RADFORD, Va. (May 9, 2012) – ETSU jumped out to a four-run lead through six innings and then held off a seventh inning Radford rally to defeat the Highlanders, 8-4, Wednesday night at the Radford University Baseball Stadium.
The Bucs swept the two game season series with Radford, while improving their record to 22-26 on the season. With the loss, Radford falls to 26-21-1 on the season.
ETSU used nine different pitchers in the contest with starter Will Carter (Johnson City, Tenn.) (1-2) earning the victory after pitching a scoreless first inning. Radford starter Jake Palese (3-2) got the loss after allowing nine hits and five runs in 5.1 innings. Palese picked up his only two losses against ETSU this season after he fell to the Bucs back on March 27.
ETSU pounded out 13 hits including three home runs. Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.), Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.), Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.), Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) and Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) each had two hits and an RBI. Meanwhile, Corey McPherson (Johnson City, Tenn.) had a hit and tied his season-high with three RBI. Green, Pratt and Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) each had a home run on the night.
The Bucs got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second with a run on two hits. The first three batters of the inning reached base. Pratt led off the inning with a single, Thompson walked and Riopedre singled up the middle to load the bases. McPherson followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, which plated Pratt.
ETSU extended its lead when Scruggs led off the third inning by blasting the 2-2 pitch from Palese over the left field wall for his 18th home run of the season. The 18 homers are tied for the national lead.
Radford got within one after plating its first run in the bottom of the third. Josh Gardiner led off the inning with a double down the left field line and later stole third. Two batters later, Zach Costello recorded a sacrifice fly to deep center field to make the score 2-1.
The Bucs pushed across three runs on four hits in the sixth to take a four-run advantage. Freeman led off the inning with a single and advanced to second when Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) dropped down a sacrifice bunt. After Pratt was intentionally walked, Thompson lined the 0-1 pitch right up the middle for an RBI single. Following a balk that advanced both runners into scoring position, Riopedre recorded an RBI single through the left side to score Pratt from third. McPherson capped off the scoring in the inning by beating out a bunt attempt, which scored Thompson.
Radford rallied in the seventh inning with three runs on four hits to pull within one at 5-4. Zach Costello and Matt Mack recorded back-to-back RBI singles to highlight the big inning for the Highlanders.
ETSU plated two more runs in the eighth inning to regain a three-run advantage. Pratt greeted relief pitcher Jason Patton by leading off the inning with his 16th home run of the season. Thompson followed with a base-hit and advanced to third on two wild pitches. With one-out in the inning, McPherson recorded an RBI ground out to make the score 7-4.
The Bucs scored its final run in the ninth when Green led off the inning by belting the 1-2 pitch from Jeff Maxwell over the right field fence for his second home run of the season.
Gardiner, Costello, Mack, Brett Mollenhauer and Ryan Burgess had two hits apiece to lead the Highlanders at the plate. Costello led the squad with two RBI.
The Bucs return to action for the final home games of the season when Stetson comes to town for a three-game conference series beginning on Friday.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.