CHARLESTON, S.C. (April 23, 2004) - The East Tennessee State University baseball team opened a critical Southern Conference series with College of Charleston on Friday, dropping the opening game of the series 15-5 at Patriots Point Park.
The Cougars put together three four-run innings en route to improving their conference-leading record to 14-2 and their overall mark to 30-7. Meanwhile, the Buccaneeers dropped to 21-20 overall, 11-11 in SoCon play.
While the game did not end up positive for the Bucs, things looked good early on. ETSU wasted little time breaking through against College of Charleston starting pitcher Reid Price, scoring two runs on four hits in the top of the first inning. Sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) started the early offensive spurt with a single, followed by a double down the left-field line by junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.). Sophomore Blake Church (Roswell, Gal.) then singled Byrne home and Moore scored later on a single by senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.).
ETSU added another run in the top of the second to take a 3-0 lead. That single score came thanks to a single by Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.), who stole second and scored on a single by Byrne.
The Bucs were leading 3-0 and sophomore starting pitcher Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) was cruising along with two outs in the bottom of the second when Charleston's offense finally came to life. The two-out rally began with a single by Jess Easterling, followed by a walk to Matt Kirkpatrick and a run-scoring single by Chris Campbell. With two runners on, the Cougars' Steve Friend gave his team the lead with a three-run home run that made it 4-3.
Charleston added four more runs in the bottom of the third inning, thanks mainly to a three-run double by Campbell, and the Cougars then made it 9-3 thanks to a RBI single from Byron Barber in the bottom of the fourth.
In the top of the fifth, ETSU got back on the scoreboard after Moore notched his third double of the game and Church followed with a two-run blast over the left field wall to make it 9-5. The Bucs kept the pressure on Charleston in the top of the sixth, as sophomore third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.) and sophomore centerfielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) put together back-to-back singles with one out. However, the Cougars replaced Price with reliever Nick Chigges, who induced Byrne to hit into a double play and end the threat.
Charleston put the game away in the bottom of the sixth by scoring four runs in a single frame for the third time in the game. After loading the bases, ETSU reliever Trevor Smith's (Newport, Tenn.) wild pitch allowed a runner to score, followed by a three-run home run by Jess Easterling that made it 13-5. The Cougars added two final runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Price (5-3) picked up the victory on the mound, while Chigges garnered his second save of the season. Hall dropped to 6-6 on the year.
Offensively, Charleston was led by Campbell, who finished the night with four hits and three RBIs. Friend also picked up three RBIs, while Barber and Matt Hallett collected two RBIs each.
For the Bucs, Moore finished with four hits - all of which were doubles - while Church finished with two hits and three RBIs.
The Bucs and Cougars will meet again today at 1 p.m., with the third and final game of the series scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.