STATESBORO, Ga. (Mar. 13, 2004) - Georgia Southern collected 16 hits in defeating East Tennessee State 14-7 in Southern Conference baseball action at J.I. Clements Stadium Saturday afternoon from Statesboro, Ga.
East Tennessee State (10-9, 2-3) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) sent an 0-2 pitch from Eagle starter Brian Harrison over the centerfield fence for his third home run of the season.
After surrendering the home run in the first, Harrison settled down, retiring the next 13 batters that he faced, while his offense posted him to a seven run lead.
Georgia Southern (8-11, 3-2) struck for a pair of runs in the bottom of first on back-to-back RBI singles by Grant Burruss and Brandon Burnsed. James Payne was hit by a pitch to open the frame before being erased on a Brandon Long fielder's choice. Greg Dowling walked to put men at first and second, setting up Burruss' run-scoring hit down the right field line that drove in Long and moved Dowling to third. Burnsed followed with a blooper to center that plated Dowling for a 2-1 Eagle lead.
The Eagles added a run in the bottom of the third inning. Burruss opened the frame with a base hit to left and moved to second on a Burnsed sacrifice bunt. After a Flint Wipke fly out, Mike Economos collected his first hit of the season, a drive to left centerfield, driving in Burruss for a 3-1 Georgia Southern advantage.
Georgia Southern upped its lead to 8-1 in the fourth as it took advantage of four walks from East Tennessee State sophomore starter Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.). With one out, Calicutt issued free passes to Payne, Long and Dowling to load the bases. Burruss ground out allowed Payne to score, giving the GSU designated hitter his second RBI of the day. A Burnsed base on balls reloaded the bases and chased Calicutt. Bucs sophomore reliever Caleb Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.) was greeted by a single from Wipke that plated Long and Dowling and moved Burnsed to third, allowing him to score on a double steal. Economos' second run-scoring hit of the day drove in Wipke for the final Eagle run of the inning.
East Tennessee State broke through for its second run in the top of the sixth. Senior center fielder Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) singled to open the inning and moved to second on a passed ball. A Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) ground out moved Turner to third, allowing him to score on a Byrne sacrifice fly, cutting the Buc deficit to 8-2.
The Eagles struck right back in the bottom of the frame as Burruss singled to open the inning and scored on Burnsed's double into the left field corner. An Economos ground out moved Burnsed to third, allowing him to score on Cam Caldwell's bloop single for a 10-2 Georgia Southern advantage.
The Bucs added three more runs in the top of the seventh to cut their deficit to five. Sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) opened the inning with a hit to right before being erased on a Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.) fielder's choice. Junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) followed with a single through the left-side of the infield, putting two men on base for Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.), who sent a 1-0 pitch from Harrison over the centerfield fence for his first home run of the season, cutting Georgia Southern's lead to 10-5.
Georgia Southern answered with four runs of its own in the bottom of the seventh as Dowling single and scored on Burruss' six home run of the season. Burnsed followed with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a Wipke double. Economos greeted Bucs' reliever Trevor Smith (Newport, Tenn.) with a double to center, driving in Wipke for a 14-5 Eagle lead.
East Tennessee State closed out the scoring in the top of the ninth as freshman outfielder Matt Haynes (Cumberland, Ky.) walked with two outs and scored on Greg Roberts' (Douglas, Ga.) home run to left.
Harrison allowed six hits and five runs, four earned, in seven innings of work. The junior right-hander struck out eight and walked none while improving to 2-2 on the season.
Burruss led Georgia Southern at the plate, collecting four hits, three runs scored and four runs batted in five plate appearances. Economos was three-of-five with three RBI while Burnsed was two-of-two with three runs scored and two RBI.
Douglas led East Tennessee State with two hits and three RBI in three plate appearances while Byrne was one-of-two with two RBI.
The two teams return to action Sunday, March 14 at 1:30 p.m. when they conclude the three-game series in J.I. Clements Stadium.