TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2004) - East Tennessee State had runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth, but could not get the tying run across as South Florida defeated the Bucs 7-6 in the season opener from Red McEwen Field in Tampa, Fla.
South Florida (1-0) opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, as they got a run off of Buccaneer sophomore starter Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.). Right fielder Bryan Hierlmeier walked with one out and was driven home on a single by third baseman Jeff Baisley.
USF ran their lead to 3-0 with two runs in the bottom of the second. First baseman Brian Baisley grounded out to shortstop to score left fielder Travis Brown, who led off the bottom of the second with a walk. Designated hitter Kris Howell doubled off of the right field wall, then came home when second baseman Mike Macaluso reached on an error.
East Tennessee State (0-1) threatened in the top of the fourth, as sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) laced a single with one out, followed by a walk by sophomore second baseman Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.). With two down, sophomore third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.) walked to load the bases. With a full count, USF starter Kyle Schmidt got ETSU junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) to pop out to second to end the inning.
The Bulls doubled their lead with four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Howell led off the inning with a single to right field and scored on a triple off the right field wall by Brian Baisley. Baisley then came home on a single by Macaluso before a two-run homer by shortstop Myron Leslie.
The Buccaneer offense awakened with four runs in the top of the sixth to cut the USF lead to 7-4. With two outs, freshman designated hitter Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) doubled to left field. Roberts was then hit by a pitch followed by a walk by Moore to load the bases. The Bulls then made a pitching change, but senior center fielder Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) took Matt Ingram's first pitch deep over the right field wall for a grand slam home run.
ETSU cut another run off the South Florida lead in the top of the eighth. Josiah Glafenhein led off the frame with a single to center field, moved to second on an error and to third on a balk. He would then score on a ground out by Douglas.
Buccaneer sophomore left fielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) started a ninth-inning rally with a single with one out. Sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) then followed with a single to advance Traylor to second. Junior pinch-hitter Ryan Spriggs (Crossville, Tenn.) then came up and lined a single to left to score Traylor and cut the USF lead to just one, 7-6. But that was as close as the Bucs would get as South Florida reliever Joey Livingston retired the next two Buccaneer batters to earn the save.
"I was proud of the way our players fought to get back into tonight's game," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "We made a few costly mistakes early, and that ultimately ended up costing us the game. We had a great opportunity to get a win tonight, but could not come up with that big hit. It is disappointing, but we will be back here tomorrow."
Schmidt (1-0) earned the win after pitching four innings and allowing just two Buccaneer hits and striking out six. Calicutt (0-1) was charged with the loss, allowing six earned runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings pitched.
Traylor led the Bucs with two hits in four at-bats while Turner had four RBIs for ETSU. Spriggs and Douglas also had RBIs tonight for the Bucs. Travis Brown, Brian Baisley as well as Macaluso and Leslie had two hits each for USF. Leslie and Brian Baisley led the Bulls with two RBI while Howell scored two runs on the evening.
The Bucs and Bulls will return to action tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the second game of their three-game weekend series from Red McEwen Field in Tampa, Fla.