La Salle forces rubber match with 6-3 win over ETSU
La Salle forces rubber match with 6-3 win over ETSU
Saturday, March 10, 2012

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 10, 2012) – Dan Klem broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run home run in the fourth inning and the La Salle pitchers struck out 15 batters lifting the Explorers to a 6-3 win over ETSU in game two of the series on Saturday at Thomas Stadium.

Klem finished the afternoon a perfect 2-for-2 with a homer, two runs scored and two RBI. George Smith Jr. was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, while Joe Bennie also had two hits on the afternoon for La Salle.

Meanwhile, La Salle starting pitcher Kevin Christy (1-0) picked up his first win of the season after striking out nine batters in his six innings of work, while giving up just two runs on five hits. ETSU starter Will Carter (Johnson City, Tenn.) was charged with the loss after going four innings with four hits, three runs (two earned), two walks and three strikeouts.   

Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) were each 1-for-3 with an RBI to lead the Bucs at the plate. Scruggs hit his team-leading sixth home run of the year in the first inning.

After ETSU went up 1-0 on Scruggs’ home run, La Salle answered in the second inning on an RBI single by Smith Jr. With one out in the inning, Bennie reached on an error and Klem walked on four pitches to bring Smith Jr. to the plate with runners on first and second and only one-out. Smith Jr. belted the 0-1 pitch into center field to tie the game at 1-1.

The Explorers scored the go-ahead runs in the fourth as Marc Schoch led off the frame with a base-hit. After Schoch was sacrificed to second, Bennie singled up the middle, but Schoch was gunned down at the plate by Scruggs in center field. With two outs in the inning and Bennie standing on first, Klem delivered 2-0 offering from Carter just over the left field wall for his first homer of the season – giving La Salle a 3-1 lead.

ETSU got within one of the lead after scoring a run on three hits in the bottom half of the fourth. Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) got it started with a one-out single through the left side. Two batters later, Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) singled to center field to put runners on first and second with two-outs. Niesman stepped to the plate and delivered a clutch RBI single on a full count to make the score 3-2.

La Salle scored a run in the top of the seventh to extend its lead back to two at 4-2. Bennie led off the inning with a single and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt. Smith Jr. then reached on an error to score Bennie from second.

The Bucs answered once again as Niesman got the bottom half of the seventh inning started with a walk. Then, freshman Chris Riopedre (Cooper City, Fla.) delivered an opposite field base-hit on a 1-2 pitch – moving Niesman over to third. Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) came on to pitch hit and dropped down a sacrifice bunt to score Niesman from third. With just one-out in the inning, the Bucs were unable to push any other runs across.

Clinging to a one-run lead in the ninth inning, La Salle got two timely insurance runs off of ETSU relief pitcher Derek Bushey (Richmond, Va.) to take the 6-3 advantage. Brendan Norton ripped a bases loaded two-run double to left field – scoring Klem and Smith Jr.

Pat Christensen struck out five of the six batters he faced in the final two innings to earn his third save of the season.

The Bucs continue the weekend series against La Salle tomorrow with the rubber match beginning at 1:05 p.m. The Bucs will send sophomore Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) (0-1, 1.72 ERA) to the mound for his fourth start of the season.


-       Dylan Pratt has now reached base in all 12 games so far this season after his fourth inning base-hit.

-       Matthew Scruggs is now tied for the A-Sun lead in home runs at six with Nick Backlund of Mercer.

-       Scruggs has also now recorded at least one hit in 11 of 12 games this season.

-       After pitching two scoreless innings of relief, Jimmy Nesselt leads the staff in opponent’s batting average as opponents are hitting just .118 off of the freshman.

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