AUBURN, Ala. (Feb. 22, 2014) – The ETSU baseball team scored seven runs in the first two innings, while the Buccaneer bullpen tossed six scoreless frames, as the Blue and Gold bounced back into to the win column by taking down Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 7-3, on Saturday afternoon at the Auburn Tiger Classic.
As a team, the Bucs pounded out 10 hits as Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.) both registered two hits apiece. Tritsch went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored and Lasure drove in and scored a run. In addition, Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) and Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) both finished with a double and two RBI.
While the ETSU offense struck early and often, the Buccaneer bullpen closed the door on the Golden Lions as four pitchers held Arkansas-Pine Bluff to four hits in the final six innings of play. Freshman right-hander Austin Hutchison (Jefferson County, Tenn.) earned his first collegiate win (1-0) as he pitched two scoreless frames, while Kameron Miller (Crestview, Fla.), Jared Burton (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Will Chesney (Knoxville, Tenn.) also saw action in relief. Burton has now held the opposition scoreless in his first five appearances, while Chesney has tossed six scoreless innings to start the campaign.
With the win, the Bucs snapped a two-game skid and improved to 3-3 on the young season, while the Golden Lions – who have faced Tulane, Oklahoma, and Auburn this year – suffered their eighth straight loss to start the season.
The Bucs exploded out of the gates early as the Blue and Gold capitalized on a pair of errors by Arkansas-Pine Bluff to take a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. ETSU scored its runs with two outs as Tritsch – who reached on a one-out single and stole second – scored when Phillips reached on a fielding error by Joshua Cassidy at third. As Phillips moved to second on the fielding blunder, the Buccaneer first baseman came around to score when Lasure reached on a throwing error by the Golden Lions’ pitcher to go ahead, 2-0. From there, Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) kept things going by recording a two-out single to center, while he and Lasure crossed the dish on Cook’s double to the gap in left-center, giving the Blue and Gold a four-run cushion before taking the field.
ETSU continued its scoring spree in the second when the Blue and Gold sustained their clutch two-out hitting by plating three runs to extend the lead to 7-0. The Bucs picked up a two-run scoring double from Phillips, while Lasure brought in the sophomore infielder with an RBI single to right.
The seven-run output proved to be enough offense for the Buccaneer pitchers to work with as the bullpen silenced Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s bats after the Golden Lions tagged ETSU starter Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) for two runs in the third and one more in the fourth. Two of the runs allowed by Krieg were unearned as a two-out fielding error by freshman second baseman Zach Mize (Gainesville, Ga.) resulted in Isias Alcantar crossing the plate, while a two-out fielding from Cook led to Cassidy scoring in the fourth.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff threatened in the fifth and sixth innings, but the ETSU bullpen worked its magic to get out of the jams unscathed.
The Golden Lions had the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth, but Hutchison got out the rough inning by inducing Rashawn Tillman into an inning-ending fly out to center. Then, an inning later, Arkansas-Pine Bluff had two on with only out, but Miller forced Mike Wieland to tap into a 1-6-3 double play to stop any scoring opportunity.
Following the threat by the Golden Lions, the Buccaneers held Arkansas-Pine Bluff to a pair of hits in the final three innings en route to cruising to the four-run victory.
Mikey Ramirez suffered the loss (0-1) for the Golden Lions as he allowed seven runs (three earned) on nine hits in five innings. At the plate, Cassidy had three of the eight hits for Pine Bluff he went 3-for-5 with a double and run scored.
The Blue and Gold wrap up play at the Tiger Classic Sunday afternoon when the Bucs take on tournament host Auburn at 3 p.m. from Plainsman Park.
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