JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 16, 2003) - The East Tennessee State Buccaneer Baseball team began the 2003 season on Sunday by defeating Xavier, 6-5 and 8-3, in two games of a scheduled tripleheader Sunday from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
The teams were to play three games on Sunday, but the third game was called due to rain before it was official.
All three games were scheduled to be seven innings, but game one took a little longer to settle. Xavier (0-2) took a 4-0 lead after scoring a single run in the second inning and three runs in the third. But the Bucs (2-0) came alive in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring four runs to knot up the game.
Sophomore shortstop Justin Clear (LaFollette, Tenn.) walked with the bases loaded to force in senior first baseman Chad Boruff (Knoxville, Tenn.). Junior second baseman Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) then doubled with the bases loaded to score Clear, sophomore outfielder Kevin Brotherton (Erwin, Tenn.) and junior outfielder Bo Calloway (Knoxville, Tenn.).
Xavier took the lead back with a single run in the top of the eighth inning. But the Bucs answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. On a Calloway groundout, pinch runner Troy Moock (Baton Rouge, La.) came home from third.
Brotherton topped off a four-hit afternoon in dramatic fashion with a clutch, two-out RBI single, driving in sophomore third baseman Mike Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.) in the bottom of the 11th inning to give ETSU the win.
Senior reliever Jarrod Hyder (Elizabethton, Tenn.) picked up the win, after pitching five innings and allowing just five hits and one earned run while striking out six. ETSU starting junior pitcher Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) pitched the first six innings and struck out eight batters.
Brotherton went 4-for-6 with a run scored and an RBI while Calloway went 2-for-3 a run scored and an RBI in game one.
"I am so proud of how our kids played hard and did not panic in coming back in game one," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "Jarrod Hyder was phenomenal, as he normally is, and Tim Turner pitched great once he settled in."
The Buccaneers continued their momentum in game two, scoring five runs in the first inning and receiving a stellar effort from freshman starting pitcher Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.).
Boruff led off the scoring with a three-run homer, driving in Brotherton and Giroud. Brotherton came through again in the second inning, doubling down the left field line to score Calloway and Howdeshell.
Xavier got on the board with a single run in the top of the fifth, but again the Bucs responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. Giroud singled down the left field line to score Brotherton and then scored on an infield hit freshman designated hitter Beau Alford (Johnson City, Tenn.).
The two teams exchanged runs in the sixth, and the Musketeers scored a run in the top of the seventh to provide the final 8-3 margin of victory.
Calicutt (1-0) won his first collegiate decision after pitching 5.1 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out six.
"Calicutt was great," said Skole. "He has a calm demeanor and he throws all of his pitches for strikes. He has a chance to be a very special player."
Brotherton went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs in game two. Calloway had two hits in three at-bats, scoring twice.
The Bucs will return to action on Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. against SEC foe Vanderbilt from Nashville, Tenn.