CHARLESTON, S.C. (April 25, 2004) - Holding a 5-3 lead with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the East Tennessee State University baseball team watched College of Charleston erupt for 10 runs on eight hits to collect a Southern Conference series sweep with a 13-6 victory Sunday afternoon at Patriots Point Park.
With the win, the 25th-ranked Cougars improved to 32-7 overall, 16-2 in SoCon play, while the Bucs dropped to 21-22 overall, 11-13 in conference play.
While the game did not turn out well for ETSU, the Bucs looked good early.
ETSU took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when an error by Charleston shortstop Steve Friend allowed sophomore Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) to reach and a wild pitch by Cougars' starter Ryan Edell allowed Byrne to move up to second. Junior Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) then scored Byrne from second with a single to right field. Moore finished with an impressive nine hits in the series.
Bucs' starting pitcher Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) began the game by tossing three scoreless innings, striking out three Charleston batters and avoiding a Cougar scoring threat in the bottom of the third. However, Charleston finally broke through with a single run in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game 1-1.
The contest did not stay tied for long as singles by sophomore Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Byrne, and an error by third baseman Jess Easterling allowed the Bucs to load the bases. ETSU regained the lead when Church's sacrifice fly to right field scored Traylor, and a wild pitch from Edell allowed Byrne to score and make it 3-1 in favor of ETSU.
However, the back-and-forth continued in the bottom of the fifth as Charleston netted a pair of runs when Calicutt walked two batters and hit Matt Hallett with a pitch to load the bases. Easterling then followed with a flair base hit into left field that scored two runs and tied the game at 3-3.
While the bottom of the ETSU lineup struggled much of the weekend, that trend changed in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.) led off the inning by blasting a double into the right-centerfield gap and later scored on a single by senior Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.). Turner advanced to second on the throw and later scored on a single by Traylor to make it 5-3.
But at that point, things took a very bad turn for ETSU.
With a runner on first and two outs, Calicutt hit Eastlering with a pitch to put runners on first and second, and the Cougars then proceeded to slap out eight hits and collect 10 runs. Many of those hits were not struck well, leaking over the ETSU infield and falling just short of the Bucs' outfielders. Nonetheless, Calicutt and relievers Josh Kite (Greeneville, Tenn.) and Brandon Summey (Kingsport, Tenn.) were unable to get the Bucs out of the inning and the damage was done, as the Cougars led by a score of 13-5.
Calicutt (5-6) took the loss on the mound, while Charleston reliever Nick Chigges (4-1) worked four innings and collected the victory.
Offensively, Church led the Bucs with two hits and two RBIs, including a solo home run in the ninth to make it 13-6. Meanwhile, Traylor, Byrne and Moore also picked up two hits apiece. For College of Charleston, Phillip Coker powered the Cougars with four hits, while Matt Kirkpatrick collected three hits and three RBIs.
ETSU returns home to face Virginia Tech Tuesday night at Hunter-Wright Stadium in Kingsport. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.