JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 28, 2004) - East Tennessee State and Central Michigan each put on displays of offensive firepower Saturday afternoon at Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. as the Bucs took game one, 14-2 and the Chippewas responded quickly in game two, turning the tables with a 12-5 victory to snap ETSU's five-game winning streak.
Central Michigan (1-1) took the lead early in game one, scoring a run in the top of the first. Leadoff hitter Jeremy Crum doubled to right-center, then scored on a one-out single by right fielder Bryan Mitzel. ETSU rallied to tie the score in the bottom of the frame as Buccaneer sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch with one out, stole second and third then scored on an error.
The Bucs (5-6) then blew the game open with nine unanswered runs over the next four innings. ETSU scored two runs in the second on a two-run homer by sophomore third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.) then plated five more runs in the third. The big blows that inning were RBI doubles by senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.), sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) and junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) and a two-run homer by sophomore second baseman Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.).
East Tennessee State scored two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, as sophomore left fielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) scored on Howdeshell's second double of the game and Byrne scored on a two-out error.
The Chippewas scored their final run of game one in the top of the seventh as outfielder J.T. Jones walked with one down in the inning then scored on a triple by first baseman Kurtis Wells. ETSU responded in the bottom of the seventh as Church scored Howdeshell with a two-out double down the left field line.
But the Bucs were not done, as they scored their final three runs in the bottom of the eighth as freshman designated hitter David Yates (Douglasville, Ga.) scored on a single by senior outfielder Bo Calloway (Knoxville, Tenn.), followed by a two-run double by Byrne.
Sophomore righty Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) earned his second-consecutive victory with a strong 5.2 innings in game one. Hall (2-2) scattered nine hits and struck out seven while allowing just one Chippewa run.
"Jeremy seemed to get tougher as the game went along," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "He pitched well to get out of some jams today."
Jeff Opalewski (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in two innings of work.
Each Buccaneer starter had at least one hit, and seven had multiple hit efforts. Leading the way was Byrne, who went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Church and freshman designated hitter Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) also had three hits on the afternoon.
Central Michigan was led by Wells and third baseman Ryan Peel who each had two base hits.
Both teams got on the board early again in game two with the Chippewas and Bucs each scoring two runs in the first inning. CMU left fielder Jeff LaFavors hit a two-run single in the top of the frame while Church hit a towering two-run homer in the bottom of the first for ETSU.
The Chippewas took a 5-2 lead after putting three runs on the board in the top of the third. Wells hit a single to score Jones followed by a two-run triple by LaFavors. ETSU cut the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the inning as Howdeshell hit a sacrifice fly to score Byrne.
Central Michigan put the game out of reach in the top of the fourth, scoring five more runs to make the score 10-3. After CMU loaded the bases with no outs, third baseman Jim Geldhof came to the plate and hit a grand slam over the right field wall. Later in the inning, designated hitter Dan Griesbaum hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Wells.
The Bucs chipped two more runs off of the Central Michigan lead in the bottom of the seventh. Howdeshell hit yet another double to score Roberts and Byrne would cross the plate as Church reached on an error.
The Chippewas plated their final two runs of the day in the top of the ninth. CMU designated hitter Derek Schnaller tripled to right field to score second baseman David Latour. Catcher Brian Campbell then followed with a single to right field to score Schnaller.
Chippewa starter Jayson Ruhlman (1-0) was dominant on the mound, pitching six innings and allowing three runs (none earned) on just two hits and striking out eight. ETSU sophomore lefty Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) was charged with the loss after allowing 10 runs (eight earned) on nine hits in three innings pitched. Calicutt (1-2) also walked three and struck out four.
CMU second baseman Chase Welker led the Chippewas by going 3-for-5, but four other players had two hits in game two. Geldhof and LaFavors drove in four runs each while Jones scored three times.
Seven Buccaneers had one hit each while Howdeshell and Church drove in two runs each. Byrne led the team with two runs scored.
The Buccaneers and Chippewas return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon for the deciding game of the three-game weekend series. Sunday's first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. Live stats for tomorrow's game are available by visiting the baseball page of East Tennessee State's athletic website, www.ETSUBucs.com.