Johnson City, Tenn. -- The East Tennessee State baseball team used a dramatic four-run rally in the ninth inning of game one and used a 15-hit attack in game two to sweep a Southern Conference doubleheader from Appalachian State at Cardinal Park. The Bucs prevailed 8-7 in the first game and 8-5 in the second game.
Buc senior Nathan Copeland enjoyed an incredible doubleheader, going 6-9 with six RBIs and three runs scored. Junior Brandon Cross went 5-9 with three RBIs and one run scored. App. States Wes Timmons went 4-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs in the first game for the visitors.
In the series opener, Timmons belted Reid Caseys first pitch high off the leftfield wall for a leadoff double. After Casey retired the next two batters, designated hitter Mike Lee stroked a single to center that scored Timmons. ETSUs Copeland launched his team-high 13th homer of the season in the bottom of the inning, a two-run shot that gave the home team a 2-1 lead after the first.
Appalachian tied the score with a run in the fourth. Lee led off the frame with a single, moved to second on an Adam Ennis double and scored on an RBI groundout from Luke Little. The Bucs regained the lead when Ryan Hyder singled home Chad Boruff.
The Mountaineers loaded the bases in the fifth on a double, walk and error. Timmons tied the game when he scored on a Lee groundout. Ennis led off the top of the sixth with a home run and the Mountaineers added another run to take a 5-3 lead. They increased their lead to three runs when Nick Baughn singled home Lee.
In the home half of the sixth, the Bucs started the frame with singles from Ryan McKinney and Andy Baxter. Baxter smacked a rope up the middle that caught Appalachian starter Ben Hager on the arm and knocked him out of the game. Copeland singled to left center that scored McKinney but Baxter was thrown out at home. Reliever Matt Wood settled, ended the rally, and preserved a 6-4 lead after seven innings.
Trailing by three in the ninth, Hyder led of the frame with an infield single. After McKinney lined out, Baxter walked bringing Copeland to the plate as the tying run. The senior delivered with a two-run double to left center. Cross kept the rally alive with an infield single that moved Copeland to third. A wild pitch scored Copeland and tied the game. Boruff singled up the middle to score Cross and cap a four-run, ninth inning, game-winning rally.
Junior Jackson Simerly pitched the final three innings, picking up his second win of the season.
After a scoreless first in the second game, Appalachian scored a run on a wild pitch to take the early lead. The Mountaineers increased their lead with two in the third. Timmons doubled and scored in the frame.
The Bucs took the lead with a four-run third. After two outs, Baxter tripled to right center. Copeland followed with a walk and then Brandon Cross stroked a two-run double into left center. Bryan Crouse lined a hit into right field that scored Cross. John Gorton then collected his second hit of the game, this a double down the left field line that scored Crouse. ETSU added two in the fourth to take a 6-3 lead. McKinney doubled and scored in the inning.
The Mountaineers Chris Downard belted a home run in the fifth to close within two runs. The Bucs engineered two in the seventh to gain an 8-4 advantage. Gorton reached on a fielders choice moved to third on a Tim Turner single and scored when the Appalachian catcher sailed a throw into center field attempting to stop Turner >from a stolen base. Turner then scored on a double from Hyder.
Buc reliever Jeremy Terry allowed one in the ninth but ended the game to earn his first save of the season. He hurled the final four innings, allowing just four hits. Freshman Donnie Sharp improved to 5-2 with a five-inning, eight-hit performance.
The two teams will complete their series with a single game beginning at 1 p.m. tomorrow.