JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 7, 2015) – Kyle Towles belted a pair of home runs and Hunter Bryant connected on one of his own, lifting UNC Asheville to a series sweep over ETSU, as the Bulldogs edged the Blue and Gold, 6-3, on Tuesday night at Thomas Stadium.
ETSU (12-19), who went 3 for 38 with runners in scoring position in the three games against Asheville this season, left 11 runners stranded and went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday.
Asheville (16-17) struck for a pair of two-out runs in the top of the first and led, 5-1, before the Bucs scored two eighth-inning runs, but with two outs and the bases loaded, closer Nick Schavone entered to strikeout Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) to end the threat.
Schavone earned his team-leading seventh save of the year as he tossed 1.1 scoreless innings to close out the game, while Evan Joura (1-1) picked up the win after registering one scoreless frame in relief. Freshman right-hander Logan Gentry (Kingsport, Tenn.) suffered the loss (0-1) in his first collegiate start. Gentry allowed the two first-inning runs on two hits, while striking out four and walking three.
The Bucs managed to record five hits and scored their two runs eighth-inning runs when Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) were both hit by a pitch with two outs and the bases loaded. Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) extended his streak of reaching base safely to nine games as he went 1 for 2 with two walks and scored a run, and Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) doubled and scored one of his two runs in the second inning.
Towles put the Bulldogs on the board in the top of the first as he posted the first of two solo home runs and Asheville tacked on another two-out RBI when Michael Kelly worked a four-pitch walk, making it a 2-0 score.
ETSU cut its deficit in half when Phillips led off the second with his double down the line in left and scored on Aaron Maher’s (Brentwood, Tenn.) sacrifice fly RBI; however, Asheville responded with solo runs in the fourth and fifth innings, extending its lead to, 4-1.
The Buccaneers had chances as they had a runner in scoring position in five of the final seven innings, but the Blue and Gold couldn’t manufacture the timely hit.
After the Bulldogs tacked on an insurance run with a sac-fly RBI in the seventh, ETSU struck for its two runs in the eighth to pull within two, 5-3. York and Philips reached to leadoff the inning and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. From there, Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases, leading to Thompson and Tucker being hit by a pitch to register the RBIs. Unfortunately, after the Bulldogs made the call to the bullpen for the third time in the inning, Schavone got out of the jam by striking out Taylor on a 3-2 pitch.
Towles added to the lead by belting his second solo homer in the top of the ninth and Schavone retired three of the four Buccaneer hitters he faced in the bottom of the inning to wrap up the game.
Towles and Joe Zayatz combined for four of Asheville’s eight hits, while Towles also drove in two and scored a pair of runs.
The Bucs look to end their five-game skid Friday night as ETSU opens a three-game Southern Conference series at VMI.
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