JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Apr. 30, 2004) - ETSU freshman left fielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) hit an RBI single, scoring senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) with the game-winning run to break a 9-9 tie in the bottom of the ninth as the Bucs defeated The Citadel, 10-9, Friday night from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
With the win, East Tennessee State goes to 23-22, 12-13 in Southern Conference play while the Bulldogs fall to 26-16, 15-4 in SoCon games.
Things looked promising for The Citadel early, as they took a 4-0 lead after scoring two runs in the first and single runs in the second and third. Josh Stackley reached on a fielder's choice with two outs in the top of the first, stole second then scored on a single by Chip Cannon. After Jon Aughey was hit by a pitch, Andy Phillips singled to center to bring home Cannon.
The Bulldogs scored another two-out run in the second, as Matt Covington singled with two down and scored on a single by Stackley later in the inning. Aughey drove in The Citadel's fourth run with a leadoff homer to left in the top of the third.
Bulldog starter Jonathan Ellis was superb early, not allowing a hit through the first three innings. But the Bucs got to him in the fourth.
ETSU struck for four runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game.
Junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) led off the inning with a single to center, then scored on a double to left-center by sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.). Howdeshell then followed with his eighth homer of the season, a towering two-run shot over the left field wall. The next batter, sophomore designated hitter Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) hammered a solo home run over the right-center field wall.
The Citadel took the lead right back with four more runs in the top of the fifth. Stackley led off the frame with a homer over the left-center field wall. After a walk by Cannon and a single by Mark Egleton, Will Coker laced a two-out two-run double to score both runners. Matt Matulia capped the inning's scoring with an RBI single to center, scoring Coker from second.
Down 8-4, East Tennessee State would score at least one run in each of the four remaining innings, putting six crucial runs on the board. The Bucs loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth on a walk by Howdeshell, an infield single by Calicutt and a single to left by sophomore second baseman Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.). But ETSU could only get one run in the frame, as Douglas drove in Howdeshell on a fielder's choice.
ETSU tied the game yet again, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) led off the inning with a walk then scored as Moore singled and advanced to second on an error. Howdeshell then stepped to the plate and hit an RBI double to right and later scored on an infield single by Glafenhein.
The Bulldogs took a 9-8 lead with a run in the top of the eighth. Covington hit a one-out double to left-center then moved to third on an infield single by Chris Ard. Covington crossed the plate on a two-out error by Buccaneer third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.).
Roberts made up for his mistake in the field as he led off the bottom of the eighth. He hit a leadoff homer to left-center on the second pitch he saw, tying the game at nine.
ETSU senior lefty Josh Kite (Greeneville, Tenn.) saved the game for the Bucs, pitching out of a major jam in the top of the ninth. After Aughey and Andy Phillips reached base with consecutive perfect bunt singles to lead off the inning, pinch-hitter Tripp Cappellmann moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Coker then walked to load the bases with one out.
Kite then got Matulia to ground into a fielder's choice, as Glafenhein was able to fire the ball to Moore to get the out at home. The next batter, Covington, also hit into a fielder's choice, grounding to Kite who flipped the ball to Moore for the force just before Phillips crossed the plate.
After a thrilling top of the ninth, the Bucs put the game away in the bottom of the inning. After being down in the count 0-2, Howdeshell reached on a leadoff walk. Glafenhein would walk with one out then Douglas lined the game-winning single to center to score Howdeshell from second.
Kite (2-2) earned the win after two innings of stellar relief, allowing one run (none earned) on four hits while walking one and striking out one. Bulldog reliever Shannon Sprouse was charged with the loss (3-4) after allowing a run on one hit and two walks in one-third of an inning.
Moore, Howdeshell, Calicutt and Glafenhein all led the Bucs with two hits on the evening. Howdeshell also scored four runs and drove in three others.
Aughey had a game-high three hits for The Citadel while four players recorded four hits on the night. Three Bulldogs scored two runs while Stackley and Coker drove in two.
"We had a lot of great individual performances tonight, but this was a team win" said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "We had a lot of guys step up tonight and that is what you need to win."
The Bucs and Bulldogs return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for game two of their three-game series from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.