KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (March 10, 2015) – Despite holding a one-run lead in the sixth, the ETSU baseball team couldn’t hold on as Tennessee plated two runs in the bottom of the inning and tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth to rally past Buccaneers, 5-2, on Tuesday night at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
ETSU freshman catcher Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) drove in the two runs for the Buccaneers, while junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) extended his streak of reaching base safely to 14 straight games following his 2 for 3 day. York scored both of ETSU’s runs and also doubled in the sixth.
Freshman right-hander Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) was stellar in his second collegiate start but suffered the loss (1-2) as he was charged with three runs on six hits and struck out four in 5.1 innings.
The Blue and Gold have now lost five straight and moved to 7-7 on the year, while Tennessee – who was swept by ETSU a year ago – improved to 7-5.
For the fourth time this season, ETSU jumped out to the lead as the Bucs scored an unearned run in the first inning and led, 1-0. With two outs, York reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error by pitcher Hunter Martin. From there, York moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI single to center by Owenby.
Simpler was solid as he faced one over the minimum through four innings, but Tennessee answered with a run in the fifth to pull even at one. Nathaniel Maggio led off the frame with a single to left and moved to third when David Houser ripped a one-out double to left-center. With one out and runners in scoring position, Brett Langhorne laid down the squeeze bunt to score Maggio from third, but Simpler kept Houser stranded by striking out Brodie Leftridge swinging to end the inning.
The Bucs quickly responded in the top of the sixth as York led off with a double and later scored the go-ahead run on Owenby’s sac-fly to right, putting ETSU back up by a run; however, Tennessee scratched across a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to take its first lead of the night, 3-2. Vincent Jackson led off the bottom of the sixth with a double and moved to third when A.J. Simcox reached on a bunt single back to the mound. Jackson scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly to center by Nick Senzel, forcing the Bucs to make a pitching change as Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.) took over for Simpler. Unfortunately, McCann walked the three UT hitters he faced, putting the Vols up by a run after Andrew Lee was credited an RBI following his bases loaded walk. However, Kain Hewitt (Gainesville, Ga.) replaced McCann and did a tremendous job working out of the mess as he struck out Houser swinging and forced Langhorne into an inning-ending line out to short.
Despite keeping it a one-run game, the Bucs were unable to force a comeback as Tennessee scored two runs in the eighth to extend its lead to, 5-2. Christin Stewart belted a one-out solo home run to right and Lee drove in Chris Hall with an RBI single to center.
Tennessee reliever Steven Kane earned the win (2-1) as he allowed one run on three hits in two innings, while Lee tossed the final two innings to pick up his second save. Lee struck out four in two scoreless innings.
Maggio led the Vols with his three-hit night, while Tennessee out-hit the Bucs, 9-6.
The Bucs return to action this weekend as ETSU hosts Miami (Ohio) in a three-game series beginning Friday night at 6:05 p.m. at Thomas Stadium.
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