JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 9, 2013) – Playing before the first sold out crowd in the history of newly-minted Thomas Stadium, the ETSU baseball team dropped a hard-fought 4-3 contest to Southeastern Conference foe Tennessee Tuesday evening.
The festive crowd of 1,752 looked on as the Buccaneers took an early 1-0 lead over their in-state rivals thanks to a first-inning solo home run by junior left fielder Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.). However, the Bucs ultimately fell behind by a score of 4-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning and managed to score just one run the rest of the way.
With the loss, ETSU drops to 18-12 overall on the season, but the Bucs have still won seven of the last 12 meetings with the Volunteers. Meanwhile, Tennessee improves to 14-17 on the season.
Tennessee starter Andy Cox worked three innings on the mound, allowing three hits and two earned runs, but came away with the win to move to 2-3 on the season. In addition, the Volunteers’ Trevor Bettencourt picked up his third save of the season by working a perfect bottom of the ninth.
For the Bucs, freshman starter Griffin Krieg (Nashville) was saddled with the loss after pitching four innings and allowing three runs on five hits.
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Bucs missed out on their best opportunity to tie the game following a single by freshman right fielder Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.). Tritsch then attempted a sacrifice bunt, but Taylor was out at second on a close play at the bag.
Junior Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough) followed with a double to put runners at second and third, and Tritsch later scored on a ground ball to first base off the bat of senior center fielder Andrew Green (Powell). The potential tying run was left on base however, when UT reliever Trevor Charpie came on to strikeout ETSU designated hitter Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) and end the ETSU threat.
Offensively, Tritsch led ETSU with two runs scored and two hits, which included his first-inning home run. Meanwhile, ETSU senior catcher Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) also added a third-inning blast of his own, while Taylor provided a pair of hits. For Tennessee, Will Maddox, Scott Price, Christin Stewart and Pierce Billy all had multi-hit games.
On the injury front, senior second baseman Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) left the game in the top of the second inning after diving for a looping line drive in right field. Niesman appeared to injure his left wrist on the play and left the game in favor of freshman Trey York (Knoxville).
The Bucs will return to action this weekend for a three-game series with Atlantic Sun Conference opponent Lipscomb at Thomas Stadium. The first game of the set is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Friday.
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