JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 13, 2013) – The ETSU baseball team extended its Atlantic Sun Conference winning streak to five straight games as the Bucs defeated Lipscomb, 7-2, on Saturday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
The Bucs – who executed in all phases of the game – won their second consecutive A-Sun series behind strong pitching from Logan Rice (Erwin, Tenn.) and Will Chesney (Knoxville, Tenn.), while eight different batters registered at least one hit for the Blue and Gold. Rice won his third straight decision (4-1) after allowing two runs on five hits in career-high-tying six innings of work and Chesney collected his first collegiate save by tossing three innings of two-hit ball out of the bullpen.
At the plate, Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) and Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) finished with three-hit games, while Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.) reached base three times (one single, two walks) and drove in two runs with a single in ETSU’s four-run third inning. Hershey tied his career high with the three-hit effort and reached base in all four plate appearances after working a bases loaded walk in the fifth. Freeman belted his eighth homer of the season and totaled three RBI, marking his 11th multi-RBI game of the year. In addition, senior Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) scored two runs and registered his 65th stolen base of his career, tying him for second all-time in ETSU history with Stephen Douglas (2004-06).
Overall, the Bucs generated their 18th game of 10-plus hits on Saturday as the Blue and Gold ripped 13 hits, while Lipscomb tallied seven.
ETSU moved its record to 20-12, 9-5 in A-Sun play as the Bucs have now won five straight conference games and six of their last seven overall. The Bisons suffered their second straight setback and dropped to 12-24, 3-8 on the campaign.
Like they did in game one, the Bucs scored first as the Blue and Gold tacked on four in the third to take a 4-0 lead and control the tempo for the remainder of the contest. Freeman plated the first run of the afternoon when his sac-fly to left brought in Hershey, while Green’s rocket double past third scored Taylor – who worked one of the two walks in the inning (Tritsch followed behind with the other). Following Green’s seventh double of the season, Lasure continued swinging his hot bat as his single to left allowed Green and Tritsch to touch the dish, resulting in a four-run lead for ETSU.
Lipscomb finally scored its first run of the series in the fourth when Aaron Sandoval’s two-out solo home run to left made it a 4-1 game, but after giving up his first earned run as a starting pitcher, Rice came back by getting Tyson Ashcraft into an inning-ending fly out to right-center.
The Blue and Gold got the run back and them some in the bottom of the fifth when Freeman led off the frame with a solo shot to right, while Hershey took four straight pitches outside the strike zone to bring in Green, which put the Bucs ahead, 6-1.
The Bisons used the long ball to score their second and final run of the game in the sixth when Taylor Stewart led off the inning with a home run to left; however, like he did after giving up the first round-tripper to Sandoval two innings prior, Rice bounced back by retiring the next three Lipscomb hitters to wrap up his afternoon on the mound. With Chesney replacing his counterpart in the seventh, the junior sidearmer retired the first seven Bison batters he faced en route to recording the three-inning save and the first of his ETSU career.
Lipscomb starting pitcher Hunter Brothers was dealt the loss (3-4) as the right-hander was charged with six runs on eight hits in four innings of work. Six different Bison hitters posted hits for the visitors from Nashville, with Chad Shannon notching a two-hit effort.
The Bucs go for their second straight conference sweep on Sunday as ETSU and Lipscomb play the series finale at 1:05 p.m., from Thomas Stadium.
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