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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 31, 2015) – Morehead State scored eight fourth-inning runs – highlighted by Brandon Rawe’s grand slam – and the Eagles soared past ETSU, 16-9, on Tuesday night at Thomas Stadium.
The Bucs, who outscored Morehead State 13-3 to rally for a 17-14 win two weeks ago in Kentucky, didn’t have another late comeback in them at home.
After Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) and Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit back-to-back third-inning home runs to put the Blue and Gold ahead, 3-2, the Eagles took the wind out of the Buccaneer sails by pushing eight runs across in the top of the fourth to secure the seven-run win.
ETSU’s pitchers served up a season-high 20 hits, while the Buccaneer offense totaled 16, marking the 16th time this year the Blue and Gold have registered double-digit hits.
Six Buccaneers finished with multi-hit games as senior Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) – who replaced Robby McCabe (New Porth Richey, Fla.) in the fourth inning – went 3 for 3 with one double, a run scored, an RBI and a walk. Sophomore Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) extended his hit streak to 11 games as he went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI, while Phillips’ two-run towering bomb in the third extended his streak of reaching base safely to 21 consecutive games. Fellow junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) went 2 for 4 with a double and scored two runs, and Owenby ended with two hits (home run and double) and drove in two runs. Freshman Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) blasted his first collegiate home run with a solo shot in the eighth and also singled in the ninth.
Freshman right-hander Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) took the loss (1-3) after allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits in three innings of work, while five Buccaneers were used out of the bullpen. Sophomore Connor Bartow (Jonesborough, Tenn.) scattered two hits and struck out a pair of Morehead State hitters in one inning of relief and freshman Logan Gentry (Kingsport, Tenn.) tossed a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.
Following the setback, ETSU dipped to 12-15, while the Eagles won their third straight, improving to 14-13.
Morehead State jumped out to a 2-0 lead after scoring a run in the second and third innings, but the Bucs answered with their three-run third en route to taking their only lead of the night.
Unfortunately, the one-run lead quickly evaporated in the top of the fourth as Rawe belted his second home run of the night with his grand slam, and the Eagles sent 12 hitters to the plate in the inning, while ETSU committed three of its four errors in the frame. Along with Rawe’s homer, Kane Sweeney, Alex Stephens, Tyler Niemann and Braxton Morris also drove in runs for the Eagles in the fourth.
The Eagles – who pushed across runs in all but three innings on the night – also scored two runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings.
Phillips drove in his other two runs with a single in ETSU’s three-run fifth, while Maher’s home run to right and Cook’s RBI single to left accounted for the Bucs’ two runs in the eighth. Scott Hoilman (Johnson City, Tenn.), Danny Carrier (Cincinnati, Ohio), Maher and Sanford registered four ninth-inning hits for the Buccaneers, while Hoilman scored on Sanford’s infield single.
Morehead State starter Patrick McGuff allowed four runs on three hits in four innings before leaving with an injury in the fifth. Brent Stoneking entered out of the pen to earn the win (1-0). Stoneking was charged with four runs (three earned) on nine hits in 3.2 innings.
The Eagles saw eight batters register hits in the victory, while six recorded multi-hit efforts. Rawe – who drove in five and scored four runs – led the charge with his 4 for 5 night.
The Bucs open a three-game non-conference road series Thursday night at Saint Louis. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Billiken Sports Complex.
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