JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 17, 2014) – Coming off a perfect 4-0 homestand, the ETSU baseball team was looking to keep its momentum intact on the road.
Unfortunately, the Bucs’ road woes continued as Jacksonville scored 10 runs during the fourth through sixth innings, and cruised past the Blue and Gold, 13-6, on a rainy Thursday night from John Sessions Stadium.
Despite jumping out to an early 3-0 lead in the third inning, ETSU couldn’t sustain its offensive output and Jacksonville poured it on as the Dolphins scored 11 unanswered runs before the Bucs stopped the bleeding with an RBI double by Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.) in the sixth. However, Jacksonville's surge was too much for the Bucs to overcome and the Dolphins took the series opener.
Once again, Austin Hutchison (Jefferson County, Tenn.) had another rough road start as he suffered the loss (3-3) after allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits in 3.2 innings of work, while ETSU’s bullpen couldn’t pick up the freshman right-hander. The bullpen combined to surrender nine runs (five earned) in the final 4.1 innings of play.
Junior Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) got the Bucs rolling early on as his double in the top of the third drove in a pair of runs and the ETSU shortstop finished 2 for 5 to extend his hit streak to five straight games. Freshmen Gage Downey (Franklin, Tenn.) and Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) also extended their hit streaks to five straight. Downey registered a pair of hits and scored a run, while Cook’s single plated the first run of the game, courtesy of a throwing error by third baseman Scott Schaub. Downey has now posted three multi-hit games in his last four contests. Sophomore Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) moved his hit streak to six straight games after reaching on a single and scored on Riopedre’s double in the third.
The Bucs entered the day as the top defensive team in the conference as ETSU committed a conference-low 39 errors; however, three miscues on Thursday came back to haunt the Blue and Gold.
Following the setback, the Bucs saw their four-game win streak come to a halt, while ETSU has now dropped its last five road games en route to moving to 18-18, 7-6. Jacksonville, who was swept by the Blue and Gold last season, improved to 13-24, 7-9.
After the Bucs struck first by scoring the three runs on four hits in the top of the third, Jacksonville responded and did so in a big way.
The Dolphins took the wind out of the Bucs’ sails by scoring 11 unanswered runs, beginning with a two-run third and ending with a seven-run fifth to go ahead for good, 11-3. ETSU committed its three errors during the downfall, resulting in six unearned runs coming home for Jacksonville.
Lasure stopped the Dolphin run by ripping a two-out RBI double in the sixth, but Dylan Dillard came through with a one-out RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
From there, both teams traded runs in the eighth, while Brandon Moss (Atlanta, Ga.), who was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth, scored on a sacrifice fly from Tyler Roach (Knoxville, Tenn.). Roach scored in the eighth when Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) connected on a one-out double to right-center.
Junior right-hander Alex McRae earned the win (3-6) after allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits in 7.2 innings. McRae also struck out seven and walked three.
As a team, Jacksonville outhit the Bucs, 19-10, with Angelo Amendolare going 4 for 5 with a triple, RBI and three runs scored. Nate Ricci was one of three Dolphin hitters to finish with three hits and belted his third home run with a solo shot in the fourth. Schaub also provided Jacksonville with three hits and drove in three runs.
The Bucs look to even the series Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Junior Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) gets the start for the Blue and Gold.
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.