JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 1, 2004) - East Tennessee State sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the 13th inning to give the Bucs an exciting 10-7 victory over The Citadel Saturday afternoon from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
With the win, the Bucs have won 10 of their last 13 games, raising their record to 24-22, 13-13 in Southern Conference games. The Citadel falls to 26-17, 15-5 in SoCon play.
Much like Friday night's thrilling 10-9 victory by East Tennessee State, both teams had the lead on several occasions and had many opportunities to win.
The Citadel took the early lead with a run in the top of the first. Josh Stackley was hit by a pitch with two down and moved to second on a walk by Chip Cannon. Jon Aughey then came to the plate and singled to right to drive in Stackley.
Bulldog starter Ken Egleton was excellent in the early going, not allowing a hit through the first three innings. But like Friday night, the Buccaneer offense erupted in the bottom of the fourth.
The Bucs put three runs on the board in the fourth to take their first lead of the ballgame. Junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) singled up the middle, followed by a single to left by Church. With one out, freshman left fielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) scored both runners with a double to left. Later in the inning, Douglas would score on a passed ball.
The Citadel grabbed the lead right back with three runs in the top of the fifth. Will Coker hit a solo homer over the left field wall with one out. Matt Covington later doubled to left-center, scoring Matt Matulia, who reached on a single. After consecutive walks to Stackley and Cannon, Aughey hit an RBI single to third base that could have scored at least another run if not for a tremendous diving stop by sophomore third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.).
ETSU then rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fifth, taking a 5-4 lead. Sophomore designated hitter Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.). Moore came to the plate and scored Traylor with an RBI double down the right field line. Senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) followed with a double to left, scoring Moore from second.
The Citadel tied the game with a run in the top of the sixth, but he Bucs took the advantage right back with a run in the bottom of the frame. Covington drove in Matulia with an RBI triple for the Bulldogs and ETSU senior center fielder Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) scored sophomore second baseman Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.) with a ground ball.
With two runs in the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs went ahead again, taking a 7-6 lead. Stackley and Cannon led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Andy Phillips singled up the middle with one out to bring home Stackley while Cannon would later score on a wild pitch.
The Bulldog lead held up until the bottom of the ninth when Moore led off the inning against Cannon, who took the mound in the ninth. Moore crushed a 1-0 pitch, hitting his seventh homer of the season over the left field wall to tie the game at seven.
That is the way the game would stay until the bottom of the 13th, due to solid relief efforts by Cannon and Moore, who came on to pitch in the 10th.
Byrne led off the bottom of the 13th with a single, followed by a single up the middle by Moore. Church then stepped to the plate and hit the first pitch he saw over the wall down the left field line for his sixth homer of the season.
Moore earned his second win of the year (2-0) after allowing no runs on two hits over the final four innings of play. He also struck out three while walking one. Cannon was charged with the loss (3-2), allowing four runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out one.
Moore also led the Bucs at the plate, going 4-for-6 and scoring four runs while driving in two others. Church also went 4-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
"I do not know if you can ask any more of a player than Caleb Moore gave us today," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game.
The Citadel was led by Coker and Aughey who each had three hits on the afternoon. Aughey and Covington drove in two runs while Stackley and Matulia both scored two runs.
"This was a great baseball game today," commented Skole. "It reminds me of a heavyweight boxing match, with both teams exchanging blows."
East Tennessee State will be going for the sweep Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. as the Bucs and Bulldogs play the final game of their three-game series at Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.