Strong pitching leads VMI over ETSU Baseball, 3-1

Saturday, March 15, 2003

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 15, 2003) - For the second consecutive day, East Tennessee State and VMI both had tremendous pitching performances, but unlike Friday night it was the Keydets that came away with a 3-1 victory Saturday afternoon from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. The VMI victory evens the three-game series at one each, and raises the Keydets record to 6-10, 4-1 in the Southern Conference. The Bucs fall to 6-11, 2-3 in SoCon games. ETSU junior lefty Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) and VMI senior righty Phil Hendrix battled all afternoon, but in the end, it was Hendrix that came out on top. Turner and Hendrix breezed through the first two innings, before VMI got on the board in the third. Keydet first baseman Jon Wade singled to lead off the inning. After one out was recorded, designated hitter Brandon Massenburg singled to left, advancing Wade to third. With two outs, catcher Justin Briggs singled to score Wade. The Buccaneers tried to even the game in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore designated hitter Davis Burklin (Knoxville, Tenn.) led off the inning with his second hit of the afternoon. He was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior outfielder Bo Calloway (Knoxville, Tenn.). A walk by freshman outfielder Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) gave the Bucs runners on first and second with just one out. But Hendrix settled down, retiring the next two batters to end the inning. After a quiet sixth frame, the Bucs had a two-out rally in the seventh to tie the game. With two down, Calloway laced a double down the left field line followed by an RBI double by Calicutt. VMI came back in the top of the eighth to score two runs and put the game out of reach. Briggs doubled down the right field line then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Jason Annis. Briggs scored on a triple to right-center by third baseman Kelly Sweppenhiser. After walks by outfielders Ben Rand and Chris Brooks to load the bases, Wade hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Sweppenhiser. The inning could have been bigger for the Keydets if not for ETSU sophomore reliever Mike Bauer (Kingsport, Tenn.), who came in with the bases loaded and one out and got a fly out and a ground out on two pitches to end the inning. Two Keydet relievers went the rest of the way as J.J. Hollenbeck pitched the eighth and Jeff DeMara closed out the game in the ninth. Hendrix evened his record at 2-2, pitching seven innings and allowing one run on five hits and striking out six. Turner (1-3) was charged with the loss, allowing three runs on 11 hits while striking out seven in 7.1 innings. DeMara earned his third save of the season by pitching a perfect ninth. "Hendrix was very tough today," said ETSU acting head coach Nate Goulet. "He was throwing three pitches for strikes and he really kept us off-balance. Offensively, we had a lot of opportunities, but we could not get any clutch hits." Buccaneer head coach Tony Skole was suspended for today's game after being thrown out of last night's contest. Burklin led the Bucs at the plate, going 2-for-4 on the afternoon. The Keydets had three players with multiple-hit games led by Briggs, who went 4-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Also, Sweppenhiser went 3-for-4 and Wade was 2-for-2. The Bucs and the Keydets will play the final game of a three-game weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m. from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.