BOONE, N.C. (April 6, 2003) — East Tennessee State saw its first seven batters of the game score to take a 7-0 lead before Appalachian State University took its first cuts, but ETSU found itself trailing by one run in the ninth before scoring eight straight in its final at-bat to win, 19-12.
The 19-run outburst was the most runs scored by an ETSU team since the Bucs defeated The Citadel, 19-9 on March 18, 2001.
East Tennessee State (10-17, 6-8 SoCon) sophomore outfielder Kevin Brotherton (Erwin, Tenn.) led off the ninth with a walk. ASU reliever Scott Clark's throw was off the mark to second base on freshman outfielder Beau Alford's (Johnson City, Tenn.) sacrifice bunt attempt and put runners on first and second with none out. After freshman third baseman Shane Byrne's (Johnson City, Tenn.) successful sacrifice moved the runners up one base each, sophomore second baseman Justin Clear (LaFollette, Tenn.) doubled to score both Brotherton and Alford. Walks to junior center fielder Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) and sophomore catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) loaded the bases for junior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.). Howdeshell's ground ball couldn't be fielded and all three runners scored to make it a 16-12 game. Two more runs came across to set the final count.
After using early leads to stave off the Buccaneers in both games of Saturday's doubleheader sweep, the Mountaineers fought from behind all afternoon. In the bottom of the eighth, the Apps used an RBI double down the left field line by Joey Robinson to score Justin Thomas and knot the game, at 11-11. Two batters later, Eric Pittman's dribbler to the third baseman plated Robinson and gave them their first lead of the afternoon, at 12-11.
Appalachian (8-19, 3-9 SoCon) could not mount another rally in the bottom of the ninth. ETSU senior reliever Willie McKenzie (Kingport, Tenn.) retired the side in order to end the game. Senior reliever Jarrod Hyder (Elizabethton, Tenn.) pitched four and a third innings of relief to improve to 4-1 on the campaign. Clark took the loss to fall to 0-5 on the year.
Moore opened the scoring in the first with a two-run home run inside the right field foul pole to give the Buccaneers an early 2-0 advantage. After the first of seven Appalachian errors allowed Howdeshell to reach base and later score, the bases were full of Bucs when Alford notched a grand slam over the right-center field fence to make it 7-0.
Pittman's single to center field plated Thomas in the bottom of the first to make the score 7-1. Thomas helped Appalachian cut in to the deficit in the second inning, with a bases-loaded double that plated three runs and made the score 7-4. Thomas registered a career-high six RBIs in the losing cause. He scored two batters later, on Graham Thompson's RBI single to make the game interesting, at 7-5.
East Tennessee State added to its lead with two unearned runs via a two-out rally in the top of the third to make it a 9-5 game.
Thomas added another RBI in the third inning with an RBI double to left field that brought home Ty Racette and cut the margin to 9-6. Racette reached on a two-out triple into the right-center field gap. A single run in the fourth inning helped the Mountaineers, make it a 9-7 game
ETSU added two more runs in fifth, the first coming on a solo home run by Alford. In the same inning, Clear scored on an Appalachian fielding error to boost the lead to 11-7.
Appalachian charged back with two runs in the sixth and another run in the seventh to trail 11-10 heading in to the eighth inning.
Both starting pitchers were chased from the game in the early going. Appalachian's Taylor Craig gave up seven runs and did not retire a batter before giving way to Clark. East Tennessee State freshman Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) lasted one and two-thirds inning before stepping aside in favor of the bullpen.
East Tennessee State returns to the diamond on Tuesday, April 8, when it hosts Tennessee Tech in an 7:00 p.m. tilt from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.