JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 29, 2004) - The East Tennessee State baseball team, led by senior pitcher Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) and senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) played an excellent all-around game Sunday afternoon to defeat Central Michigan 13-3 from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. With today's victory, the Bucs took two of three games from the Chippewas in the three-game Fairfield Inn Classic.
East Tennessee State (6-6) got out of the gates quickly, scoring five runs in the first two innings. Sophomore center fielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) led off the bottom of the first with a single to center. With one out, Traylor would score on a single by Howdeshell, followed by an error. Sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) followed with a sacrifice fly to score Howdeshell from third.
The Bucs continued their early rally, making the score 5-0 with three runs in the second. Sophomore third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.) hit an infield single then stole second. ETSU would load the bases as junior left fielder Richie Billings (Leesburg, Fla.) and Traylor followed with walks. Sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) scored Billings and Roberts with a single to center. Traylor crossed the plate on as Howdeshell reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on an error.
Central Michigan (1-2) trimmed a run from the Buccaneer lead in the top of the fourth. Right fielder J.T. Jones reached on an error then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. He would score as the next batter, left fielder Jim Geldhof, grounded out to first.
ETSU manufactured two runs in the bottom of the fourth to widen their lead to 7-1. With two outs, Byrne walked then stole second and third. Howdeshell hustled down the line to beat out an infield single to drive in Byrne. Howdeshell then stole second before scoring on a single to center by Church.
The Chippewas got back in the game, scoring two runs in the top of the seventh. With one out, first baseman Kurtis Wells and second baseman Jeff LaFavors hit back-to-back singles. Then with two down, third baseman Ryan Peel hit a clutch double to score both baserunners.
The Bucs put the game away in the bottom of the seventh, scoring five runs to open up a 12-3 lead. The first two runs scored as Church hit a double to score Howdeshell, then scored on a subsequent double by junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.). Moore crossed the plate with the third run of the inning on an error during a fielder's choice by Roberts. Billings then drove in his first run of the season with a double to score freshman designated hitter Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.). The same player that started the inning then concluded the scoring in the seventh as Howdeshell walked to force in a run after the Bucs loaded the bases.
Moore put an exclamation point on the ETSU victory with his fourth homer of the season in the bottom of the eighth.
Turner (2-1) had an excellent afternoon on the mound, allowing six hits and three runs (two earned) in seven innings pitched. He walked only one and struck out five Chippewa batters. Buccaneer pitchers Josh Kite (Greeneville, Tenn.) and Caleb Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.) were effective in relief, allowing just one Central Michigan hit and striking out three over the final two innings.
"I can not say enough about Tim (Turner)," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the victory. "He has been dominant over his last three outings."
CMU starter Ty Dunham (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing seven runs on nine hits in five innings pitched. Dunham also walked three and struck out three on the afternoon.
Howdeshell and Moore led ETSU's 14-hit attack with three hits each. Howdeshell also scored three runs and drove in three more. Church and sophomore second baseman Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.) each had two base hits for the Bucs.
LaFavors paced the Chippewas with two hits while Peel had a team-high two RBIs.
"Today was a huge win for our program," said Skole. "I am very proud of how our kids came out and played hard today. We swung the bats well and got up early, and got some excellent pitching."
The Buccaneers return to action Wednesday at 2 p.m. as they travel to face Kentucky from Lexington, Ky. Live stats for the ETSU-Kentucky matchup will be available by visiting the baseball page of the ETSU athletic website, www.ETSUBucs.com.