JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 16, 2015) – Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) had a Senior Day for the ages.
The Buccaneer outfielder entered the final week of regular season play without a collegiate home run, but Thompson belted three home runs in four games this week – including two in the final home game of his career – en route to lifting ETSU to a 12-5 series-clinching win over Wofford in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader at Thomas Stadium. In game one, Thompson’s two-run scoring triple in the bottom of the eighth pulled the Bucs even at nine, but Matt Ramsay’s solo home run in the top of the ninth carried the Terriers to a 10-9 victory.
For the doubleheader, Thompson went 3-for-8 with one triple, two home runs, two runs scored, six RBI and slugged 1.375, while fellow senior Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) was 2-for-4 with two walks and two RBI on Saturday. In addition to the pair of seniors, freshman Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) was 5-for-7 with two doubles, one home run, four runs scored and five RBI in the two games for the Blue and Gold.
As a team, ETSU hit .329 (24-73) with four doubles, one triple, four home runs and 20 RBI, while scoring 21 runs in the pair of games on Saturday.
Prior to the start of the doubleheader, Thompson, Sanford, Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) and Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) were honored in a pregame Senior Day ceremony.
The Bucs rewarded the four seniors with a series win; marking the fifth time in the last six years ETSU has won its final home series of the season.
Overall, ETSU ended the regular season at 21-34, 8-16 in SoCon play, and the Blue and Gold now turn their attention to postseason play. The ninth-seeded Bucs travel to Charleston, S.C., to take on eighth-seeded Citadel in the Southern Conference Championship play-in game on Tuesday, May 19 at 10 a.m., at Riley Park. The winner of Tuesday’s game gets regular season champion and top-seeded Mercer at 5 p.m., on Wednesday.
GAME TWO RECAP
Zach Thompson hit two home runs and drove in three runs and Hagen Owenby went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI as ETSU cruised to a series-clinching 12-5 win over Wofford.
The Bucs scored seven runs in the first three innings and ETSU put the game out of reach with a five-run seventh, while sophomore southpaw Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.) earned the win. McCann (2-0) allowed three runs on five hits, while striking out three in five innings of work.
Joining Thompson and Owenby with multi-hit games were juniors Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.). Taylor, who extended his streak of reaching base safely to 30 straight games, went 2-for-5 with a run scored, and Phillips was 2-for-3 with one double, three runs, two walks and one RBI. Owenby also scored two runs, while junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) joined Thompson with a long ball as he recorded his ninth home run in the seventh inning.
In total, six of ETSU’s 12 hits went for extra bases in the seven-run win – three doubles and three home runs.
Despite having Wofford plate a run in the first inning, the Bucs responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame as Phillips and Sanford provided RBI singles, and Owenby came through with the first of two run-scoring doubles, giving the Blue and Gold a 3-1 lead.
The Terriers pulled within a run on Conor Clancey’s RBI ground out in the third, but like they did in the first, ETSU answered in the bottom of the inning by plating four runs on three hits and two errors, extending its lead to, 7-2. York and Phillips both reached to start the inning and Owenby drove both runs in with a ground-rule double to center, while the freshman catcher came home on Christian Bailey’s (Kingsport, Tenn.) RBI ground out to third. From there, Thompson capped off the big inning with a solo shot to left-center, giving McCann a five-run cushion.
Wofford plated solo runs in the fifth and sixth innings to inch within three; however, the Blue and Gold came through with their four-run seventh to put things out of reach, 12-4. York sparked the offensive surge with a leadoff home run, while Thompson’s three-run bomb to right-center capped off the explosive frame.
Junior right-hander Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to six straight after striking out two of the four hitters he faced in the ninth inning to finish the game.
Wofford starter Adam Scott suffered the loss (7-4) as he was tagged with seven runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings.
Offensively, Alec Paradowski and James Plaisted combined for four of the Terriers’ six hits. Paradowski was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Plaisted went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
GAME ONE RECAP
After spotting Wofford a 6-0 lead through the first four and a half innings, ETSU rallied and eventually tied the game at nine in the bottom of the eighth; however, Matt Ramsay’s ninth-inning solo home run spoiled the comeback as the Terriers held on for a 10-9 victory in game one.
Seven Buccaneers accounted for their 12 hits, while Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) paced the Blue and Gold with three hits. Hagen Owenby reached four times as he went 2-for-4 with a home run, two walks, two runs and two RBI, while Jeremy Taylor and Christian Bailey also recorded two hits in the setback.
Freshman right-hander Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) got the start and picked up a no-decision after issuing five runs on six hits in four innings, and junior righty Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) was charged with the loss. Krieg (2-8) surrendered the home run to Ramsay in the ninth.
After being unable to secure his SoCon-leading 16th save, Will Stillman picked up the win (1-0) as he held ETSU scoreless for the final 1.2 innings and struck out three.
The Terriers plated two runs in the second and James Plaisted drove in the next four Wofford runs in the third and fifth innings. Plaisted ripped a three-run homer in the third before putting the Terriers up 6-0 following his fielder’s choice RBI ground out in the fifth.
However, the Bucs started chipping away their deficit by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth, making it a 6-4. Cook, Owenby and Bailey all provided the Blue and Gold with RBI singles, while Phillips – who walked earlier in the inning – scored on a wild pitch.
Wofford answered with a three-run sixth en route to pushing its lead to five, 9-4, but again the Bucs continued to fight.
Owenby got things rolling with a solo home run in the seventh, while a four-run eighth tied the game at nine as Thompson’s two-run scoring triple to left-center plated the tying runs.
Unfortunately, Ramsay came through with his second homer of the year as he took a 3-1 pitch from Krieg over the wall in left, resulting in the game-winning hit, while Stillman struck out the side in the ninth to secure the 10-9 victory.
Like the Bucs, Wofford finished with 12 hits in the opener as Ramsay fueled the charge with a three-hit game and Plaisted drove in four of the 10 runs.
The Terriers, who entered the weekend with a chance of winning a regular season championship, dipped to 36-20, 13-10, and have lost 12 of their last 16 to ETSU.
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