KENNESAW, Ga. (May 17, 2012) – Kennesaw State (30-22, 14-10 A-Sun) broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the sixth inning as the Owls held off ETSU, 3-2, Thursday night in the series opener at Stillwell Stadium.
With the game knotted 1-1, Andy Almonte led off the sixth inning with a walk and cleanup batter Ronnie Freeman belted a RBI double to right center to give the Owls the lead. Two batters later, Will Howard drove in Freeman with a RBI double of his own to extend the KSU lead to 3-1.
That was all the run support the Kennesaw State pitching staff needed as starter Josh Carr (9-2) allowed just four hits and one run in seven innings, while striking out eight ETSU (22-31, 7-18 A-Sun) batters in the game to earn his ninth win of the season. Meanwhile, Zak Griffith pitched the final two innings in to earn his second save of the season. ETSU starter Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) (3-5) gave a strong effort in five innings of work, but was dealt the loss after allowing just four hits and two runs, while walking three and striking out three.
Freeman led the Owls at the plate with a 2-for-4 effort with a RBI. ETSU was led by Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) with a 2-for-4 day at the plate. Meanwhile, Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) and Cory Betterson (Atlanta, Ga.) each had a hit and a RBI for the Buccaneers.
Kennesaw State jumped out in front in the second inning when Andy Chriscaden went deep for his 13th home run of the season to give the Owls a 1-0 lead.
The Bucs tied the score in the fifth inning when Green laced a one-out RBI single through the right side to score Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) from second. Reynolds and Betterson reached on back-to-back walks to start the inning. Then, Green lined the first pitch he saw from Carr just past the first baseman for his 18th RBI of the season.
After the Owls regained the lead with the two runs in the sixth, ETSU pushed across a run in the top of the ninth, but fell just a run short. In the ninth, Reynolds kept ETSU’s hopes alive with a two-out double down the left field line. Betterson followed with a RBI single through the left side, but that was the only run the Bucs could muster in the final frame.
Game two of the three-game set will begin at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow night as ETSU will send righty Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) against Kennesaw State lefty Kevin Kyle.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.