JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 2, 2013) – Junior right-hander Logan Rice (Erwin, Tenn.) was one of four ETSU pitchers to combine for the shutout as the Buccaneer baseball team blanked Tennessee Tech, 3-0, on Tuesday night at Thomas Stadium.
Rice – who made his first collegiate start – tossed four strong innings and worked out of some jams early to earn his second win of the season (2-1), while fellow junior Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) picked up his third save after tossing the final two innings of the game. In addition to Rice and Freeman, junior lefty newcomer Jared Burton (Knoxville, Tenn.) and freshman right-hander Kameron Miller (Crestview, Fla.) also combined for ETSU’s fourth shutout of the season. Burton tossed two innings of one-hit ball in the fifth and sixth innings and Miller pitched the seventh.
The top six hitters of the Buccaneer lineup recorded hits as they combined for nine of ETSU’s 10 hits, with Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.), Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.), and Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) all registering two-hit games. Taylor went 2-for-4 with one double, one run scored and one stolen base, Tritsch posted a triple and an RBI, and Green doubled along with stealing his 10th base of the year.
With the win, ETSU snapped its two-game losing skid and improved to 15-11 on the season, while Tennessee Tech – who previously owned the nation’s longest winning streak at 14 straight games prior to its 6-4 setback last Saturday against SIU Edwardsville – dropped to 21-8 on the campaign.
The Bucs showcased some solid defense to get out of jams in the first two innings, but Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) plated the first run of the game with a sac-fly RBI in the bottom of the second, giving ETSU a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the first, Tennessee Tech led off the game with a double down the line in left, but Rice kept Zach Zarzour from scoring by inducing designated hitter Brandon Thomasson to hit into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Just like the Golden Eagles, ETSU head its leadoff batter reach in the bottom of the first as Taylor singled to second, but after stealing second, the freshman outfielder was caught stealing for the second out of the frame when he tried to swipe third. Tennessee Tech hurler Ross Spurgeon ended the inning by striking out Freeman swinging.
For the second straight inning, the Blue and Gold flashed some leather and Rice worked out of a bases loaded jam to keep things scoreless. With one out and runners on second and third, Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) robbed Tevis Sherfield of a two-run scoring hit as his leaping grab at second marked the second out of the inning, while Rice got Zarzour to fly out to center, which left the bases full of Tennessee Tech runners.
After working out of the first and second inning jams, the ETSU offense gave Rice a one-run lead as the Bucs began the inning with a double by Green, followed by a single from Tyler Roach (Knoxville, Tenn.). Then, with runners on the corners, Riopedre drove in his 21st run of the year with his sacrifice fly to put the Bucs up, 1-0.
Again, the defense continued stepping up with big plays as Burton forced Tennessee Tech into its second inning-ending double play in the fifth, while striking out pinch hitter Evan Frazier looking to get out of the sixth with runners on the corners.
ETSU added to its lead in the bottom of the inning when Taylor reached on a double to left and quickly scored on Tritsch’s RBI single, making it a 2-0 game. The Blue and Gold missed on more scoring chances as Tritsch tried to score on Freeman’s single to right, but he was tagged out at home on the relay. Following the play at the plate, Green singled but runners were left on the corners when Roach struck out swinging.
The Blue and Gold plated their final run in the seventh when Matt Sorrow (Griffin, Ga.) doubled in Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) – who struck out swinging but reached on a wild pitch from Stanton Taylor.
From there, Freeman entered in relief and worked out of a messy situation in the eighth as the Golden Eagles had runners on second and third with only one out, but the Jonesborough, Tenn. native struck out Zephan Guyear swinging and forced Jordan Parris to foul out to Sorrow behind the plate. In the ninth, Freeman struck out two of the four hitters he faced to finish off the win.
Tennessee Tech starter Ross Spurgeon earned the loss (1-1) after allowing one run on three hits in four innings, while two Golden Eagle hitters ended with multi-hit games. Third baseman Daniel Miles went 2-for-3 and shortstop Dylan Bosheers also tallied two hits in four at-bats.
The Bucs now hit the road for a three-game conference series beginning Friday afternoon at Northern Kentucky. First pitch of the series opener is set for 3 p.m., at the Bill Aker Baseball Complex.
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