JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 28, 2015) – ETSU senior Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) loves pitching in front of the home crowd and it definitely showed on Saturday.
The Buccaneer right-hander allowed one run in eight innings and retired 22 of the final 24 hitters he faced to help guide ETSU to a 4-1 win over Butler in the first game of a doubleheader at Thomas Stadium. The Blue and Gold were unable to secure the sweep as the Bulldogs finished off the nightcap with a 9-3 victory, forcing a rubber match on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Nesselt, who improved to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.80 after three starts this season, is now 6-0 with a 2.65 ERA in his last six starts at Thomas Stadium. Coming off a career-high 10-strikeout performance in his last stint versus UNC Asheville, Nesselt registered nine more punch outs on Saturday and held Butler to four hits.
The Buccaneer hurler was rewarded with two runs in the fifth and seventh innings to help secure the win, while it was ETSU’s top of the order that fueled the offensive spark. Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.), Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) combined to go 6 for 10 with four doubles, three runs and four RBI. The trio all finished with two hits each, while Cook and York drove in two runs apiece. York registered a pair of doubles and Taylor swiped two bases.
However, after silencing the Bulldogs in game one, Butler’s offense came alive in game two as they pounded out 12 hits – six for extra bases – and evened the series with the six-run victory.
Following the split, ETSU had its brief three-game win streak snapped and moved to 5-2 on the year.
GAME ONE RECAP
Jimmy Nesselt tossed eight innings of one-run ball, while the Bucs scored a pair of runs in the fifth and seventh innings as ETSU downed Butler, 4-1, in game one of its doubleheader.
Nesselt, who retired 22 of the final 24 hitters he faced, improved to 2-0 by allowing just one run on four hits in eight dominating innings. The senior right-hander struck out nine and walked none.
Jeremy Taylor, Chris Cook and Trey York provided the spark offensively as recorded six of ETSU’s nine hits. All three players finished with two hits each, while Cook and York drove in two runs. York registered a pair of doubles and Taylor stole two bases.
The Bucs, who squandered scoring opportunities in the first four innings, gave Nesselt all the offense he needed by plating a pair of two-out runs in the fifth and grabbed a 2-0 lead. Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) led off the inning with a single, and after moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor, Cook drove in the first run with a two-out single through the left side. From there, Cook stole second and hustled home on York’s double to left.
ETSU added insurance runs in the seventh as Taylor, Cook and York all recorded two-out doubles to make it a 4-0 score.
After surrendering a pair of two out singles to Butler in the first, Nesselt zoned in and retired 19 consecutive Bulldog hitters – eight via the punch out – until Tyler Houston led off the eighth inning with a home run to right. Nesselt wasn’t fazed by the long ball as he retired three of the next four Butler hitters he faced, and turned the ball over to Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) in the ninth for his first collegiate save. Cate hit the first batter he faced, but induced Ryan Wojciechowski to hit into a game-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Butler starter Jeff Schank took the loss (0-3) as he was tagged for two runs on six hits in six innings.
ETSU outhit the Bulldogs, 9-4, while five hits went for extra bases.
GAME TWO RECAP
Butler snapped a tie game by plating two runs in the sixth and added four more in the ninth as the Bulldogs evened the series with a 9-3 win over ETSU in the nightcap.
Six of Butler’s 12 hits went for doubles, while eight of its nine runs came with two outs.
Designated hitter Ryan Wojciechowski went 3 for 5 with two doubles and two RBI, while Tyler Houston scored three runs and also posted a double. Starter Chris Myjak held ETSU to two runs in seven innings to help Butler (1-8) earn its first win of the season.
Junior Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) suffered the loss (2-1) as he allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings of work, while Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) went 2 for 4 with a double, home run and scored two runs.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a two-out, two-run scoring single by Gehrig Parker in the second inning, but Phillips cut ETSU’s deficit in half as he belted his second home run of the year to leadoff the bottom half of the frame.
Phillips again did damage in the fourth as he led things off with a double and later scored the tying run on Robby McCabe’s (New Port Richey, Fla.) RBI ground out to short.
Unfortunately, the Blue and Gold could never pull ahead, as Butler got a two-out RBI double by Mike Kseniak and an RBI single by Parker to regain a 4-2 lead in the sixth.
The Bulldogs added a run in the seventh on a double by Wojciechowski, and Butler capped off its scoring by registering four straight two-out doubles in the ninth to extend the lead to seven, 9-2.
ETSU scored its final run on an RBI single by McCabe in the ninth, but with two outs and the bases loaded, Josh Goldberg forced Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) to hit into a game-ending grounder to short. Four of the Bucs’ 10 hits came in their final inning.
Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) and Zach Thompson both finished with two-hit games, while McCabe drove in two of ETSU’s three runs.
Sunday’s rubber match is set for 1:05 p.m. as ETSU junior right-hander Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) faces Butler lefty Nick Morton.
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