JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 26, 2012) – Junior Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) delivered a walk off sacrifice fly to help lead the ETSU baseball team to a come from behind victory over Saint Joseph’s, 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Thomas Stadium. The Bucs also completed the weekend sweep over the Hawks.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) got the rally going with a leadoff single to left center. Freshman Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) followed by walking on five pitches to put runners on first and second with no outs. Then, with Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) at the plate looking to put down a sacrifice bunt, a passed ball allowed both runners to advance into scoring position. The passed ball allowed Niesman to swing away and he delivered an RBI single to third base – tying the score at 3-3. With still no outs in the inning, Reynolds swung at the first pitch he saw from relief pitcher Kevin Burum (0-1) and he drove it deep enough into right center field to allow Thompson to tag up and score the game winning run.
ETSU starter Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) was phenomenal on the mound from the outset. He tossed 6.2 innings, while allowing just three hits and no earned runs (two unearned). Long walked just two and struck out five. In addition, he was perfect through four innings before giving up a leadoff single in the fifth.
Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) (1-0) earned his first victory of the season after pitching two innings of relief. Freeman gave up two hits and one run on the afternoon.
Niesman, Pratt and Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) each had two hits to lead the Bucs at the plate. Niesman continues to swing a hot bat as he finished the weekend 6-for-11 at the plate with three RBIs. Meanwhile, Pratt is starting to heat up at the plate as he tallied five hits of his own in the series.
Both teams were scoreless through three innings, but ETSU got on the scoreboard first with a run in the fourth. With two outs in the inning, Pratt walked on four pitches and later advanced to third after a balk and a wild pitch. Thompson came to the plate and delivered a clutch RBI single up the middle to put the Bucs in front 1-0.
Saint Joseph’s got on the scoreboard in the seventh inning thanks to a little help from the Bucs. Brian O’Keefe led off the inning by reaching base on an error by the third baseman. After Long got two straight fly outs, Lansing Veeder reached base on an error by the catcher, which allowed O’Keefe to score from first and Veeder to advance to third. Greg Kumpel then hit a line shot to left field that was misplayed by the ETSU leftfielder – allowing Kumpel to reach base and Veeder to score from third.
The Hawks added an insurance run in the eighth after starting the inning with two straight singles. With the bases loaded, a fielder’s choice allowed the runner to score from third, giving Saint Joseph’s a 3-1 advantage.
ETSU responded with a run as well in the eighth inning thanks to a little small ball. After Reynolds led off the inning with a single, Zach Waters (Woodstock, Ga.) put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Reynolds into scoring position. Green followed with a line drive single into center to put runners on the corners with just one out. After Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Doane hit into a fielder’s choice to score Reynolds from third, making the score 3-2.
Freeman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to give the Bucs the opportunity to win the game in the ninth inning -- trailing by just one run.
ETSU improved its record to 4-2 on the season, while Saint Joseph’s dropped to 1-5 with the loss.
The Bucs continue the long homestand with a three-game weekend series against Big Ten foe Indiana beginning on Friday at Thomas Stadium.
- The ETSU brother tandem of John and Jake Long combined to pitch 13.2 innings on the weekend without allowing an earned run.
- The Bucs swept a three-game series for the first time since May 13-14 of last year when they swept Campbell at home. The last time they swept a non-conference series was also last year when they earned a sweep of Manhattan (April 30 – May 1).
- Matthew Scruggs recorded a single in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to six games to start the season.
- Freshman Zach Thompson has recorded a hit in each of the three games in which he has played to open the season
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.