JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 13, 2015) – Senior Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings, while junior Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) drove in four runs – including a two-run home run in the third – as ETSU snapped its five-game losing streak with a 7-5 series-opening win over Miami on Friday night at Thomas Stadium.
Nesselt, who registered then a career-best 10 strikeouts against Asheville last month, is now 7-0 with a 3.10 ERA (17 ER/49.1 IP) with 52 strikeouts in his last eight starts at Thomas Stadium. The senior leader also improved his mark to 3-0 on the campaign after holding the RedHawks to three runs on eight hits and has now struck out 42 in 32.0 innings work this season. Nesselt’s 12 strikeouts were three shy of tying the program-record, which was set by former ETSU pitching coach Reid Casey on Feb. 23, 2001 against Xavier.
As Nesselt was mowing down Miami’s hitters, Phillips came through with clutch hits as his two-out double in the first put the Bucs ahead, 1-0, while his two-out, two-run home run in the third gave ETSU another one-run lead, 3-2. The RedHawks pulled even with a run in the fourth, but the Blue and Gold took the lead for good when Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Phillips registered consecutive sacrifice flies in the fifth.
Despite being out-hit, 13-6, the Bucs executed when they needed to as Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) reached base three times and scored three runs, while York extended his streak of reaching base safely to 15 straight games following a walk in the seventh.
Nesselt received a huge pick-me-up in the eighth.
After Kain Hewitt (Gainesville, Ga.) allowed the first four hitters to reach, Josh Jacques (Rollinsford, N.H.) entered into a bases loaded jam, but the junior southpaw induced Steve Sada into an infield fly while following that up with consecutive strikeouts – keeping ETSU’s lead intact, 6-4.
The Blue and Gold added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning as Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) led off the eighth with his third walk of the night and scored on Daniel Tucker’s (Hendersonville, Tenn.) two-out single to center.
Miami pushed a run across in the ninth, but with the tying run at the plate, red-shirt freshman right-hander Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) got an outstanding diving catch by Taylor in center to end the game, resulting in his second save of the season.
Miami starter Ryan Powers – a 22nd round draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014 – suffered the loss (1-4) as he allowed six runs on five hits and walked five in 6.2 innings.
Max Andresen, Jake Romano and Scott Slappey combined for eight of the RedHawks’ 13 hits. Andresen and Romano finished with three hits and Slappey posted a two-hit night.
Following the win, ETSU moved to 8-7 on the season, while Miami – the reigning Mid-American East champs – dipped to 2-10.
Saturday’s game time has been moved up to 1:05 p.m. as right-hander Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) gets the ball for ETSU and righty Jacob Banks goes for Miami.
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