JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2014) – Furman’s Greg Harrison broke a 3-all tie in the top of the sixth when his two-out RBI double scored the go-ahead run, and the Paladins handed the ETSU baseball team a 5-3 setback on Tuesday evening at Thomas Stadium.
The Bucs couldn’t take advantage of four Furman errors as ETSU hitters went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and hit into three double plays on the night. Senior Tyler Roach (Knoxville, Tenn.) had two of the hits for the Bucs, while fellow senior Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) drove in a pair runs.
Freshman right-hander Austin Hutchison (Jefferson County, Tenn.) made his first collegiate start and took a no-decision after allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in four innings of work. Local product Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.) made his collegiate debut but suffered the loss (0-1) after allowing the RBI double to Harrison in the sixth. McCann was charged with one run on five hits in two innings of relief.
Furman jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as the Paladins plated a run in the first on two-out RBI single by Chris Ohmstede, while the visitors picked up another two-out RBI in the third on double from Alex Abrams.
The Bucs fought back to tie the game at two in the bottom of the third thanks to Freeman’s two-run scoring double to right, which brought home Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Gage Downey (Franklin, Tenn.). Downey reached earlier in the inning on a one-out single to right-center and moved to second when Tritsch worked a five-pitch walk. The Blue and Gold missed a chance to take the lead later in the inning as Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) singled to short, but Freeman – who advanced to third on the hit – was gunned down at the plate. Freeman tried to score on the play after Hunter Burton’s throw went high of the bag at first; however, Harrison maintained his composure and threw a strike to the plate to beat the slide from the Jonesborough, Tenn. native.
The Paladins regained the lead an inning later when Burton’s fielder’s choice RBI made it a 3-2 score, but ETSU quickly tied it up at three, courtesy of two errors by the Paladins. With two outs and Downey on first, Freeman hit a shallow blooper to left and Furman’s shortstop dropped the ball to put runners on the corners. Following the play, Phillips hit a routine grounder to second and Jordan Simpson had trouble fielding the ball, which allowed Downey to score the tying run.
Unfortunately, Harrison delivered the blow with his two-out RBI double in the sixth, while the Paladins got an RBI groundout by pinch hitter Jake Jones in the seventh to take the two-run advantage.
The Bucs had runners in scoring position in the sixth and eighth, but the Blue and Gold hit into two inning-ending double plays to stop any comeback.
Junior southpaw Ryan Morse pitched three strong innings out of the bullpen to earn the win (1-0), while Harrison made the move from first to pitcher in the ninth to earn his first save of the campaign. Hunter Burton and Ohmstede both finished with three-hit games for Furman.
Through four games of the season, ETSU sits at 2-2, while Furman moved to 3-1. Before coming SoCon foes again in 2014-15, the Bucs make the trek to Furman on May 7 for a final non-conference battle.
The Blue and Gold now hit the road for the first time this season as ETSU heads to Auburn, Ala., for this weekend’s Tiger Classic. The Bucs face California on Friday, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday and take on host Auburn Sunday. All three game times are scheduled for 3 p.m. (Eastern) at Plainsman Park.
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