings.
East Tennessee State and Middle Tennessee State will play again tomorrow in the final game of the two-game set, with a start time of 3:00 p.m. at Cardinal Park.