JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 3, 2015) – Freshman right-hander Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) tossed five scoreless innings in his first collegiate start and the Buccaneers scored six runs in the first two frames as head coach Tony Skole earned his 400th win at ETSU following a 9-1 victory over Radford on Tuesday at Thomas Stadium.
Seven hitters accounted for ETSU’s 13 hits as Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.), Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.), Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) all finished with multi-hit games for the Blue and Gold. Overall, the Bucs – who have outscored the opposition 21-7 over the last two games – posted their third consecutive game with double-digit hits.
A day after receiving his second Southern Conference Player of the Week honor, York continued to wreak havoc on opposing teams’ pitching as he went 3 for 3 with a home run, three runs and three RBI en route to extending his hit streak to nine straight games. Taylor and Cook both registered a pair of hits, while Phillips ended 3 for 4 with one run, two stolen bases and two RBI. Cook also scored four runs and swiped two bags.
Simpler (1-1) was magnificent in his first collegiate start as he held the Highlanders to three hits and struck out four to earn his first win. Logan Gentry (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Josh Jacques (Rollinsford, N.H.) both pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
With the win, ETSU improved to 7-2, marking its best nine-game start since the Bucs went 8-1 to open the 2005 campaign. Meanwhile, Skole – who is in his 16th season with the Bucs – is also in search of another milestone as he’s now five wins shy of his 500th career victory. Radford had its three-game win streak snapped and dipped to 5-5 on the campaign.
For the first time this season, ETSU put runs on the board in the first inning as the Bucs scored four runs on three hits and grabbed a 4-0 lead over the Highlanders. York generated the first RBI as his two-strike single to right brought home Cook from second, while York and Phillips scored on Hagen Owenby’s (Knoxville, Tenn.) double to left. Senior Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) capped off the offensive surge when his two-out single plated Owenby, giving Simpler a four-run cushion to work with on the mound.
The four runs proved to be more than enough for the Buccaneer pitching staff, but for added measure, the Blue and Gold tacked on a few extra insurance runs.
ETSU added to its lead an inning later as the Bucs took advantage of a pair of Radford errors and scratched across two unearned runs in the second, extending their lead to, 6-0. Phillips brought in Cook – who reached on an error by shortstop Chris Coia – with an RBI single to right, while York – who went to first on a catcher’s interference – sprinted home on Jordan Sanford’s (Powell, Tenn.) fielder’s choice RBI.
Following a scoreless third, the Blue and Gold were back at it again in the fourth inning, as York connected on his fifth home run of the year, giving ETSU an 8-0 lead. York took a 1-0 pitch from right-hander Austin Ross deep over the wall in left, allowing Cook – who led off with a single – to trot home on the round-tripper.
Phillips drove in his second run of the day when his two-out single to right plated Cook in the fifth, while Radford finally got on the board when Simon Palenchar scored on Brad Keen’s RBI ground out in the seventh, making it a 9-1 game.
Gentry and Jacques closed the door on the Highlanders as they combined for three strikeouts in the final two innings out of the pen.
Freshman lefty Zack Ridgely suffered the loss (0-1) as he was charged with four runs (two earned) on three hits in one inning of work.
Palenchar and Jimmy Brennan both finished with two-hit games, while the Highlanders totaled seven hits in the losing effort.
The Bucs wrap up midweek play on Wednesday as ETSU heads to Asheville for a 4 p.m. first pitch versus the Bulldogs at Greenwood Field.
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