Baseball Bucs rally for 8-6 non-conference victory over UNC-Asheville
Senior Blake Church made the game-saving stop in the ninth inning against UNC-Asheville.
Senior Blake Church made the game-saving stop in the ninth inning against UNC-Asheville.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 11, 2006) - The ETSU baseball squad rallied for four sixth inning runs, paced by back-to-back home runs, and the Buccaneer bullpen once again turned in a  solid performance, as the Bucs rallied for an 8-6 non-conference win over UNC-Asheville Tuesday night from Cardinal Park.

 

Trailing 4-2 entering the sixth inning, senior first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) led off the frame with a single to center field, and junior left fielder C.J. Lee (Bristol, Va.) tied the game with his third home run to left, a monster shot over the left field wall.  Junior Justin Aughey (Davie, Fla.) followed by crushing an 0-1 fastball over the center field fence for the Bucs first lead at 5-2.  Junior second baseman Michael Courtney (Knoxville, Tenn.) drove in senior shortstop Chuck Hargis (Powell, Tenn.) later in the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field.

 

The Bucs (21-14) added two more runs in the eighth with Hargis scoring on a wild pitch, and Courtney coming around from second base on sophomore third baseman Anthony Russell's (Waldorf, Md.) single through the left side for an 8-4advantage.

 

The two runs proved to be sorely needed, as the Bulldogs struck for two ninth innings runs of their own off of ETSU closer Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.).  Leading 8-6 with two down and the bases loaded, second baseman hit a sharp grounder to first that seemed destined to be the game-tying base hit.  Church made a spectacular diving stop, and flipped to Calicutt, ending the threat and the game.

 

The Bulldogs (14-19) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Johnny Martinez's two-run homer to center field.  After the Bucs scored two in the fourth to tie the contest, UNC-Asheville restored its two-run lead with Elliot Arrington's RBI single center, followed by Martinez's RBI double off the center field wall.

 

Junior Tony Lombardi (Windsor, Calif.) picked up his first win of the season, improving to 1-6, throwing two innings of scoreless relief.  Freshman Darren Caldwell (Spartanburg, S.C.) went 4 2/3 innings and struck out a career high seven batters in his first collegiate start.  Bulldog starter Tim Johnson (1-6) took the loss, striking out five in five-plus innings of work, but giving up the costly back-to-back homers in the sixth.

 

Aughey and Courtney each finished the day 2-for-3 from the plate with two RBI, while Martinez led the Bulldog offensive effort going 3-for-5 with five RBI and a run scored.

 

The Bucs return to the diamond Friday evening when they welcome A-Sun rival Mercer in for a key conference series.  First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Cardinal Park.

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