Johnson City, Tenn. (April 5, 2002) - Matt Traylor's (Knoxville, Tenn.) first collegiate home run in the bottom of the eighth inning was the difference tonight, as East Tennessee State ended a seven-game losing streak with a 9-8 win Southern Conference baseball win over Georgia Southern. The win improved ETSU's overall record to 8-19, 2-8 in the SoCon. Georgia Southern fell to 21-13, 9-4 in the conference.
Each team scored single runs in each of the first two innings, with Davis Burklin (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Jeremy Terry (Cumberland, Ky.) getting RBIs for the Bucs, with Terry's coming on his second home run of the season in the second.
Georgia Southern took a 4-2 lead in the third off of ETSU starter Donnie Sharp (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), getting a pair of doubles from Matt Herring and Brendan Gilligan and an RBI single off the bat of J.R. Revere.
ETSU answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for the first time in the contest. Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) reached on an error, and with one out moved to second on a single by Brandon Cross (Bluff City, Tenn.). Kirk Keithley (Peoria, Ill.), who went 4-for-4 on the night, brought both runners home with a double to right center. He later scored on a balk before Terry and Michael Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.) rapped back-to-back doubles for the final run of the frame.
Georgia Southern fought back, getting a pair of unearned runs in the sixth on a single to right by Herring with runners on second and third. In the seventh the Eagles put together four hits, including another RBI single by Revere, and a run-scoring groundout by Chad Hall that tied the game at 8-8.
Leading off the eighth, Traylor deposited a 1-0 pitch from Jared Comstock over the wall in left. Jarrod Hyder (Elizabethton, Tenn.), who had come on in the sixth, made it stand up, getting the first two hitters in the ninth before hitting pinch hitter A.J. Zickgraf. Hyder then got a ground ball from Chris Walker to get the force at second to end the game.
Hyder picked up his second win of the season, going the final four innings, allowing two earned runs. Brian Rogers started for Georgia Southern, but came out of the game after walking the first batter he faced due to a stiff shoulder. Comstock came in and took the loss, allowing 16 hits and eight runs in 7.1 innings.
Keithley drove in four runs with his four hits, including ripping a pair of doubles to lead ETSU's 16-hit attack. Rocky Baker had four hits in five trips for GSU, driving in and scoring a pair, including swatting his sixth home run in the first.
ETSU and Georgia Southern will continue the three-game set with a game tomorrow at Cardinal Park at 2:00 p.m.