JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 1, 2015) – Freshman Kain Hewitt (Gainesville, Ga.) tossed five scoreless innings out the bullpen and junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) belted a three-run home run in the seventh, which ignited ETSU’s late rally as the Buccaneers scored 12 unanswered runs en route to claiming the series with a 12-6 win over Butler on Sunday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
Despite falling behind 6-0 after two and a half innings play, the Blue and Gold buckled down and slowly chipped away at their deficit. ETSU plated one run in the third and fourth innings, and after Hewitt shut down Butler’s offensive attack, the Bucs rewarded the rookie right-hander with the late surge to secure his first collegiate win on the mound.
The game shifted in the bottom of the seventh as York’s two-out, three-run bomb to left-center pulled ETSU within a run, and the Bucs opened the flood gates an inning later as the Blue and Gold struck for seven runs on eight hits while sending 13 hitters to plate. Freshman Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) led off the eighth inning with a double and scored the tying on Robby McCabe’s (New Port Richey, Fla.) one-out double to left, while red-shirt senior Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) executed a squeeze play to perfection as his bunt single back to the pitcher plated McCabe, resulting in the game-winning run. For good measure, the Bucs added five more runs in the inning to build the six-run cushion.
As a team, ETSU pounded out a season-high 17 hits, marking the most since posting 21 against UNC Asheville on March 13, 2013. Every Buccaneer starter recorded a hit as Owenby and senior Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) led the way with three-hit games. Owenby finished with a double and two RBI. York, who registered two hits, belted his fourth homer of the year and drove in four runs, while sophomore Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) went 2 for 5 with one triple, two runs and two RBI. York also extended his hit streak to eight straight games. McCabe and Tucker totaled two hits and junior Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) reached base three times – one double, two walks, and a run scored.
Hewitt (1-0) ended with three strikeouts and allowed one hit in five innings, while junior right-hander Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) picked up a no-decision. Krieg was tagged for six runs on five hits and struck out four in three innings, while red-shirt freshman Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) pitched the ninth.
Following its third straight weekend series win, ETSU improved to 6-2, while Butler has now dropped nine of its first 10 to start the season.
The Bulldogs used the long ball to build their early lead as Chris Marras belted a two-run home run to right field in the top of the first and Ryan Wojciechowski capped off a four-run third with a three-run homer to left field, putting Butler ahead, 6-0.
With its back against the wall, ETSU kept its composure and stayed within striking thanks to Hewitt’s dominance on the mound.
Owenby put the Blue and Gold on the board with two-out RBI single up the middle in the third, while McCabe – who led off the fourth inning with a single – scored on Tucker’s double play ground out, making it a 6-2 game.
After both teams were held without a run in the fifth and sixth innings, ETSU inched closer as York’s three-run, two-out blast in the seventh made it a 6-5 score.
York’s round-tripper fueled the comeback win as the Bucs tortured Butler’s pitching an inning later and grabbed their first lead of the afternoon thanks to the seven-run frame. Owenby and McCabe began the rally with key doubles, while with one out and runners on the corners, Tucker’s bunt hit rolled in front of the plate and Butler pitcher Peter Nyznyk had trouble fielding the roller as McCabe slid home for the go-ahead run. The Blue and Gold continued to pile it on after the eventual game-winning play as Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) followed with an RBI double and scored on Cook’s two-run scoring triple to left-center. From there, York drove in his fourth run of the day as his sac-fly to deep right brought in Cook, while Owenby capped off the scoring when his single plated Phillips – who reached via a double to left.
Cate loaded the bases in the ninth but worked out of the jam as Taylor made a spectacular diving catch in center to end the game.
Kyle Allen took the loss (0-2) for the Bulldogs as he allowed two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, while starter Nick Morton issued five runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings of work.
Wojciechowski and Marras provided the homers for Butler, while Drew Small recorded two of the seven hits for the Bulldogs. Small went 2 for 3 with two walks and scored two runs.
The Bucs wrap up their four-game homestand Tuesday afternoon as ETSU hosts Radford at 3:05 p.m.
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