JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 14, 2014) – Freshman right-hander Austin Hutchison (Jefferson County, Tenn.) gave ETSU a quality start by allowing one run in six innings of work, but the Bucs' bullpen imploded by surrendering six runs in the seventh as Bryant rallied to a 9-6 win on Friday night at Thomas Stadium.
The Bucs scored two runs in the first and Hutchison left with a 3-1 lead after six innings, but the ETSU bullpen – who was nearly untouchable in the opening weeks of the season – struggled in the seventh and the Blue and Gold squandered another strong outing by the rookie. Senior righty Will Chesney (Knoxville, Tenn.) suffered the loss (1-1) after being charged for three runs on two hits in one-third of an inning.
Bryant starter Craig Schlitter earned the win (2-1) after allowing three runs on five hits in 6.1 innings of work, while southpaw Trevor Lacosse tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless ball to pick up his second save of the year.
The Blue and Gold got RBIs by Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) and Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) in the first, while ETSU rallied for three in the eighth – but just like Wednesday’s trip to Asheville – it was too little too late for the Bucs. Freeman, who tossed the final 2.2 innings and allowed two runs (one earned), went 2 for 3 with two walks, one triple, one run and one RBI at the plate. Senior Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) posted his second straight two-hit game and also walked twice, while sophomore Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) tripled, walked and scored two runs.
ETSU has now lost three straight and dipped to 7-10, while Bryant extended its win streak to three and moved to 6-6.
After not giving Hutchison any run support in his last start (1-0 loss to Hartford), the Bucs quickly gave the freshman some room to work with as ETSU plated two runs on two hits in the bottom of the first to go ahead, 2-0. A one-out walk to Tritsch paid dividends as Freeman ripped a triple off the wall in left-center, while the Buccaneer two-way player came home on Riopedre’s RBI single up the middle.
The Bulldogs cut their deficit in half in the third when Daniel St. George led off the inning with a walk and scored on John Mullen’s two-out RBI single to right. After Mullen stole second and third, Hutchison worked out of the minor jam by inducing Jordan Mountford into an inning-ending grounder to first, keeping ETSU’s lead intact, 2-1.
Both pitchers worked out some dicey situations in the fifth inning as the teams left total of five runners stranded; however, the Blue and Gold were able to add to their lead in the sixth, making it a 3-1 ballgame. York laced a one-out triple to right-center and scored when Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.) hit a chopper to second. York beat the high throw home to the plate, putting ETSU back ahead by two runs.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs attacked in the seventh by plating their six runs, while Mullen led off the eighth inning with a homer to left, making it a five-run advantage for Bryant, 8-3.
The Blue and Gold put a scare into the Bulldogs as ETSU tallied a three-run eighth, but with one out and the tying run at first, Freeman hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to stop the comeback. York began the inning with a four-pitch walk and came around to score on an RBI single by Zach Mize (Gainesville, Ga.), while Tyler Roach (Knoxville, Tenn.) – who reached via an error – came home on a sac-fly RBI from Matt Sorrow (Griffin, Ga.). From there, Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) ripped an RBI double down the line in right; however, following a walk by Tritsch, Freeman was doubled up on his roller to second.
Bryant tacked on an insurance run in the ninth and Lacosse sent the Bucs down in order to close out the contest.
The Bulldogs pounded out 15 hits on the night and were led by three-hit efforts from Mullen and Cole Fabio.
The second game of the series is set for Saturday at 2:05 p.m., as junior right-hander Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) gets the start for the Bucs, while Bryant counters with right-hander Kevin McAvoy.
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