CHARLESTON, S.C. (May 9, 2015) – After belting four home runs in the series opener, The Citadel connected on four more Saturday as the Bulldogs rallied to a 12-8 series-clinching win over ETSU at Riley Park.
The Buccaneers took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but Connor Walsh – who hit two home runs on Friday night – sparked the comeback by connecting on a two-run homer to center, while Mike Deese and Drew Ellis both went yard in a six-run sixth inning to seal the victory.
Senior right-hander Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) suffered the loss (4-6) as he allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits, while striking out five and walking three in five-plus innings of work. Citadel left-hander Kevin Connell earned the win (2-1) as he pitched three innings of three-run ball in relief.
Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.), Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) and Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) all finished with multi-hit games, while Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) pushed his hit streak to 12 games following a two-run scoring single in a three-run fourth inning. Taylor also extended his pair of streaks as he has reached safely in 25 straight games and moved his hit streak to nine after going 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. Phillips also finished with three hits (two doubles), one run and two RBI, while Owenby went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. In addition, senior Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) kept his streak of reaching base safely alive (23 straight games) after earning a pair of walks.
ETSU, who was looking to improving on its SoCon Tournament seeding this weekend, dipped to 19-31, 6-14, and The Citadel moved to 22-26, 7-13.
The Blue and Gold grabbed an early lead as Taylor led off the contest with a double to left-center and ETSU used small ball to bring home the speedy outfielder. Cook laid down a sacrifice bunt and Phillips’ RBI ground out scored Taylor, making it a 1-0 game.
The lead was short-lived as Citadel left fielder Austin Mapes took the first pitch he saw from Nesselt over the wall in left-center in the bottom of the inning, while the Buccaneer right-hander worked out of a jam to keep the game tied at one. With runners on the corners, Nesselt struck out Steven Hansen looking to end the frame.
After ETSU left the bases loaded in the top of the second and the Bulldogs had a runner stranded at third in the bottom of the inning, the Bucs went ahead 2-1 in the third. Phillips ripped a double down the line in left and scored on Owenby’s one-out RBI single to right; however, just like the first inning The Citadel quickly pulled even in the bottom of the third. Johnathan Stokes led off the frame with a single, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by Owenby and scored an unearned run on a sac-fly by Stephen Windham.
The seesaw game continued in the top of the fourth as the Blue and Gold plated three runs on four hits to regain a 5-2 lead. Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Christian Bailey (Kingsport, Tenn.) registered consecutive singles to start the frame, while Taylor reached on a sac-bunt when second baseman Jacob Watcher dropped the throw from third baseman William Kinney on the play. From there, the Bulldogs made the call to the bullpen and Cook extended his hit streak as he sent one back up the middle for a two-run scoring single. Cook was then caught stealing, but stayed in a run down long enough for Taylor to score from third.
The Citadel continued using the long ball to rally back as Walsh belted his third home run of the series in the fifth – a two-run wind-aided homer to center – while Deese and Ellis both left the yard in a six-run sixth, putting the Bulldogs up, 10-5.
The Bulldogs got a two-run scoring single by Mapes in the seventh, while ETSU plated three in the ninth but couldn’t cap off the comeback as Skylar Hunter entered out of the pen to record the final two outs. Phillips (single) and Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) both drove in runs in the ninth and Cook scored on a throwing error by second baseman Bret Hines.
Four Bulldogs finished with multi-hit games as The Citadel out-hit ETSU, 14-12. Mapes, Stokes, Windham and Ryan Kilgallen all posted two hits each.
The Bucs and Bulldogs wrap up the series on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. The game time has been moved up due to Tropical Storm Ana expected to make landfall on Sunday afternoon.
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