JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 6, 2015) – The ETSU baseball team put on an offensive clinic Wednesday night at Thomas Stadium.
The Buccaneers scored runs in the first six innings and junior right-hander Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) allowed one run in five innings of work, as ETSU defeated Winthrop, 15-5, marking its first win over the Eagles in program history.
Nine Buccaneers accounted for their 21 hits as Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) and Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) totaled four hits each, while Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.), Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.), Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Christian Bailey (Kingsport, Tenn.) also finished with multi-hit games.
Sanford, who is hitting .487 (10-39) over his last 11 games and has 10 hits in his last three, tied a career high with a 4-hit night and extended his streak of reaching base to 21 consecutive games. The Powell, Tenn. native belted his third home run of the season in the third inning and also tied a career high with three RBI. Meanwhile, Thompson set a new career best with his 4-hit performance and scored two runs.
ETSU’s bottom of the lineup produced all night as the six-thru-nine hitters combined to go 13-for-21 with eight runs scored and five RBI. Joining in on the offensive outburst were Bailey and Maher. Bailey’s night consisted of three hits, two runs and an RBI, while Maher was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. Bailey registered his second straight multi-hit game and now has four in 12 starts this season, and Maher collected his ninth multi-hit game of the campaign.
York continued swinging his hot bat as he posted his third straight three-hit game and connected on his eighth home run of the year in the fourth inning, while Phillips finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and drove in his 100th career run on a fielder’s choice RBI in the fifth inning. York also drove in three runs and scored twice, and fellow junior Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) pushed his streak of reaching base safely to 23 straight contests. Taylor reached three times (walk, single and hit by pitch) and scored two runs.
On the mound, Haeberle earned his team-leading fifth victory of the year as he held the Eagles scoreless after surrendering a two-out solo home run to Anthony Paulsen in the top of the first. The Hendersonville, Tenn. native scattered five hits, walked one and struck out five, while Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.), Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) and Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) all saw duty in relief. McCann pitched two innings of one-run ball and struck out two and Nesselt tossed a scoreless ninth to finish the night. Cate allowed three hits and issued three-run homer to Babe Thomas in the eighth.
ETSU improved to 19-29 with the win, snapping an eight-game losing streak to the Eagles as the visitors from Rock Hill, S.C., entered the night with an 8-0 series lead against the Blue and Gold. The Bucs have now won back-to-back games and four of their last five at Thomas Stadium, while Winthrop – who had won 10 straight games prior to falling to Furman last Tuesday – moved to 32-16.
After allowing the home run to Paulsen in the first, the Bucs scored 15 unanswered runs until an RBI ground out by Brad Kaczka ended the surge in the seventh, making it a 15-2 score.
The Blue and Gold stormed out of the gates by scoring five first-inning runs as ETSU sent 10 hitters to the plate and got RBIs from York (single), Sanford (single), and Maher (2-RBI single), while Phillips – who was hit in the back earlier in the frame – scored on a passed ball. The five runs were the most first-inning runs scored this season by the Bucs, while they have now scored in the opening frame in five consecutive games.
For the second straight inning, York drove in a run when his RBI single up the middle scored Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) – who extended his hit streak to 10 games with a lead-off single to right in the second – while Sanford led off the third inning with his home down the line in left and Maher later scored on a passed ball, pushing ETSU’s lead to seven, 8-1.
York continued playing havoc on Winthrop’s pitching staff by driving an 0-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for his solo blast in the fourth, and the Bucs combined for six runs in the fifth and sixth innings to cap off the blitzkrieg.
In the fifth, Cook plated Thompson on a sacrifice fly RBI and Phillips scored Bailey on his fielder’s choice RBI. An inning later, Bailey and Phillips both had RBI singles, while Cook’s bases loaded walk brought in Thompson, and Taylor – who was hit by pitch – scored on a wild pitch, resulting in the 15 unanswered runs.
Winthrop starter Zach Sightler suffered the loss (5-2) as he was tagged with five runs on three hits and walked two in one-third of an inning. In total, the Eagles – who entered the night with a team ERA of 3.86 – used seven pitchers on the night.
Offensively, Winthrop collected 11 hits as Kaczka finished with a team-best three hits and Paulsen and Thomas added two of their own.
As a team, the Blue and Gold have recorded double-digit hits in three straight games, totaling 50 during this stretch. The 15 runs and 21 hits were the second-most posted by the Bucs this season.
The Bucs return to Southern Conference play this weekend as ETSU opens a three-game set at The Citadel Friday night at 6 p.m.
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