JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 2, 2012) – Powered by a three-run seventh inning, the ETSU baseball team snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating No. 28 Appalachian State, 7-4 on Wednesday night at Thomas Stadium.
After Appalachian State (32-10) tied the game at three with a Hector Crespo solo home run in the top of the seventh, ETSU (20-24) put its first five batters on base in the bottom half to push three runs across and hold on for good. Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) led off with a four-pitch walk, followed by four-straight hits capped off by a Chris Riopedre (Cooper City, Fla.) two-run single scoring Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.).
Zach Waters (Woodstock, Ga.) (1-1) took the win in relief, going one inning and giving up just one hit on Crespo’s home run in the seventh. John Long (Anderson, S.C.) earned the save, striking out three in the ninth allowing just one walk. Appalachian State’s Ryne Frankoff (0-1) took the loss after giving up the walk to lead off the seventh.
Freeman and Pratt each had three hits to lead the Bucs at the plate. Freeman was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, while reaching base safely in his 38th consecutive game. Pratt finished the night 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. Meanwhile, Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Cory Betterson (Atlanta, Ga.) had two hits apiece for the Bucs. Scruggs and Riopedre each had a hit with a combined three RBI.
Appalachian State jumped out to an early lead after plating a run in the first on two hits. With one out in the inning, Brandon Burris smacked a double in the left center field gap and later advanced to third on a wild pitch. Then, with two-outs, Daniel Kassouf reached on a throwing error allowing Burris to score from third. ASU nearly added another run after Tyler Tewell roped a single to left field, but Betterson fired a strike to the plate to gun down Kassouf.
ETSU quickly answered in the bottom of the first with a Pratt RBI single. With one-out in the inning, Freeman ripped a ground-rule double to left center. Pratt stepped up and drilled the first pitch he saw from Nunn off the wall in left field to tie the game.
Preston Troutman put ASU back ahead in the top of the second. With one-out, Trey Holmes tripled to left center before Troutman followed with a single to center to give the Mountaineers a 2-1 lead.
The scoring continued into the bottom of the second, when the Bucs took their first lead of the contest. With one-out, Betterson singled up the middle and later stole second to advance into scoring position. Barnett and Greene were both walked, loading the bases for Freeman who sent a single to left bringing in two to put ETSU in front 3-2.
The game remained that way until the seventh when Crespo blasted his third long ball of the year, before ETSU answered and then some in the bottom with three runs and some breathing room for the eighth and ninth.
The Mountaineers inched closer in the top of the eighth. Tyler Tewell singled to shortstop and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Then, Trey Holmes recorded an RBI single to center field for ASU’s final run of the night.
ETSU put the ASU deficit back to three by adding some insurance in the bottom of the eighth. Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) led off with a single to the left side and advanced to second on an Andrew Greene (Powell, Tenn.) sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Pratt recorded an RBI single to right field extending ETSU’s lead to the eventual final, 7-4.
The baseball Bucs will now head to Jacksonville, Fla. to return to A-Sun play with a three-game weekend series against Jacksonville. Game one is scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.