Scruggs finished a perfect 5-for-5 with two homers and five RBI on the afternoon
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 11, 2012) – Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) was a perfect 5-for-5 with two home runs and the ETSU (8-5) offense pounded out 16 hits and a season-high 15 runs to claim the series with a 15-3 victory over La Salle (6-8) in the rubber match on Sunday at Thomas Stadium.
Scruggs, who hit leadoff for the first time this season, scored five runs and recorded five RBI in the victory. In addition, he was only a double away from hitting for the cycle.
All of the Buccaneers’ 16 hits came from the top six batters in the lineup. In addition to Scruggs’ monster day at the plate, Andrew Green (Wellington, Fla.), Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) and Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) each had three hits apiece. Green was 3-for-4 with three runs scored, Freeman was 3-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored and four RBI and Doane was 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI. Meanwhile, Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) was 1-for-4 with a homer and three RBI.
Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) (1-1) earned his first win as a Buccaneer as he allowed five hits and three runs in six innings of work. Shane Petrellis (0-2) got the loss after tossing just two innings and allowing six hits and five runs.
La Salle got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the first inning thanks to a two-run home run by Marc Schoch. After getting two quick outs to start the inning, Long hit catcher Adam Kammler with a pitch. Schoch followed with a deep shot over the left field wall for his second homer of the season to put the Explorers in front 2-0.
The Bucs answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the first. Scruggs got the rally started with a leadoff triple off the right field wall. After Green was hit by a pitch, Freeman doubled down the right field line to score Scruggs from third. Pratt followed with an RBI groundout – scoring Green from third to tie the game 2-2.
Kammler led off the third inning with a base-hit through the right side and Schoch followed with a ground rule double to right center – putting runners at second and third with no outs. After Smith Jr. drew a one-out walk to load the bases, Dan Klem recorded an RBI groundout to put La Salle back in front, 3-2.
After trailing for the second time in the game, ETSU rallied for four runs on four hits in the bottom half of the third. Scruggs led off the inning with a single to right center and Green dropped down a perfect bunt single to put two runners on with no outs. Then, Freeman drilled a two-run double to left center – scoring Scruggs and Green. Mike McLeod came on in relief for La Salle and Pratt greeted him with a two-run bomb into the parking lot in left field for his third home run of the season and extending the Buccaneer lead to 6-3.
ETSU added three runs in the fourth off three hits. Catcher Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) reached on an error with one-out in the inning to bring Scruggs to the plate. Scruggs blasted a 3-1 pitch from McCleod over the wall in center field for his seventh homer of the season. After Freeman doubled for the third time and Pratt walked, La Salle went back to the bullpen to call upon Adam Cherry. Doane drilled the first pitch he saw from Cherry down the left field line to score Freeman from second and giving the Bucs a 9-3 lead.
Scruggs started things off in the fifth after roping a two-out single to left field. Green singled through the right side to move Scruggs over to third. Then, Green stole second and Kammler overthrew second base allowing Scruggs to score from third.
The Bucs plated four more runs in the seventh inning with three of them coming off the bat of Scruggs. Chris Riopedre (Cooper City, Fla.) led off the inning with a walk and Hershey followed two batters later with a walk as well. Then, Scruggs blasted the 3-1 pitch from Ryan Swearingen over the wall in left field for his second homer of the game and eighth of the year. After another pitching change, Green tripled down the right field line and Freeman drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center field to increase the Buccaneer lead to 14-3.
Alec Baum came on to pitch the eighth inning for the Explorers and Doane led off the inning by blasting the 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for his first home run of the season.
Freshman Kuehl McEachern (Mt. Dora, Fla.) worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning and sophomore Logan Rice (Erwin, Tenn.) worked two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to close out the victory for the Bucs.
The Bucs will be back at home on Tuesday with a contest against Southern Conference foe Furman. In addition, ETSU will play at Wofford on Wednesday night in game just recently added to the schedule.
- Dylan Pratt has now reached base in all 13 games so far this season after his third inning home run.
- Matthew Scruggs was the first Buccaneer to record five hits in a game since Johnson City native Chas Byrne finished a perfect 5-for-5 in the 2010 Atlantic Sun Tournament against Mercer.
- The two homer game by Scruggs was the first since Paul Hoilman hit two home runs against Mercer last season.
- Scruggs’ five RBI were the most by a Buccaneer since Bo Reeder recorded six RBI against Manhattan on May 1, 2011.
- Scruggs has also now recorded at least one hit in 12 of 13 games this season.
- Clinton Freeman’s three doubles on the afternoon were the most by a Buccaneer since April 14, 2010 when Paul Hoilman had three doubles against Wofford.
- The 15 runs scored by the Bucs were the most since plating 19 runs against Manhattan on May 1, 2011.
- The series win for the Bucs is their third consecutive after dropping the opening series of the season against Eastern Kentucky.
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