JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 23, 2003) - East Tennessee State junior second baseman Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) hit a solo home run over the right field fence to lead off the bottom of the eighth and give the Bucs the lead in a 3-2 victory over Binghamton Sunday from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
"This was a big win for our program," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "Hits just don't get any bigger than Howdeshell's home run."
Binghamton (1-2) grabbed the lead early as first baseman Jay Balback hit a solo homer to left center with two outs in the bottom of the first.
The Buccaneers (4-2) tied the game at one in the bottom of the second when junior outfielder Bo Calloway (Knoxville, Tenn.) stole third then came home on an errant throw by the catcher.
The Bearcats edged back in front as they scored a run in the top of the sixth as right fielder Tony Berube came home on a sacrifice fly by center fielder T.J. Kowalchuk.
But as they have shown a tendency to do so far this season, ETSU battled back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. Freshman third baseman Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on an error. He went to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior first baseman Chad Boruff (Knoxville, Tenn.) and crossed the plate on a sac fly by Calloway.
Both teams were quiet in the seventh and the Bearcats were retired in order in the eighth as sophomore pitcher Josh Kite (Greeneville, Tenn.) struck out the side. Kite gave the Bucs a great deal of energy in the inning, setting down all three batters looking.
Then Howdeshell came to the plate and won the game for ETSU with his blast to right field.
Senior reliever Jarrod Hyder (Elizabethton, Tenn.) came in from the bullpen in the ninth and retired the Bearcats in order.
Freshman Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) continued to impress in his second start as a Buccaneer, pitching six innings and allowing two earned runs on three hits and striking out seven. Kite picked up the victory (1-0) after throwing two almost flawless innings of relief, allowing just one hit.
"Steven Calicutt was phenomenal today," commented Skole. "Josh Kite is getting better and better each time out and Jarrod Hyder was his same old self, shutting the door in a big situation."
Johnmin Hickey (0-1) was charged with the tough-luck loss for Binghamton, as he also allowed just one hit in two innings of relief work.
Junior center fielder Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) led the Bucs with two hits on the afternoon. ETSU was very aggressive on the basepaths, as they stole four bases, and were only caught once.
"I was very proud of the way our kids hung in there and competed today," said Skole. "It was a very tough day for both teams due to the weather conditions. I am pleased with the way we battled through them."
The Buccaneers will return to the diamond on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. as they travel to Boiling Springs, N.C. to face Gardner-Webb.