JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 21, 2004) - The Furman Paladins hit five home runs off of East Tennessee State pitching, scoring a season-high 18 runs en route to a 18-7 victory over the Bucs Friday night from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
The game began as a slugfest, with Furman (20-32, 10-18 Southern Conference) scoring seven runs in the first two innings, while the Bucs (27-27, 14-14 SoCon) scored seven times over the first five frames.
In the top of the first, the Paladins took the lead with four runs on five hits. A.J. Davidiuk led off the game with a solo home run over the left field wall. After a double by Derek Norman, Case Cassedy hit an RBI single to right. With one out, Matthew Betsill hit a towering two-run homer to right.
East Tennessee State cut the Paladin lead in half with two runs in the bottom of the first. Sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) tripled with one out, followed by a RBI double to left-center by junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.). Sophomore center fielder Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) hit a two-out single later in the inning to score Moore.
Furman put three more runs on the board in the top of the second. With two outs, Norman singled and Cassedy walked before Sam McLain hit a three-run homer to right.
The Bucs scored twice in the bottom of the second, cutting the Paladin advantage to 7-4. With two outs, junior designated hitter Richie Billings (Leesburg, Fla.) singled prior to a two-run homer by senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.).
ETSU plated single runs in the third and fourth innings, as the Paladins led by just one, 7-6. Calicutt reached on an error in the third, scoring Moore. Howdeshell hit his second home run of the night in the fourth, a solo blast down the left field line.
The Paladins widened their lead with three runs in the top of the fifth. Dominic Franchini and William Stembridge hit RBI singles while Andrew Greene drove in a run with a fielder's choice.
East Tennessee trimmed the Paladin advantage to 10-7 with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.). But that was as close as the Bucs would come, as Furman relievers Ryan Hudson and Calvin Hurst held ETSU scoreless over the last four innings.
Furman put the game away with two runs in the sixth, four in the eighth and two in the ninth. Franchini drove in two runs with a double in the sixth, while McLain hit his second homer of the night, a two-run shot in the eighth. Greene drove in two runs with a single in the eighth while Cassedy hit a two-run homer in the ninth.
It was a milestone evening for Furman's Franchini and ETSU's Moore. With his three RBIs this evening, Franchini broke the Paladin record for most career runs batted in with 168. Moore extended his team-best hitting streak to 17 games and with his two doubles, he broke the SoCon record for doubles in a season (28). Moore also broke the ETSU record for hits in a season tonight with his 89th base hit.
Hudson (3-3) earned the win for the Paladins, pitching four innings of relief and allowing one run on five hits. He also walked two and struck out two.
ETSU sophomore righty Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) had a rough outing (9-7), allowing 12 runs on 14 hits in 5.2 innings. Hall walked one and struck out on this evening.
McLain led the Paladins at the plate, going 4-for-6 with four runs scored and five RBIs. Cassedy was 3-for-5 with four runs scored and three RBIs. Franchini and Greene also drove in three runs while Norman scored four runs.
Howdeshell led the Bucs this evening, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Moore went 2-for-4 while Church went 2-for-3.
The Buccaneers and Paladins play game two of their three-game weekend series tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.