KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Apr. 17, 2012) – Tennessee took control of the game in the sixth inning and held off a furious late rally from ETSU (16-19) to defeat the Bucs, 5-4, Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Richard Carter led the Tennessee (22-15) charge with a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate, which included a double and two RBI. Will Maddox also had a multiple hit game as he finished 2-for-5 with an RBI. Meanwhile, Zach Osborne finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI.
Drew Steckenrider (4-2) earned the victory after tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, while striking out four. Nick Blount came on with two-outs in the eighth to close the game his 10th save of the season. Meanwhile, ETSU starter Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (3-2) was charged with the loss after allowing eight hits and four runs in 5.1 innings of work.
All four of the ETSU runs were driven in by the middle part of the lineup. Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) was 1-for-2 with a run and an RBI and has now reached base safely in 29 straight games. Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 1-for-4 with a triple and two RBI, while Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) finished 1-for-4 with an RBI. Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.), Cory Betterson (Atlanta, Ga.) and Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) each had a hit on the night.
The Bucs struck first in the opening frame on a one-out RBI single by Freeman. Betterson reached base after drawing a one-out walk. After advancing into scoring position on a wild pitch, Freeman worked the count with an incredible 16-pitch at-bat before ripping the 3-2 offering from Williams right up the middle to give the Bucs the early 1-0 lead.
Tennessee knotted the game at one apiece in the bottom of the second inning on a double by Osborne. With one-out in the inning, Chris Pierce singled to right field and came around to score on Osborne’s double to left center.
The Vols took control of the lead in the sixth inning after plating three runs on three hits. Davis Morgan led off the frame with a double down the left field line and later moved over to third on a ground out. Carter followed with an RBI single up the middle to give the Vols their first lead of the contest. After Doane issued a free pass to Pierce, the Bucs called on John Long (Anderson, S.C.) out of the bullpen with runners on first and second. Long hit Walker with the 1-0 pitch to load the bases and Osborne followed with a sacrifice fly to extend the Tennessee lead. With two outs in the inning, Maddox lined a single into center field to score Pierce from third – giving UT a 4-1 lead.
Tennessee added another run in the seventh on an RBI by single by Carter. Parker Wormsley got it started with a one-out double to left field. After a ground out for the second out of the inning, Carter hit the 1-2 offering from Long into left field for an RBI single to make the score 5-1.
ETSU got right back into the contest with three runs on four hits in the top of the eighth inning. The rally got started with two-outs in the frame as Betterson recorded a single to right center. After Betterson advanced to second on a wild pitch, Freeman walked and ball four got past the catcher allowing Betterson to cruise into third. Then, Scruggs drilled the 1-2 pitch off the top of the wall in right center for a two-run triple. After UT brought in closer Nick Blount, Pratt hit the first pitch he saw into shallow left field for an RBI single to get the Bucs within one at 5-4. The Bucs managed to load the bases, but Tennessee was able to get out of the inning with no further damage.
The Bucs will be back in action tomorrow as they travel to Radford for a 6 p.m. first pitch.
- Clinton Freeman has now reached base in 29 consecutive games after going 1-for-2 with an RBI. Freeman also extended his hitting streak to nine.
- The victory for Tennessee was the first against the Bucs in six tries. ETSU had previously won five games in a row against UT.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.