Church collects 200th career hit, but Mercer sweeps Baseball Bucs
Church collects 200th career hit, but Mercer sweeps Baseball Bucs
Saturday, April 15, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 15, 2006) - The ETSU baseball squad could not come up with the clutch hit in the late innings of both games in its doubleheader with Mercer, as the visiting Bears completed an Atlantic Sun Conference sweep of the homestanding Bucs, 6-4 and 10-7 Saturday afternoon at Cardinal Park.


The Bears (25-17, 12-6) took a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning of game one, but the Bucs rallied back with a run in the fifth, and tied the contest with three in the sixth.  Senior Michael Courtney (Knoxville, Tenn.) extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a leadoff single in the fifth, and scored later in the inning on a wild pitch for the Bucs' first run.  Freshman Ben Allen (Kingsport, Tenn.) drove in junior Justin Aughey (Davie, Fla.) with a two-out single to left to cut the lead to 4-2.  After a walk loaded the bases, senior Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) drove in the tying runs with a two-RBI single up the middle.


Each team's bullpen held the opposing offenses in check for the next three innings, but Mercer finally broke through for two runs in the top of the 10th for the 6-4 advantage.  The Bucs loaded the bases with two down in the bottom of the inning, but Byrne flied out to left field as ETSU failed to push a run across after loading the bases for the fifth time in the series.


Senior Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) took the loss for the Bucs, falling to 6-3.  Hunter Abercrombie (4-4) picked up the win in relief of Bear starter Blake Quarles, and Andrew Urena pitched out of the 10th inning jam for his 11th save.


Trailing 5-1 in the fourth inning of game two, the Bucs strung together five runs to take their first lead of the series.  After cutting the lead to 5-2, the Bucs loaded the bases, and finally delivered a scoring punch.  Senior Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) connected with Josh Young's 1-1 offering and drove a towering blast over the right field fence for his third homer of the season and a 6-5 Buccaneer lead.


The Bears strung together four runs over the next two innings, claiming a 9-6 advantage, and the bullpen made the lead hold up.  Senior Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) cut the lead to 9-7 with a double off the very top of the wall in left field in the seventh inning.  The double gave Church 200 hits in his career, making him just the fourth Buccaneer in school history to join the 200-hit club.


Junior Caleb Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.) absorbed the loss, falling to 0-1 on the season.  J.C. Daugherty (2-0) took the win in relief of Young.  Urena came on again in the ninth inning, retiring the Bucs in order for his 12th save of the season and third of the series.


The Bucs return to action at Western Carolina Tuesday, April 18.  First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.