JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 17, 2004) - Down 1-0, Ball State rallied for four runs in the top of the third and never looked back, defeating East Tennessee State, 6-2, Wednesday night from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. With the win, the Cardinals (6-7) split the two-game non-conference series with the Buccaneers (11-11).
East Tennessee State took the early advantage, as sophomore left fielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) belted his second homer of the season with a deep blast over the right field wall.
The Bucs led 1-0 until the Cardinals took the lead for good in the third. Shortstop Jason Bucholtz doubled to lead off the inning then centerfielder Mike Sullivan reached on an error. The two runners moved up a base on a fly out by catcher Matt Singleton. Second baseman Kyle Dygert came to the plate and cleared the bases with a double to right center. With two down, first baseman Brad Miller connected for his fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot over the left field wall.
Ball State added a run to their lead in the top of the fourth. Right fielder Kiel Holman led off the frame with a walk, and scored as Bucholtz singled and advanced to second on an error.
East Tennessee State scored their final run in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.) laced a double to left then moved to third on a ground out by senior center fielder Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.). Roberts crossed the plate on a two-out RBI single by sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.).
The Cardinals capped this evening's scoring with their final run in the top of the eighth. Holman led off the inning with a double to left, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bucholtz. Sullivan drove in Holman with a triple deep off the center field wall.
Ryan DeGeeter (1-0) earned his first collegiate win for Ball State, going six innings and allowing two runs on five hits. He also struck out five while walking none. Freshman righty David Yates (Douglasville, Ga.) was charged with the loss (1-1) after going the first three innings and allowing five runs (one earned) on six hits.
"Their pitchers did a great job of keeping us off balance tonight," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "They did not let us put anything together."
Roberts led the Bucs with two hits while five players had one base hit.
Singleton, Bucholtz and left fielder Kenny Bargfeldt paced Ball State at the plate with two hits each. Dygert and Miller led the Cardinals with two RBIs while Holman scored twice.
"They just flat out beat us tonight," said Skole. "They are a quality ball club with some great athletes."
East Tennessee State returns to action Friday night in the opener of a three-game Southern Conference series as the Bucs host UNC Greensboro from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. Friday's first pitch is set for 7 p.m.