ASHEVILLE, N.C. (March 13, 2013) – The Bucs motto is “Never to lose two in a row.”
After dropping a one-run heartbreaker on Tuesday night, the ETSU baseball team bounced in a big way as the Blue and Gold pounded UNC Asheville, 20-9, on a cold and windy Wednesday afternoon from Greenwood Field.
The Bucs – who went 1-for-9 in scoring opportunities the night before versus Winthrop – came through in the clutch against the Bulldogs as ETSU (10-4) converted on nine of its 23 chances with runners in scoring position. Freshman outfielder Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) was a perfect 4-for-4 with runners in scoring position and finished 5-for-6 with a double, four runs scored and four RBI, while his five-hit game was one shy of tying the Buccaneer record. Meanwhile, Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) extended his streak of reaching base safely to 17 straight games after going 4-for-5 with a walk and three RBI, and Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) ended with three hits (two doubles), two runs scored, and three RBI. In addition, Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) extended his hit streak to 10 straight games after going 2-for-6 with a home run, two runs scored, and two RBI.
As a team, ETSU totaled a season-high 21 hits, which was the Bucs’ first 20-hit game since registering 20 against Manhattan back on May 1, 2011, while the Blue and Gold have now generated 10 or more hits for the fifth straight game. In total, the Blue and Gold have 68 hits during this five-game stretch, whereas, the 20 runs were the most scored since posting 22 against Stetson back on May 1, 2010.
Junior Logan Rice (Erwin, Tenn.) was one of seven ETSU pitchers used, but he earned the win (1-0), while Peyton Taylor (Kingsport, Tenn.), Will Chesney (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Freeman combined for 4.1 scoreless innings and six strikeouts in relief.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Eli Miller led off the bottom of the first with a home run to left, but Kameron Miller (Crestview, Fla.) worked out of a jam as he left runners standing on first and second by forcing Todd Joyner to fly out to right and Justin Woods to line out to third.
The Asheville lead didn’t last long as ETSU struck for five runs on three hits in the top of the second to lead, 5-1. Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) walked to lead off the inning and moved over to third on Riopedre’s single to right. Green trotted home on an RBI ground out by Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.), while Riopedre made it a 2-1 Buccaneer lead when Zack Wiseman was called for a balk. From there, the Blue and Gold loaded the bases as Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.) walked, Tyler Roach (Knoxville, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch, and Taylor hit a bloop single to left. ETSU scored the third run on another Bulldog pitching miscue as Lasure touched the plate on a wild pitch, and Tritsch brought in Roach and Taylor when he doubled down the line in right, making it a 5-1 game.
Asheville got one run back in the second on Miller’s sac-fly RBI to center and tied it at five by plating three runs on four hits an inning later. Phillip Treadway drove in a run on an RBI single to center, while Andrew Kirkland’s one-out double to right-center brought in the tying runs before Rice could get out of the rough inning by getting Kyle Towels to tap one back to the mound with runners at the corners.
The see-saw game continued, but the Blue and Gold regained the lead for good when Derek Niesman’s (Wellington, Fla.) squeeze bunt scored Tritsch in the top of the fourth, giving ETSU the 6-5 advantage.
After Sam Eichler (Mission Viejo, Calif.) held the Bulldogs scoreless for the first time in the fourth, the Bucs put up another five spot to extend their lead to six, 11-5. Riopedre led off the fifth inning with a solo shot to left, marking ETSU’s first home run since Feb. 26 at Tennessee, while Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) gave the Blue and Gold a three-run cushion when his double to left plated Sanford from first. From there, Hershey advanced to third on Roach’s sac-bunt, while Taylor’s chopper up the middle brought home the senior catcher. Freeman capped off the scoring when his single to right-center brought in Tritsch and Taylor.
The Bulldogs pushed one across in the bottom of the inning, but Peyton Taylor entered with one out and the bases loaded to work out of the jam.
ETSU’s hot bats carried over to the sixth and the Blue and Gold saw their lead balloon to eight, 14-6, courtesy of the three-run inning. Hershey – who worked a one-out walk – scored on an error, while Taylor and Freeman had RBI doubles later in the frame.
The Blue and Gold kept their scoring streak intact in the seventh and eighth innings as the Bucs combined for six more runs on six hits to reach the 20 run mark. Roach, Taylor, and Tritsch all drove in runs in the seventh, while Green and Riopedre produce the scoring plays in the eighth.
Asheville finished off its scoring with a three-run seventh, but Freeman and Chesney shut the door by holding the Bulldogs scoreless for the final 2.2 innings.
UNC Asheville – who dropped to 7-11 following the 11-run setback – finished with 12 hits and had three players post two-hit games. Justin Hunt suffered the loss (0-1) after giving up four runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings of relief.
ETSU continues its five-game road trip on Friday night as the Bucs open Atlantic Sun Conference play at USC Upstate. First pitch is set for 6 p.m., from Cleveland S. Harley Park.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!
For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.