JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 17, 2014) – After dropping its season opener to Longwood on Sunday, the ETSU baseball team bounced back in a big way as the Bucs swept a doubleheader from the Lancers and won the opening weekend series on Monday at Thomas Stadium.
Junior Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) tossed seven strong innings, while senior Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) and sophomore Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) recorded two-out RBI singles break a 3-all tie in the seventh and the Bucs took game one, 7-3. In the nightcap, ETSU’s bullpen tossed seven scoreless innings and the Blue and Gold won, 5-4, on an unconventional walk-off error as Longwood’s second baseman Travis Biddix dropped a pop fly with two outs and the bases loaded in the 12th, allowing Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) the opportunity to score the winning run.
Sophomore Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) paced the Buccaneer offense on Monday as the outfielder hit .455 (5-11) with one double, one triple, and three RBI, while Freeman, Tritsch, Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.), and Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.) all hit .400 or better on the day. Freeman hit .429 (3-7) with a double and three RBI, York – who hit the pop fly to Biddix in the bottom of the 12th – was also 3-for-7 with two doubles, one triple and four runs scored, Tritsch had four hits in 10 at-bats and scored three runs, and Lasure hit .400 (2-5).
On the mound, the Buccaneer bullpen tossed nine scoreless innings on Monday (seven in game two) as Logan Rice (Erwin, Tenn.), Jared Burton (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Derek Bushey (Richmond, Va.) made appearances in both games. Meanwhile, sophomore lefty Josh Jacques (Rollinsford, N.H.) earned the win (1-0) in game two as he pitched the final 1.1 innings and allowed two hits while striking out one. Senior right-hander Will Chesney (Knoxville, Tenn.) tossed three scoreless out of the pen and fanned three in the nightcap.
With the doubleheader sweep, ETSU moved to 2-1 after the opening weekend, while Longwood dipped to 1-2.
Game One Recap
Jimmy Nesselt tossed seven strong innings and the Buccaneer offense broke a 3-all tie with a two-run seventh as ETSU took game one of the doubleheader, 7-3.
Nesselt allowed three runs on seven hits, while striking out six and walking two to earn the win (1-0). At the plate, Dylan Tritsch and Clinton Freeman provided the Blue and Gold with three-hit games, as the senior duo combined to go 6-for-10 with a double, two runs scored and four RBI. Trey York went 2-for-3 with one double, one triple, and three runs scored, and Andrew Lasure also finished with a two-hit game.
Like they did on Sunday, ETSU jumped out to an early lead by plating a run in the first and third innings, but Longwood tied it at two with a two-run homer in the fourth. But with the game still tied in the seventh, the Bucs got RBI singles by Tritsch and Kevin Phillips, giving ETSU a 5-3 lead – an advantage the Blue and Gold wouldn’t relinquish.
In the first, the Bucs got on the board when Tritsch laced a one-out single to left and came around to score after Freeman split the gap in left-center, putting ETSU ahead, 1-0. ETSU added to its lead in the third as Tritsch’s two-out RBI single to left scored York – who earlier doubled – making it a 2-0 score.
From there, the Lancers pulled even at two in the top of the fourth on Kyri Washington’s two-run homer to left-center, marking his first hit of the season, but Nesselt and the Buccaneer pitchers held Longwood to one run in the final five innings following the round tripper.
The Bucs quickly went back ahead 3-2 in the bottom half of the fifth when York led off the frame with a triple to right, and later scored on Freeman’s RBI single to left.
However, the see-saw game continued when Longwood returned the favor in the sixth. Matt Dickason registered a one-out triple and scored on Scott Burkett’s RBI single to knot things up at three.
Fortunately, after the Bucs missed a scoring opportunity in the sixth and Nesselt escaped a dicey situation in the seventh, ETSU’s bats got hot in the seventh and eighth innings. Tritsch and Phillips recorded their RBI singles with two-outs in the seventh, while Jeremy Taylor’s two-out, two-run scoring double plated York and Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) in the eighth, giving the Bucs some breathing room.
Logan Rice, Jared Burton and Derek Bushey held the Lancers scoreless in the final two innings to secure the victory for Nesselt. Longwood starter Brandon Vick picked up a no-decision as he allowed three runs on 10 hits in six innings, while Blake Ream suffered the loss (0-1). Ream issued two runs on three hits in an inning of work.
Game Two Recap
Despite having to battle back from a pair of two-run deficits, it was the Buccaneer bullpen who stepped up and led the Blue and Gold to a, 5-4, 12-inning victory in game two.
Logan Rice, Jared Burton, Will Chesney, Derek Bushey, and Josh Jacques took advantage of their opportunities out of the pen, while ETSU received a key fielding blunder by Longwood in the bottom of the 12th to cap off the doubleheader sweep.
The Bucs, who left 10 runners stranded in the game, were led by Jeremy Taylor’s 4-hit performance, while ETSU totaled nine hits as a team. Meanwhile, Longwood left seven runners on base, and pounded out 10 hits with Colton Konvicka and Kyri Washington posting two-hit efforts.
Konvicka put the Lancers on the board in the top of the third when his one-out triple down the line in right scored the first two runs of the game.
After being held scoreless through the first four innings, the Bucs tied it at two in the fifth, courtesy of RBIs by Trey York and Taylor. Chris Cook led things off with a double and touched the plate on double by York, while he came in on Taylor’s one-out single to right.
Longwood got the two runs back in the sixth, but from there, the ETSU bullpen held the Lancers in check.
In the seventh, Taylor and Tritsch led off the inning with back-to-back singles and they both scored to tie the game at four. Taylor sprinted home on Freeman’s sac-fly RBI to left, while Tritsch crossed the dish on fielding error by Alex Lewis at third.
From there, the Buccaneer pitchers faced the minimum over the next three innings until Longwood threatened in the 11th, but Jacques entered in relief of Bushey. Jacques forced pinch hitter Travis Biddix to pop out, leaving runners stranded on first and second. Again, Jacques faced a rough moment in the 12th as the Lancers looked to have had two on with only one out, but a baserunning blunder cost Longwood a possible scoring chance. With Brandon Harvell on first, Konvicka singled to short; however, Harvell took a wide turn around second and Riopedre tagged him for the second out of the inning.
The Blue and Gold had the winning run in scoring position in the 10th and 11th innings, but couldn’t find the timely hit. Fortunately, the marathon game ended with an inning later when ETSU capitalized on the miscue by Biddix with two outs and the bases loaded, which brought the Buccaneers out of their dugout in celebration.
Longwood’s Ryan Schubert took the loss (0-1) as he was tagged with the unearned run on one hit in 2.2 innings of action.
The Bucs wrap up their four-game home stint Tuesday afternoon when ETSU hosts Furman at 3:05 p.m. Freshman right-hander Austin Hutchison (Jefferson County, Tenn.) will start for the Blue and Gold, while Furman righty Matthew Quarles gets the nod for the Paladins.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!
For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball page.