JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 17, 2012) – The top three batters in the lineup went a combined 7-for-12 with all eight RBI and Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) pitched seven strong innings propelling the ETSU baseball team to an 8-3 win over Belmont, Saturday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
Long picked up his second straight victory after giving up only five hits and three runs in seven innings of work. Long struck out four and walked just two to improve his record to 2-1 for the year. Meanwhile, Matt Hamann (0-3) was charged with the loss after allowing nine hits and eight runs in 6.1 innings.
Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI. Scruggs, who came into the game leading the league with eight homers, put some distance between the closest competitors as he became the first in the A-Sun to 10 home runs. Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) were each 2-for-4 on the afternoon. Doane, who hit in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, added two runs and two RBI, while Freeman scored a run and recorded three RBI.
Doane got the Bucs off to a good start as he led off the first inning with a solid single to right center to extend his hitting streak to 10 consecutive games. Scruggs followed with a perfect bunt single down the first base line, which advanced Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) to third on an errant throw by Hamann. With still no outs in the inning, Freeman followed with a towering three-run homer down the right field line on a 0-1 pitch to give the Bucs the early 3-0 lead. The home run was the third of the season for Freeman.
ETSU added a run in the third thanks to Scruggs’ first home run of the game, extending the Buccaneer lead to 4-0.
Belmont got onto the board in the seventh inning after scoring three runs on three hits. Matt Beaty got the Bruins within two after launching a two-run home run into right field bringing his in teammate, Judah Akers, who reached base after being hit with a pitch. Drew Turner continued the inning with a single out to center field, later advancing into scoring position after Jamie Ritchie went to first on a walk. William Dodd loaded the bases with a single to left field and Zac Mitchell concluded the inning with a sac fly to center field cutting the ETSU lead to 4-3.
ETSU answered the three runs by adding four of its own in the bottom of the seventh. Cory Betterson (Atlanta, Ga.) reached base after laying down a perfect bunt single down the third base line with one out in the inning. Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) then recorded a base hit to put runners on first and second with just one out. Then, Doane ripped a two-run double down the right field line, plating Betterson and Hershey. Scruggs followed with his second homer of the game – a blast over the field wall – giving the Bucs the 8-3 advantage.
Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) worked two scoreless innings of relief in the eighth and ninth innings to clinch the victory for the Bucs.
Beaty led the way for the Bruins on the afternoon by going 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, while Dodd was also 2-for-4 on the day.
The series will continue with the rubber match beginning at 1:05 p.m. tomorrow at Thomas Stadium. Senior John Long (Anderson, S.C.) (4-0) is scheduled to start against Belmont’s James Buckelew (3-0).
- Kerry Doane extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games after his 2-for-4 performance.
- Clinton Freeman recorded his team leading ninth multi-hit game after going 2-for-4.
- ETSU defeated Belmont for the first time in eight games between the two schools.
- The Bruins now lead the overall series, 21-8.
- Matthew Scruggs’ two home run game was his second of the year. He hit two home runs against La Salle on March 11.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.