Johnson City, Tenn. (April 7, 2002) - East Tennessee State University's baseball team got out the brooms this afternoon at Cardinal Park, as freshman Michael Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.) went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs to lead the Buccaneers to a 5-4 win over the Eagles in Southern Conference baseball action and a sweep of the three-game series. It was the first time in school history that ETSU has swept Georgia Southern in a SoCon series.
Georgia Southern (21-15, 9-6 SoCon) got on the board first when A.J. Zickgraf laced his third home run of the season over the wall in left off of ETSU (10-19, 4-8 SoCon) starter Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) in the second. The Bucs answered in the bottom half of the inning, taking advantage of a pair of GSU errors. Brandon Cross (Bluff City, Tenn.) led off and reached first safely on an error on Eagle third baseman Rocky Baker. He moved to second on a sacrifice and then went to third when GSU starter Brett Lewis dropped a throw at first on Jeremy Terry's (Cumberland, Ky.) grounder to first. Cross then came home on Giroud's first hit of the day to tie the game.
Georgia Southern regained the lead on back-to-back doubles from Carlos Love and Zickgraf in the top of the fourth. The Bucs again answered in their half of the inning, with Giroud again coming through with an RBI single that brought home Kirk Keithley (Peoria, Ill.) who had reached on a walk.
Giroud gave ETSU the lead for good in the sixth when he singled home Keithley again. The Bucs added what turned out to be a key pair of runs in the seventh. Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) singled, stole second, and then beat the throw to third on a fielder's choice ground ball off the bat of Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.). Davis Burklin (Knoxville, Tenn.) then struck out, but Scott Tolbert's pitch was in the dirt and got away from the Eagle catcher. Traylor scored and Moore moved to second. Cross then plated Moore with a single to left.
Georgia Southern fought back, and scored pair of runs in the ninth before the Bucs could get the final out. Baker led off with a double that chased Turner. Trevor Smith (Newport, Tenn.) came on in relief, but walked the first batter he faced to put two on with none out. Smith got two outs before J.R. Revere and Chad Hall delivered back-to-back RBI singles to make it 5-4. But with runners on first and third, Smith got Chris Walker to bounce into a fielder's choice to end the game.
Giroud led the 10-hit ETSU offense with his four hit afternoon. Traylor also picked up a pair of hits for the Bucs. Zickgraf was 3-for-3 for GSU, with two doubles and a home run.
Turner picked up his first win of the season, going 8.0 innings, allowing seven hits and fanning eight with just one walk. Smith picked up his first career save with his one inning of work. Lewis was charged with the loss for Georgia Southern, allowing four earned runs in 6.1 innings.
East Tennessee State will host in-state foe Middle Tennessee State in its next game when the Blue Raiders visit Cardinal Park for the first of a two-game series on Tuesday, April 9 at 7 p.m. Georgia Southern will also play Tuesday, hosting Mercer in a 7 p.m. contest.