JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 11, 2012) – Stetson broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the sixth inning and the Hatters held on to defeat ETSU, 4-3, in the series opener on Friday night at Thomas Stadium.
With the victory, Stetson improves to 32-18 on the season and 13-9 in Atlantic Sun play. Meanwhile, ETSU falls to 22-27 overall and 7-15 in the league.
Stetson starting pitcher Lindsey Caughel (7-2) earned the victory after allowing six hits and three runs in 6.1 innings of work. Caughel struck out eight and walked two in the contest. Robbie Powell earned his 16th save of the season to break the school's all-time saves record. Meanwhile, ETSU starter Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) (2-8) picked up the loss after giving up seven hits and four runs in six innings.
Spencer Theisen led the Hatters at the plate with a 3-for-4 night. Meanwhile, Sam Kimmel, Robert Crews and Tanner Blackman each had a hit and an RBI.
Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) each had two hits to lead the Bucs offensively. Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) and Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) each had a hit and a RBI on the night.
The Bucs got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second when Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) stole home to give ETSU a 1-0 lead. Doane led off the inning with a base-hit and advanced to second after Pratt walked. Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) moved both runners into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Then, Riopedre attempted a squeeze play, but Caughel fielded the bunt and threw out Doane at the plate. With runners on the corners and two-outs, Riopedre got caught between first and second on an attempted steal, but Pratt broke to the plate and slid in safely as the ball got away to put the Bucs in front.
Stetson tied the score in the top of the third on a RBI single by Kimmel. Theisen led off the inning with a single through the right side and later stole second. Then with two-outs, Kimmel lined the 0-1 pitch into center field for an RBI single.
ETSU regained the lead with a RBI double by Freeman in the bottom half of the third. Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) singled through the left side with two-outs in the inning and later stole second. Then, Freeman drilled the 3-2 pitch down the right field line for a RBI double to give the Bucs a 2-1 advantage.
The Hatters quickly knotted the game in the fourth when Crews belted the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for his third home run of the season.
Stetson took control of the lead in the sixth with two runs on three hits in the inning. With two-outs in the frame, Mark Jones singled to right field and then stole second. After Mitchel Brennan recorded an infield single to put runners on the corners, a wild pitch allowed Jones to score from third. Blackman followed with a RBI single up the middle to plate Brennan – giving the Hatters a 4-2 advantage.
The Bucs got a run closer in the seventh thanks to a pinch hit RBI double by Reynolds. Riopedre led off the inning with a base-hit and advanced into scoring position after a Cory Betterson (Atlanta, Ga.) sacrifice bunt. Then, Reynolds came on to pinch hit and he drove the 1-0 pitch down the left field line to score Riopedre.
ETSU had one last shot in the ninth after pinch hitter Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.). With two-outs, Freeman drilled the 1-2 offering from Powell to deep center field, but Theisen made a running grab at the warning track to end the game.
Game two of the series between ETSU and Stetson will take place tomorrow at 2:05 p.m. ETSU will send senior righty John Long (Anderson, S.C.) to the hill to face Stetson righty Josh Powers. It will also be Senior Day at Thomas Stadium with the five ETSU seniors being honored prior to the game.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.