JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 9, 2012) – Sophomore Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) finished 2-for-5 with a home run and a career-high three RBI and the ETSU (7-4) baseball team erased an early deficit to defeat La Salle 9-6 on Friday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) and Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) matched Freeman with two hits apiece, while Green also had an RBI. Meanwhile, Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) had a hit and tied a season-high with two RBI on the day. Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.), Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Zach Waters (Woodstock, Ga.) each had a hit and an RBI for the Bucs. Waters delivered the go ahead run in the sixth inning with his first career home run.
John Long (Anderson, S.C.) (4-0) earned his fourth victory of the season as he gave up six runs in seven innings of work. Meanwhile, La Salle (5-7) starter Eric Van Wyk (2-2) was charged with the loss after giving up nine hits and eight runs (four earned) in six innings of work.
La Salle got off to a quick start by scoring two runs on two hits in the first inning. Brendan Norton led off the game with a single and Tony Negrin walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. After Jeff Flax dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position, Marc Schoch brought home Norton on a sacrifice fly to right field. Green made a strong throw from right field, but Norton was able to just get around the tag at the plate. Adam Kammler capped off the La Salle scoring with an RBI single up the middle that scored Negrin from third.
The Bucs answered with a run on three hits in the bottom half of the frame. Green got it all started by leading off the inning with a triple in the right centerfield gap. Scruggs followed with an RBI ground rule double to get the Bucs within one at 2-1.
ETSU took its first lead of the contest in the second inning as the Bucs pushed across four runs in the frame. Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) led off the inning by reaching on an error by the La Salle shortstop. After Niesman stole second, Green brought home Niesman with an RBI single tie the game at 2-2. Scruggs walked to put runners on first and second and Freeman blasted his second homer of the season to put the Bucs up 5-2.
The Bucs added a run in the third as Reynolds drove in Thompson with an RBI single to center field. Thompson got aboard by ripping a one-out double down the left field line.
La Salle plated two runs in the fourth to cut the lead to two. Joe Bennie got the rally started by lacing a one-out triple into right center. Dan Klem followed with an RBI double down the left field line to score Bennie from third. With two outs in the inning, Norton got his second hit of the afternoon on a double down the right field line – scoring Klem from second to make the score 6-4.
The Explorers added two more runs to even the contest in the fifth inning. Schoch doubled down the left field line with one-out in the inning to start another rally. After Adam Kammler grounded out for the second out of the inning, Jon Gyles ripped an RBI single through the left side to pull the Explorers within one. After Bennie singled, Klem followed with an RBI single to right field to knot the game at 6-6.
The Bucs broke the tie in the sixth inning on Waters’ first career collegiate home run. With one-out in the inning, Waters drilled the 0-1 pitch from Van Wyk over the wall in left field to give ETSU the lead for good.
ETSU plated two insurance runs in the seventh inning off three hits. Freeman started the inning with a base-hit, which ran Van Wyk out of the game. Mike McLeod came on in relief for the Explorers and after getting Pratt to ground out, Doane brought home Freeman with an RBI single. Then, Thompson doubled to right center to put runners on second and third with just one-out. La Salle then intentionally walked Niesman to load the bases, which prompted another pitching change. The Explorers went to left hander Ryan Donahue to face Reynolds and Donahue hit Reynolds with the 1-1 pitch to put the Bucs up 9-6.
Freeman pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Doane shut the door in the ninth with his second save of the season.
The Bucs continue the weekend series against La Salle tomorrow with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch at Thomas Stadium. The Bucs will send freshman Will Carter (Johnson City, Tenn.) to the mound for his first career start and he will oppose La Salle righty Kevin Christy (0-0).
- Dylan Pratt has now reached base in all 11 games so far this season
- With two hits on the day, Clinton Freeman now has six multi-hit games this season to lead the squad. He also tied Scruggs for the team lead with his third multiple RBI game of the year.
- With a hit in the first inning, Scruggs has recorded at least one hit in 10 of 11 games this season.
- John Long becomes the first pitcher in the Atlantic Sun Conference to four wins this year.
- Scruggs and Pratt have now reached base in each of the seven games this season.
- With five combined runs in the second and third innings, the Bucs are now outscoring their opponents by a combined 24-4 mark this season in the second and third frames.
- The Bucs have now evened up the all-time series with La Salle 1-1. La Salle won the only other meeting between the two schools back in 1985.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.