ETSU Baseball edges UNC Asheville, 9-8
ETSU Baseball edges UNC Asheville, 9-8
Tuesday, May 3, 2005

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 3, 2005) - East Tennessee State scored six runs in the top of the ninth to break open a tie game, then held off a five-run UNC Asheville rally in the bottom of the inning to defeat the Bulldogs, 9-8, from Greenwood Field in Asheville, N.C.

            UNC Asheville (11-33) took the early lead with a run in the top of the first. Josh Coyle hit an RBI single to left with one out, but then Buccaneer starter Brian Lovett (Knoxville, Tenn.) retired the final two batters, stranding runners on second and third.

            East Tennessee State (26-14) tied the game with a run in the top of the second as freshman third baseman Anthony Russell (Waldorf, Md.) hit and RBI single to score sophomore centerfielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.).

            The Bucs struck again in the top of the fourth and sixth innings, scoring single runs in each to take a 3-1 lead. In the fourth, sophomore designated hitter Mike Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.) hit an infield single to lead off the inning, then with two outs, senior shortstop Justin Clear (Lafollette, Tenn.) hit an RBI double down the right field line.

            In the sixth, Giroud again led off the frame with an infield single, then later crossed the plate on an RBI triple to right by Russell.

            ETSU held its lead until the bottom of the eighth, when UNC Asheville scored two runs to tie the game. Elliott Arrington hit an RBI double and Kevin Mattison drove in a run with a groundout. The Bulldogs had the go-ahead run at third with one out, but ETSU senior righty Michael Bauer (Kingsport, Tenn.) recorded a strikeout and a groundout to keep the game tied 3-3.

            The Bucs seemed to put the game away with their six-run ninth. Clear led off the inning with a walk and after junior second baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.), pinch-runner Trevor Smith (Newport, Tenn.) scored as senior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) reached on an error. After a walk by junior first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) loaded the bases, Douglas cleared then with a triple to right. Giroud then followed with a two-run homer over to left, his third of the season.

            UNC Asheville immediately began to chip away at the Buccaneer lead in the bottom of the ninth. Three consecutive singles to lead off the inning loaded the bases. Coyle then hit a sacrifice fly to left and Johnny Martinez loaded the bases again with a single to left field. Arrington would hit an RBI single and Mattison drove in three runs with a one-out triple to right-center. But the Bulldogs stranded another key runner in scoring position as Mattison, the potential tying run, was left at third. Moore recorded the final two outs, a strikeout and a pop-out, to preserve the win for the Bucs.

            Bauer earned the win (3-2), pitching an inning and allowing two runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one. Lovett pitched a strong seven innings for the Bucs, but did not figure in the decision, allowing one run on six hits, striking out four and walking two.

            Graham Baughn (2-4) was charged with the loss for UNC Asheville, pitching 2.1 innings and allowing four runs (two earned) on one hit and walking two.

            The Bucs were led at the plate by Russell and Giroud, who each had three hits in the win. Douglas went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Russell also drove in three runs and Giroud also scored two.

            Arrington had three hits for the Bulldogs while Tony Campana scored two runs and Mattison drove in four.          

            East Tennessee State returns to the diamond Friday night at 6 p.m. for the opener of a key three-game SoCon series against The Citadel from Riley Park in Charleston, S.C.