JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 12, 2003) - East Tennessee State scored 11 runs in the first two innings then withheld a late Tennessee Tech rally to defeat the Golden Eagles, 11-9, Monday night from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
Tennessee Tech (25-21) started strong, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Center fielder Ben Shannon led off the game with a double to left center. After a walk to left fielder Cole Helms, both runners advanced on a ground out. Both Shannon and Helms would cross the plate on a double by the next batter, first baseman Ryan Hay.
The Buccaneers (15-33) came right back in the bottom of the first, scoring two runs to tie the game. Junior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) took Tennessee Tech starter Collins Hughes' first pitch of the frame deep over the right field wall for his team-leading 10th home run of the season. With one out in the inning, freshman right fielder Jordan Abromovitz (South Park, Pa.) walked then stole second base. He came home on a double to deep center field by senior first baseman Chad Boruff (Knoxville, Tenn.).
TTU wasted no time regaining the lead, scoring another run in the top of the second. Second baseman Chris McLain singled with one out then moved to second on a single by third baseman Phillip Hatch. Shannon then hit the third-consecutive single of the inning, scoring McLain from second.
East Tennessee State blew the game open in the bottom of the second, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring nine runs. With one out in the inning, sophomore second baseman Justin Clear (LaFollette, Tenn.) walked then stole second. Howdeshell then came to the plate and hit a double to right field, scoring Clear. Next, sophomore third baseman Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) singled to left field and Abromovitz walked to load the bases. Boruff then came through for the second time in the game, hitting a single through the left side, scoring Howdeshell and Moore.
After a pitching change, the Bucs did not let up, scoring six more runs in the inning. Freshman designated hitter Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) laced a single to left, bringing home Abromovitz. After junior left fielder Bo Calloway (Knoxville, Tenn.) reached on a fielder's choice, junior center fielder Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) blasted his second three-run homer in as many games over the left field wall. Then, after a walk to freshman catcher Justin Benard (Erwin, Tenn.), Clear capped the ETSU rally with his first home run of the season over the right field fence.
ETSU freshman starter Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) settled in nicely following the second inning, allowing only four more hits until he left the game prior to the seventh. In the seventh however, Tennessee Tech began to cut into ETSU's lead.
Two errors and a walk loaded the bases for the Golden Eagles to begin the inning. Hay hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Shannon to cut the Buccaneer lead to 11-4. Another run would cross the plate as left fielder Carlos Martin singled to bring Helms home. Later in the inning, Tennessee Tech scored two more runs when designated hitter Scott Terry hit a double to center field to score Martin and shortstop Casey Benjamin, making the score 11-7 in favor of ETSU.
The game got tighter in the eighth, as Tennessee Tech put two more runs on the board. Hatch led off the inning with a single to left field and moved to third on a double by Benjamin with two outs. The subsequent batter, Hay, reached on an error would score both baserunners.
With Tennessee Tech gaining momentum late and trailing 11-9 to begin the top of the ninth, ETSU head coach Tony Skole brought Moore in to pitch from third. Moore did not disappoint, retiring the side in order, including the first two batters on strikeouts to earn his first collegiate save.
Calicutt (3-6) earned the win, allowing three runs on nine hits in six innings. He also walked two batters and struck out five. Hughes (2-5) was charged with the loss for the Golden Eagles, allowing seven runs on six hits in 1.1 innings.
Howdeshell led the charge for the Bucs this evening, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Boruff had two hits and three RBI while Clear had two hits, two RBI and scored two runs.
Tennessee Tech was led by Hatch, who had three hits, and Shannon, Benjamin and McLain, who each had two. Shannon, Helms and Benjamin scored two runs each while Hay drove in three.
East Tennessee State returns to the diamond on Thursday night at 7 p.m. against Georgia Southern in game one of their final series of the season.