JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 14, 2015) – Despite being out-hit for the second straight game, ETSU junior first baseman Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) delivered the biggest one of the afternoon for the Buccaneers.
Phillips’ three-run, two-out home run in the bottom of the seventh snapped a tie game en route to lifting ETSU to a 6-5 series-clinching victory over Miami on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
The home run was Phillips’ second of the series and fourth of the year, while it was also his only hit of the game. Meanwhile, fellow junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) registered his 10th multi-hit game of the year as he went 2 for 3 with two RBI and has now reached base safely in all 15 games this season.
Junior right-hander Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) bounced back to give the Blue and Gold a quality start after allowing three runs on six hits and struck out four in six innings. Sophomore southpaw Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.) earned the win (1-0) and worked out of a one-out bases loaded jam to keep things tied at three in the seventh. After allowing a pair of runs and putting the game-tying run on second in the ninth, Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) replaced McCann, and the Buccaneer right-hander picked up his third save of the year as he struck out pinch hitter Brooks Urich looking to end the game.
ETSU picked up its fourth weekend series win of the season and improved to 9-7, while Miami suffered its sixth straight loss and dipped to 2-11.
After dropping a heartbreaker in Friday’s series opener, the RedHawks plated runs in the first two innings and grabbed an early 2-0 lead as Chad Sedio belted one-out solo home run to left in the first and Scott Slappey drove in Jake Romano – who ripped a one-out double to left – with an RBI single to right in the second.
However, the Bucs capitalized on Miami’s poor fielding in the third as the RedHawks committed two of their four errors in the fame and ETSU pulled even at two. Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) led off with a single to right and was called safe at second after Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) hit a bouncer to the right side, but Sedio was called off the bag on the force play, resulting in runners on first and second with one out. The Bucs loaded the bases when Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) hit a chopper to third and Slappey was charged with an error as his throw to second was wide of the bag. With one out and the bases full of Bucs, York delivered a two-RBI single to right to tie the game.
From there, both starting pitchers settled in as the right-handers tossed scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth, but RedHawk catcher Max Andresen led off the sixth with a triple and Miami regained the lead as he scored on an RBI ground out by Ryan Elble.
Fortunately, the RedHawk fielding woes continued in the bottom of the inning as York led off with a single and advanced to third on a fielding error by Kendall Johnson at first. With one out and runners on the corners, Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) tapped one back to the mound, but Jacob Banks airmailed his throw to the plate and York tied it a three.
Following McCann’s heroics in the top of the seventh as he worked out of a one-out bases load situation, Phillips came through with the biggest hit of the game as his laser shot down the line in left stayed fair and put the Bucs ahead, 6-3.
Miami didn’t go down without a fight as the RedHawks pushed two across in the ninth, but with two outs and the tying run at second, Cate got the strikeout to end the game and clinch the series win.
Banks (1-4) took the loss for Miami as he was charged with four runs (two earned) on four hits in 6.2 innings of work, while Will Schierholz surrendered the three-run bomb to Phillips.
The RedHawks – who out-hit ETSU, 10-5 – were led by Sedio’s three-hit game, while he and four other Miami hitters accounted for the RBI.
Sunday’s series finale is set for 1:05 p.m., as junior right-hander Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) will try to give the Bucs their first three-game series sweep since taking three from USC Upstate last May.
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