Johnson City, Tenn. (April 12, 2002) - Donnie Sharp (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) tossed a complete-game seven hitter, striking out 11, while Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) drove in three runs to lead East Tennessee State past VMI, 8-3, in Southern Conference baseball action at Cardinal Park.
VMI (8-22, 0-12 SoCon) did all of its scoring in the first inning, getting four of its hits in the initial frame. Ben Rand led off the game with a single and with one out Andy Barden singled to right, advancing Rand to third. Barden stole second before Sharp struck out Elliott Erbe for the second out. Jason Annis then hit a ball that got under third baseman Michael Giroud's (St. Petersburg, Fla.) glove for an error. Rand and Barden both scored on the play for a 2-0 Keydet lead. Chris Brooks then followed with a double to left that plated Annis for a 3-0 VMI advantage after the first half of an inning.
East Tennessee State (12-20, 5-8 SoCon) did not wait long to answer, unleashing a barrage of extra-base hits in the bottom of the second when the Buccaneers scored six times to put the game away early. Brandon Cross (Bluff City, Tenn.) led off with his first home run of the season to start things off. Kirk Keithley (Peoria, Ill.) followed with a double, but VMI starter, Jeremy Harper, got the next two hitters before the Bucs put together five straight hits, the first four for extra bases, to score five more times. Justin Clear (Lafollette, Tenn.) doubled, followed by a triple from Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) that scored a run each. Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Moore then had back-to-back doubles before Davis Burklin (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished things off with an RBI single.
That would be all that ETSU would need on this night, as Sharp allowed just three more hits after the first inning to keep VMI at bay. He allowed just one walk on his way to his third win of the season, and his 11 Ks were the most by an ETSU hurler this season.
Moore drove in his second run of the night on an RBI single in the sixth and his final in the eighth on a sac fly.
Moore and Turner each had three hits to lead ETSU, with Turner scoring three runs as well. Zach Kennedy was the only VMI player with two hits.
Harper took the loss for VMI, giving up six runs and nine hits in five innings of work.
East Tennessee State and VMI will play again tomorrow in the second game of the three-game set, with a start time of 2:00 p.m. at Cardinal Park.