JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Apr. 21, 2004) - East Tennessee State won its seventh consecutive game Wednesday night, but it was not easy, holding off UNC Asheville, 21-16, from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
UNC Asheville (17-21) took the early advantage, scoring two runs in the top of the first. Steve Sherman hit a two-out RBI double to score Matt Roberts, followed by an RBI double by Nick Jaksa.
ETSU (21-19) cut the UNCA lead in half with a single run in the bottom of the second. Freshman outfielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) doubled with one down, then scored on a two-out double by sophomore second baseman Josiah Glafenhein (Knoxville, Tenn.).
The Bulldogs widened their lead to 6-1 with four runs in the top of the fourth. Josh Coyle led off the inning with a solo home run to left. After Steve Burnich and Justin Wilkins reached base, Ben Padgett tripled to deep center to clear the bases. Padgett then came home on a ground out by Roberts.
The Buccaneer offense then erupted for 15 runs over the next two innings to take a 16-6 lead. ETSU scored nine runs in the bottom of the fourth, the big blow coming on a grand slam by senior shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.). Run-scoring singles were also hit by Glafenhein, sophomore third baseman Greg Roberts (Douglas, Ga.) and sophomore outfielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.). Sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch and forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk later in the frame.
ETSU put six more runs on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore outfielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) drove in a run with a ground out and Glafenhein scored on a wild pitch. Later in the inning, Douglas hit a two-out bases-loaded double, driving in all three Buccaneers.
UNC Asheville responded with a huge inning of their own, getting back into the game with eight runs in the top of the sixth. Sherman continued his stellar evening with a two-run double to center, followed by another two-run double by Josh Coyle. Jaksa scored on a wild pitch and Coyle would cross the plate on an error. Wilkins laced an RBI double to right then scored on an error later in the inning.
The Bulldogs tacked on another run in the top of the eighth, cutting the Buccaneer lead to just one. Coyle singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Burnich, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. He would later score on a double to right-center by Padgett. UNCA had an opportunity to tie the game, but Buccaneer senior lefty Josh Kite (Greeneville, Tenn.) slammed the door by striking out Charles Pippitt to end the inning.
East Tennessee State put the game away with five runs in the bottom of the eighth. A key error in the outfield allowed Glafenhein to score the first run of the inning. Junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.), Howdeshell, Douglas and sophomore designated hitter Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) followed with RBI singles. All five runs in the inning were unearned.
UNCA scored a run in the top of the ninth, but it was not enough. Roberts singled up the middle to lead off the inning and would later score on an error.
ETSU junior reliever Trevor Smith (Newport, Tenn.) picked up his first win of the season (1-1), allowing three runs on two hits in 2.1 innings. UNCA's Ryan Stewart was charged with the loss (0-1), pitching one-third of an inning and allowing six runs on three hits.
Moore and Howdeshell each had three hits for the Bucs, while Howdeshell scored four runs and drove in six. Church also scored four runs and Douglas drove in four.
Sherman paced the Bulldogs, going 4-for-6 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Coyle went 3-for-6 with three runs scored and three RBIs.
Also during this evening's game, local youth Jacob Kimbrough won $100 in the "Throw for Dough," sponsored by Triad Packaging. Jacob is the first person to win the grand prize in two years of holding the event at selected ETSU Baseball games.
The Bucs return to action Friday night at 6 p.m. with the opener of a key SoCon series against College of Charleston from Charleston, S.C.