JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 1, 2013) – Senior Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and the ETSU baseball team made quick work of Marist on a cold and snowy Friday afternoon from Thomas Stadium.
With a wintery mix coming down and temperatures hovering around freezing, the Buccaneer senior right-hander picked a good time to toss his first collegiate shutout as ETSU blanked Marist, 3-0, in a 1-hour, 58-minute gem by Doane.
Friday’s game was a pitchers' duel as Marist’s Chris Bielak suffered the loss (1-1) despite allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits in seven innings of work; however, Doane outmatched the Red Fox hurler. Doane earned his second straight winning decision (2-0) after tossing the six-hit shutout, along with striking out five and walking one.
Freshman designated hitter Dylan Powers (Blue Ridge, Va.) provided the Blue and Gold with the offensive output, as his first collegiate hit in the fourth inning drove in the first two runs of the afternoon. Sophomore shortstop Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) generated the other RBI when his single in the seventh scored pinch runner Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) from third. Meanwhile, Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) reached base twice – one single and one walk – and he has now reached base safely in 12 straight games, dating back last to last season.
The Bucs (7-2) have now won seven straight games at Thomas Stadium, marking their longest home winning streak since rattling off eight straight from April 23-May 7, 2011, while head coach Tony Skole’s teams improved to 21-3 all-time against current Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foes.
Both teams missed out on scoring chances early in the game, but Powers came through with his one-out double in the fourth to put ETSU on the scoreboard, 2-0.
The Bucs missed on a scoring chance in the second when Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) reached on a two-base error by Alex Petrone at third, and after stealing third, ETSU had a runner 90-feet away from the plate with only one out. Unfortunately, Bielak struck out Powers and forced Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) to hit into an inning-ending fly out to shallow right.
Doane received some strong defense in the top of the third, courtesy of Riopedre at short. After Eric Helmrich led off the inning with a walk, the Red Fox base runner advanced to second on a sac-bunt from Matt Pagano. However, with one out and a runner in scoring position, Mark Brennan hit a grounder to Riopedre and the sophomore shortstop gunned down the Marist (2-3) lead runner at third for the second out of the frame.
Once again the Blue and Gold let a scoring play slip through in the third after Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) led off with double to right-center and advanced to third on Riopedre’s sac-bunt. But Hershey was left standing on third as Bielak got Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) to pop up to short and Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) couldn’t reach on his bunt attempt.
Doane helped his case in the top of the fourth as he caught Mike Orefice napping at second. Orefice registered a two-out double to left, but Buccaneer senior right-hander picked him off to end the inning, along with keeping the game scoreless.
After both teams missed out on scoring opportunities in the previous two innings, ETSU finally struck for two runs in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead on Powers’ double to right-center. Freeman led off the inning with a single to right and Tritsch reached on a one-out fielding error by Zach Shank at short, placing runners on first and center for Powers. The freshman designated hitter found the right time to record his first collegiate hit as he split the gap in right-center to score both runs.
ETSU tacked on an insurance run in the seventh by taking advantage of Marist’s fifth error of the game, extending the Bucs’ lead to 3-0. Powers reached on a fielding error at third to lead off the inning, and after Tucker entered as a pinch runner, the junior outfielder moved over to third when Bielak’s pick off went awry. The Blue and Gold made the Red Foxes pay for the miscue as Riopedre’s single to center scored Tucker, giving ETSU a three-run cushion.
The Red Foxes never threatened after the fifth as Doane only allowed one base runner to reach second from that point forward. With one out and Orefice on first in the top of the ninth, Doane forced Nick McQuail to hit into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Marist was led by Orefice as the first baseman totaled two of the Red Foxes six hits.
Game two is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m., from Thomas Stadium. Freshman righty Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) gets the start for ETSU, while junior right-hander Kevin McCarthy takes to the hill for Marist.
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