BOONE, N.C. (April 30, 2013) – After dropping its suspended game to Appalachian State earlier in the day, the ETSU baseball team waited out a 42-minute rain delay to plate five runs in the seventh and rally past the Mountaineers, 7-6, on Tuesday night at Smith Stadium.
The Bucs and Mountaineers finished up their suspended game from last Wednesday’s game at Thomas Stadium earlier in the day and Appalachian State held on for the 3-1 win. But after trailing by three runs through six complete innings and sitting through the heavy rains, ETSU returned the favor by exploding for the key comeback win to split the season series with its former SoCon rival.
Freshman Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) reached base all four times and went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, while senior Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) overcame three fielding errors at third to finish 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. Senior Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) also recorded a multi-hit game by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and scored the eventual game-winning run on Chris Riopedre’s (Miami, Fla.) squeeze bunt in the seventh. In addition, senior Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) tied a career-high with three stolen bases and moved his career total to 71 steals, which is five shy of setting a new all-time mark in program history.
Jared Burton (Knoxville, Tenn.) picked up his first win in an ETSU uniform as he exited the game in the sixth and the Blue and Gold rewarded the junior left-hander with the crooked number in the seventh. Burton improved to 1-1 as he allowed four unearned runs on three hits in two innings of work, while fellow junior southpaw Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) converted on his seventh save opportunity by pitching a perfect ninth inning.
With the season split, ETSU improved to 25-18 on the year, while Appalachian State saw its mark move to 24-17.
The Mountaineers jumped out to the early 1-0 lead on Will Callaway’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first, but the Bucs quickly knotted the game at one in the top of the second. Reynolds pushed across the tying run when his RBI groundout to second scored Phillips – who reached via a one-out single, advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt by Chad Farmer, and moved to third on an infield single by Niesman.
After ETSU starter Peyton Taylor (Kingsport, Tenn.) escaped a two-out bases loaded jam in the bottom of the third, the Blue and Gold missed a scoring chance in the top of the fourth as the first four hitters reached base, but none of the Buccaneers came across the dish. Freeman led off the frame with a double to right-center and moved to third on Phillips’ single to left; however, the freshman first baseman was thrown out at second as he tried to move up into scoring position after the ball got away in the infield. With one out and Freeman on third, Niesman laid down the squeeze bunt, but Appalachian State pitcher Rob Howard flipped home to get Freeman out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Reynolds followed up that play with a single to second, but the two ETSU runners were left stranded when Riopedre hit into an inning-ending grounder to short.
Once again, the Mountaineers loaded the bases in the fourth, but Taylor got out of the dicey situation without allowing a run as he forced William Head into an inning-ending grounder to first, which kept things tied at one.
From there, the Blue and Gold took the lead when Phillips registered his third hit of the game and came around to score on Reynolds’ double to left, making it a 2-1 score.
However, after leaving the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings, Appalachian State turned things around when the Mountaineers took advantage of a two-out throwing error by Reynolds at third to load the bases for a third time in the contest. With the Bucs being able to get out of the first two jams unscathed, the Blue and Gold couldn’t escape a third time as Head’s triple to left-center cleared the bases and the Appalachian State third baseman crossed the plate on another throwing error by Reynolds to push the Mountaineers’ advantage to, 5-2.
Following a 42-minute rain delay in the top of the seventh, the Bucs came back out and hung up the five spot to regain a 7-5 lead. Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Green started the rally by working walks, while Freeman drove in the first run of the inning with an RBI single to center. Green used his speed to make it a one-run deficit as he registered one of his three steals on the night by swiping third and trotted home on Josh Zumbrook’s throwing error on the play. As the Blue and Gold only trailed by a run, Phillips worked a six-pitch walk, which forced Appalachian State to make a pitching change. Niesman greeted Taylor Thurber with an RBI single to tie the game at five – and after Phillips and Niesman moved up a base on a throwing error by right fielder Preston Troutman – Reynolds drove in the go-ahead run by reaching on a throwing error by Callaway at short. Riopedre capped off the scoring spree with a perfect squeeze bunt to bring in Niesman, giving the Blue and Gold a two-run advantage.
Appalachian State pulled within a run in the eighth, but Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) worked out of a two-out bases loaded situation by freezing Jaylin Davis to end the inning and keeping the Blue and Gold ahead, 7-6. After leaving the bases loaded for the third time on the night, the Mountaineers couldn’t regroup as Freeman sent Appalachian State down in order in the bottom of the ninth to finish off the win for ETSU.
Rob Marcello suffered the loss (1-3) after being charged with four runs (three earned) on one hit, while walking three in one-third of an inning. Head led the Mountaineer offense as he generated three of their 10 hits and drove in four runs.
SUSPENDED GAME RECAP
After not being able to finish its originally scheduled game last Wednesday night at Thomas Stadium, ETSU and Appalachian State resumed play Tuesday evening and the Mountaineers defeated the Blue and Gold, 3-1, at Smith Stadium.
Before the rains came last Tuesday in Johnson City, the Mountaineers struck first as Appalachian State pushed across two runs in the top of the second to go up, 2-0. Gabe Dimock led off the frame with an infield single and advanced to second on an error by first baseman Clinton Freeman. Dimock later scored on Michael Pierson’s RBI single to center, while Dillon Dobson – who walked earlier in the frame – advanced to third on the single and scored the second run on Josh Zumbrook’s sacrifice fly to center.
ETSU answered with a run in the bottom of the inning as Green led things off with a triple to right-center and scored when Kevin Phillips doubled down the line in left, but with the bases loaded and no outs, Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) hit into a 1-2-3 double play. Later in the inning, the Blue and Gold had the bags full again, but ETSU couldn’t push across any runs as Jeremy Taylor hit into an inning-ending grounder to second.
The Mountaineers got the run back in the top of the third when Hector Crespo led off the inning with a triple to left-center and scored on Noah Holmes’ one-out RBI grounder to second, making it a 3-1 game.
Appalachian State threatened in the top of the fourth when Dobson doubled to right-center to lead off the inning and trotted to third on Jaylin Davis’ infield single to short. However, with no outs and runners on the corners, Kameron Miller (Crestview, Fla.) got a huge pick-me-up from the Buccaneer defense to get out of the inning unscathed. Davis made the first out when Hershey threw him out stealing second, while Pierson flied out to left on the next play, and Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) gunned down Dobson at the plate to end the inning as the Mountaineer base runner tried to score on the fly out.
Following the strong defensive play, the rains started to come down and both teams waited out a 44-minute rain delay; however, after play resumed, neither team generated any offense as the Mountaineers still led by a pair runs as the rain picked back up again in the bottom of the seventh.
As the game was called, Josh Wilson replaced Jeffrey Springs on the mound, while Phillips was the first Buccaneer hitter due up in the inning.
Unfortunately, after arriving in Boone, the Bucs couldn’t generate any offense off Wilson as the Appalachian State hurler tossed the final three scoreless innings to pick up his second save of the year. Springs earned the win (2-2) after pitching three innings of one-hit ball out of the bullpen, while Miller suffered the loss (0-1) for the Bucs. Miller was charged with all three runs on five hits in four innings of work.
Offensively, ETSU only generated four hits off the four Mountaineer pitchers used, with Phillips providing the lone RBI when his third double of the season scored Green, who posted his third triple of the campaign.
The Bucs continue their five-game road swing on Wednesday night as ETSU travels to Cookeville and takes on Tennessee Tech. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. (Eastern) at Bush Stadium.
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