JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 15, 2015) – Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) started it and Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) finished it.
After squandering a five-run lead in the top of the ninth, Thompson led off the bottom of the inning with a single and scored the game-winning run on Taylor’s walk-off hit up the middle lifting ETSU to an 11-10 win and a series sweep over Miami on Sunday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
Taylor’s hit was his only one of the game, while the Buccaneers totaled a season-high 18 hits – nine going for extra bases. Overall, eight ETSU batters registered a hit, while six Bucs posted multi-hit games.
Sophomore Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) led the way with a career-high four-hit day as he finished with two doubles, drove in two runs and scored a pair, while Thompson tied a career best with three hits (one triple) and scored two runs. Junior Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) capped off a solid weekend by going 3 for 5 with two doubles, one run and three RBI and freshman Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) posted two hits (one double) and drove in two Buccaneers. Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) extended his streak of reaching base safely to 17 games as he went 2 for 4 with two doubles, two runs and two RBI, while Danny Carrier (Cincinnati, Ohio) made his first collegiate start a memorable one. Carrier got the starting nod at short, belted his first collegiate home run and moved Thompson into scoring position with his sacrifice bunt in the ninth.
In total, Cook, York and Phillips – ETSU’s two through four hitters – combined to go 9 for 13 with six doubles, five runs and seven RBI.
Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) was in line for the win before Miami struck for five runs off freshman righty Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) in the ninth as the Buccaneer right-hander allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and struck out five in five innings of work. Unfortunately, after holding the RedHawks scoreless between the sixth and eighth innings, Simpler was charged with all five runs in the ninth, while Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) – who picked saves in the first two games – earned his first collegiate win after striking out Ryan Elble swinging to end the frame with the tying run on second.
Following the sweep, the Bucs – whose last walk-off win as last May over USC Upstate – improved to 10-7, while Miami dipped to 2-12.
ETSU fell behind early as Miami plated a pair of two-out runs in the first, but after being out-hit 23-11 in the first two games, the Bucs got things rolling on offense early and often to go ahead, 6-2 after two complete innings.
The Blue and Gold received clutch two-out hitting in the first as Cook scored the first run on Phillips’ RBI double, while he and Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) came home on Maher’s first two-bagger of the season. The doubles continued pouring in an inning later a Cook drove one to the left-center gap allowing Thompson and Taylor to score, while Phillips’ second double of the afternoon plated York – who reached on a five-pitch walk – putting the Blue and Gold up by four.
Miami quickly cut into ETSU’s lead when Adam Yacek’s three-run homer in the third made it a one run contest, but Carrier gave the Blue and Gold a little breathing room as he led off the fourth with his first career round-tripper, making it a 7-5 game.
After three innings of goose eggs being put up by both teams, the Bucs struck for three runs in the eighth, extending their lead to, 10-5. York brought in two runs when his double hugged the line in left, while he scored on an RBI single to right by Phillips.
The eighth-inning runs proved to be critical as the RedHawks had one last run in them in the top of the ninth.
Miami picked up a two-run home run by Chad Sedio, and with two outs and the bases loaded, Josh Jacques (Rollinsford, N.H.) surrendered a bases clearing double to pinch hitter Scott Slappey to tie the game at 10. Cate kept the game tied as he entered with the go-ahead run at second and struck out Ryan Elble swinging on three pitches.
Fortunately, the Bucs didn’t waste any time in the bottom of the inning and capped off the sweep. Thompson led off the frame with a single up the middle and quickly moved to second on Carrier’s sac-bunt. With one out and the winning run in scoring position, Taylor took the first pitch from Gus Graham up the middle for the walk-off hit as Thompson hustled home and beat the tag by Tommy Ricciardi at the plate.
Will Schierholz, who issued the leadoff hit to Thompson in the ninth, suffered the loss (0-1), while four RedHawk hitters finished with multi-hit games.
The Bucs embark on a six-game game road swing beginning Tuesday afternoon at Morehead State. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!
For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball page.