KINGSPORT, Tenn. (April 29, 2003) - East Tennessee State scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to break a 4-4 tie and held on to win the second annual Kingsport Baseball Classic over Virginia Tech, 5-4, Tuesday night from Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport, Tenn. The ETSU victory avenged a 12-4 loss to the Hokies on Mar. 18 from English Field in Blacksburg, Va.
After a scoreless first inning, the Bucs (14-27) broke through for two runs in the bottom of the second. With one out, freshman designated hitter Beau Alford (Johnson City, Tenn.) reached on fielder's choice. With two down, junior center fielder Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) laced a single to right, and advanced to second on an error. Alford scored from first on the play. Turner scored the second Buccaneer run on a double to right center by the next batter, senior first baseman Chad Boruff (Knoxville, Tenn.).
East Tennessee State ran its lead to 4-0, scoring two more runs in the bottom of the third as the first three batters of the inning recorded base hits. Junior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) led off the inning with a single to left field, followed by a single to right center by freshman third baseman Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.). Sophomore catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) then reached on another single to right center, scoring Howdeshell and advancing Byrne to third. Freshman right fielder Jordan Abromovitz (South Park, Pa.) drove in the final run of the frame, scoring Byrne with a sacrifice fly to left.
Virginia Tech (27-16) got on the board in the top of the fifth with two runs of its own. Right fielder Matt Kalish led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a single by the subsequent batter, left fielder Sheldon Adams. The runners advanced to second and third on a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by Tom Blaszak. Kalish scored the first run of the game for the Hokies on a ground out to third by designated hitter Chris Stanton. With two outs, shortstop Spencer Harris lined a triple to right center, scoring Adams.
The Hokies tied the game at four by scoring two more runs in the top of the seventh. Adams led the inning off with a double down the right field line. After advancing to third on a ground out to short by Blaszak, he came home on a single on a single by Stanton. The next batter, Harris, hit a single to left field advancing Stanton to third. Stanton crossed the plate with the fourth Virginia Tech run on a safety squeeze by third baseman Marc Tugwell. Senior pitcher Willie McKenzie (Kingsport, Tenn.) came in from the bullpen to get the final out of the inning to stop the Hokie rally.
ETSU immediately broke the tie, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Turner led off the frame by hammering a ball off the right field wall for a double. Turner advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Boruff and came home on a suicide squeeze by sophomore second baseman Justin Clear (LaFollette, Tenn.).
Virginia Tech threatened in the top of the ninth, as pinch-hitter David Londrey led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stanton. But McKenzie held on to get the final two outs to end the game.
Freshman Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) got the start and pitched well for the Bucs, pitching five innings and allowing two runs on five hits. McKenzie got the win for ETSU, throwing the final 2.1 innings and allowing just one hit and striking out one. Jay Musialowski (0-1) was charged with the loss for the Hokies, allowing just two hits but the winning run in four innings of relief work.
The Bucs were led by Turner, who went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Howdeshell also had multiple hits for ETSU, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Adams went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for Virginia Tech, while Brad Bauder had two hits and Stanton had two runs, two hits and a run scored.
"Tonight was a very big win for our program," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "I am very proud of how our guys played and found a way to win. Hall and Kite pitched well tonight and McKenzie was phenomenal. This is the first win we have had against a team from a major conference. Hopefully this will get the monkey off of our backs and we will have some confidence heading into the end of the season."
The Bucs return to action on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at UNC Asheville before facing the Bulldogs on Sunday at 2 p.m. from Cardinal Park in Johnson City.