ETSU opens series with key 3-2 win at Stetson
DELAND, Fla. (April 19, 2013) – On a night when Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) said he didn’t have his best stuff, the senior right-hander still had enough in the tank to lift the ETSU baseball team to another Atlantic Sun victory.
Doane – who received plenty of big plays by his defense – tossed his NCAA-leading eighth complete game of the year and extended the Bucs’ A-Sun win streak to seven straight with a 3-2 win over Stetson Friday night at Melching Field. The senior right-hander allowed two runs on eight hits, while striking out three and walking two, to improve his record to 8-1 on the season. Doane outdueled sophomore righty Josh Powers as the Hatter hurler tossed his second complete game of the year but saw his mark dip to 1-5. Powers was charged with three runs on eight hits and struck out one.
With both teams scoring two runs each in the fourth, the Blue and Gold made the right calls late to push across the game-winning run in the seventh. Senior Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the seventh, and with the Stetson infield playing in for a sac-bunt, Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) capped off the hit-and-run with perfection by placing the first pitch he saw off Powers into right field for a single, sending Reynolds over to third. Then, with no outs and runners on the corners, Reynolds scored the winning run when Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Following the scoring play in the top of the seventh, senior outfielder Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) ignited the Buccaneer defense when his diving grab in center robbed Patrick Mazeika of extra bases for the second out of the frame. Yet again, the Blue and Gold defensive efforts came through in the clutch one inning later, as Stetson had the tying run at third with one out, but Doane and the Bucs didn’t let pinch runner Mike Fernland score following a leadoff double by Konner Lutz. With one out, Doane forced Mitchel Brennan to hit a chopper to second, and with Niesman charging on the play, he came up firing to the plate to gun down Fernland for the out. As Niesman made a strong play at second, Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) made another web gem at short to steal a single away from Carlos Garmendia for the final out of the frame.
After getting out the jam in the eighth, Doane worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to move ETSU’s record to 22-13, 11-5 in A-Sun play. Stetson – who had won four of its last six conference games – dropped to 17-22, 6-7.
Seven different players accounted for the eight Buccaneer hits as Niesman led the charge with a two-hit effort. Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games after going 1-for-4 and scored ETSU’s first run of the game on Clinton Freeman’s (Jonesborough, Tenn.) RBI double in the fourth. Freeman later scored on an RBI single from Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.).
Doane faced some dicey situations early on as the Hatters left runners on first and second in the first and runners on the corners in the third. Overall, the Hatters left nine runners on base for the game.
After only mustering one hit off Powers in the first three innings, the Blue and Gold struck for three hits and two runs to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Tritsch led off the inning with a single to right, and quickly moved over to third, as the junior outfielder stole second while advancing to third on a throwing error by Garrett Russini on the play. Freeman then came through with the double to right-center to plate the first run of the game, while Lasure drove in the Jonesborough, Tenn. native with an RBI single to left, giving ETSU a two-run advantage.
However, just as the Bucs did in the top of the inning, the Hatters answered for a pair of runs to pull even at two in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff walk to James Rasmussen came back to haunt the Blue and Gold as he cruised home on Brennan’s triple to left-center, while Brennan scored the tying run on a sac-fly from Garmendia to tie up the game.
With both teams being held scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings, ETSU regained the lead in the seventh when Niesman followed through on the hit-and-run and Reynolds scored on the double play, making it a 3-2 contest.
From there, the defensive plays continued to pour in for the Bucs and the Blue and Gold hung on for their fifth one-run victory on the campaign.
Like ETSU, the Hatters also registered eight hits on the night. Mazieka, Lutz, and Kevin Fagan all finished with two hits.
ETSU looks to pick up its third straight series win on Saturday as game two is slated for 2 p.m., at Melching Field. Junior right-hander Logan Rice (Erwin, Tenn.) squares off with junior lefty Austin Perez.
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