MOREHEAD, Ky. (March 17, 2015) – Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) and Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) both belted three-run home runs, while Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.) put ETSU ahead for good with a two-run single in the ninth inning, as ETSU rallied from a seven-run deficit to defeat Morehead State, 17-14, on Tuesday at Allen Field.
In a game that featured 31 total runs on 41 hits, ETSU (11-7) survived the slugfest en route to extending its win streak to four games. Overall, the Bucs, who have totaled 41 hits in their last two contests, finished with a season-high 23, marking the most hits since registering 24 in a 22-4 win over Stetson on May 21, 2010.
Cook, Phillips and Lasure combined to drive in 12 of ETSU’s 17 runs, while eight Buccaneers finished with multi-hit games.
Cook, who gave the Bucs their first lead of the game (12-11) with his homer in the seventh, went 3 for 6 and drove in a career-high five RBI – the most by an ETSU player since Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) had six RBI back on April 6, 2013 in a 12-9 win at Northern Kentucky. Lasure tied a career best with three hits and drove in a career-high four runs, while Phillips went 4 for 6 with three runs and three RBI. Phillips’ four hits marked a new career high for the St. Louis, Mo., native, while he moved past Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) for the team-lead in home runs with six. York extended his streak of reaching base safely to 18 straight games by going 2 for 5 with two doubles, two runs and two RBI and Danny Carrier (Cincinnati, Ohio) reached base five times in the comeback win. Carrier totaled a career-high three hits, scored three runs and walked twice, while Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) also ended with a career-high three hits (two doubles). Freshman Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) had two hits and scored a run, while junior Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) was the fourth Buccaneer to notch three hits. Taylor also walked, scored twice and drove in two runs.
Red-shirt freshman Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.), who picked up two saves and a win in the weekend sweep over Miami (Ohio), earned his second straight winning decision (2-1) as he tossed the final 1.2 innings. The Buccaneer right-hander didn’t allow a hit and struck out two. Cate was one of seven pitchers used by the Blue and Gold in a game that lasted three hours and fifty minutes.
The Bucs, who put their first two hitters on to start the game, were held scoreless in the top of the first and Morehead State grabbed a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the inning – highlighted by Kain Sweeney’s three-run home run to right-center.
ETSU plated a run in the second as Tucker ripped a two-out double to right-center and scored on Lasure’s single to center, but the Eagles scratched across a pair of runs in the bottom half and led, 6-1.
The offense continued in the third as the Blue and Gold pushed across three runs on four hits in the top of the inning, making it a 6-4 game. York got things rolling as he was hit by a pitch with one out and later scored when Owenby reached on an infield single to first and Sweeney’s throw to pitcher Tyler Keele was high, resulting in York to come home. With one out and runners on corners, Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) drove in Phillips, who reached earlier on a single to center, with a sacrifice fly, while the duo of Tucker and Lasure capped off the scoring. Tucker put down a bunt single to third and sprinted home on Lasure’s single up the middle.
Morehead State got a pair of two-out RBI in the fourth and added three more in the fifth, pushing its lead to, 11-4.
However, the Blue and Gold continued to hack away and used the long ball to rally back from their largest deficit of the campaign.
The Bucs combined for eight runs on seven hits between the sixth and seventh innings – featured by Phillips’ blast to left in the sixth and Cook’s homer to center in the seventh – en route to giving ETSU its first lead of the game, 12-11.
The Blue and Gold were unable to keep a grip on their one-run lead as the Eagles scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to pull even at 12. Ryan Kent was hit by a pitch to start the inning and he scored on Sweeney’s one-out double to left-center, but ETSU did a solid job getting out of the jam. Following a single to Brandon Rawe, Sweeney was tagged out at the plate as he tried to score on a wild pitch, while Josh Jacques (Rollinsford, N.H.) induced Nick Newell into an inning-ending ground out to short.
The defensive plays continued an inning later; however, this time it favored Morehead State. Tucker led off with a double to left, but he was gunned down at third as he tried to tag up after Lasure was robbed of a hit in center for the second out of the frame. ETSU responded following the blunder, as Carrier ripped a two-out single to left and Taylor walked, while Cook delivered with a two-out, two-run scoring double to left, putting the Bucs back ahead, 14-12.
Again, the Eagles answered with two runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie it at 14. Kent doubled home a run and Chris Robinson’s sac-fly to deep right-center plated the tying run in Braxton Morris.
Fortunately, the Blue and Gold had more gas in the tank as ETSU roughed up the Eagles for three ninth-inning runs and never relinquished its lead. With one out and the bases loaded, Lasure sent a 1-2 pitch to left, allowing Phillips and Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) to score. For added measure, Taylor drove in his second run as Tucker came in on his fielder’s choice grounder to short.
Cate silenced Morehead State’s bats in the ninth as he held the Eagles scoreless to wrap up the game. Cate’s scoreless inning was just the third time Morehead State was held without a run on the night.
Cable Wright took the loss (0-1) as he was charged with four runs on three hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning.
Morehead State’s nine starters posted a hit as the Eagles finished with 18 for the game. Robinson, Sweeney and Rawe all totaled three hits in the losing effort.
The Eagles dropped to 10-7 following the three-run setback.
The Bucs begin Southern Conference play this weekend as ETSU opens a three-game series at Mercer Friday night at 6 p.m.
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