Green drives in game-winning run with an RBI triple in the 8th
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 19, 2013) – Despite placing itself in a hole early and trailing until the bottom of the eighth inning, the ETSU baseball team battled back to rally past Wofford, 12-10, in a wild one on Tuesday afternoon from a blustery Thomas Stadium.
With winds gusting out at over 25 miles per hour, both teams combined for 22 runs on 29 hits and used 11 different pitchers. However, the Blue and Gold were able to dig deep and generate offensive production late in the game, while ETSU’s bullpen cooled off the Terriers by holding Wofford scoreless for the final three innings. Junior Will Chesney (Knoxville, Tenn.) earned the win after holding the visitors from Spartanburg, S.C., scoreless in 2.2 innings of relief and fellow junior Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) entered in the ninth to convert on his second straight save opportunity.
Wofford (3-1) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a pair of two-run home runs and led 10-7 heading into the bottom half of the sixth, but the Bucs managed to outscore the Terriers, 5-0, for the remainder of the game and Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) came through with the clutch hit in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs and Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.) standing on second, Green scored his Buccaneer teammate, as the Powell, Tenn. native sent a 3-2 pitch into the jet stream in right-center for a triple – eventually proving to be the game-winning hit. Green later scored in the inning when senior second baseman Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) worked a four-pitch bases loaded walk to add to the Buccaneer lead.
For the game, three ETSU (3-1) players registered three-hit games as Green, Hershey, and junior outfielder Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) combined for nine hits in 14 at-bats. Green finished 3-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBI, Hershey – who started the two-out rally in the eighth with a double to straightway center – went 3-for-5 with the run scored, and Tritsch recorded three hits (one triple) in four at-bats.
Freeman – who was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on Monday – continued his hot streak as he homered in the first, marking the fourth of the season for the local product. The two-way standout went 1-for-3 with three walks (two intentional), two runs scored, and two RBI.
In the end, nine different players accounted for the season-high 15 hits for the Blue and Gold.
Following Wofford’s four-run top of the first where Josh Hyman – who hit for the cycle – and Eric Brenk provided the two, two-run home runs, Freeman put the Bucs on the board in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out solo shot to right-center – making it a 4-1 game.
Wofford regained the four-run cushion (5-1) in the top of the second when Matthew Kaskow returned the favor by blasting a solo homer to left, but the bottom half of the inning saw all nine ETSU batters come to the plate as the Bucs scored four runs on four hits to tie it up five. Freshman Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) began the inning with a walk, which then resulted in back-to-back bunt singles by Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Tritsch to load the bases. Sophomore shortstop Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) drove in the first two runs of the frame on a two-run scoring single to left, while Hershey followed that up with yet another bunt single to once again load the bases. After Wofford’s starter Tanner Hawley fell behind to Green, Hawley ended up plunking the senior outfielder to score Tritsch – pulling the Blue and Gold within a run. Freeman managed to bring home the tying run on a fielder’s choice RBI, and Hawley worked out of the inning by forcing Niesman to hit into an inning-ending grounder to short.
From there, the Terriers recaptured the lead by scoring one run in the third and tacked on two more in the fifth to take an 8-5 advantage into the bottom half of the inning. The Bucs got those two runs back in their half of the fifth on a sac-fly RBI by Riopedre and a two-out RBI single by Green, which cut the deficit to one, 8-7.
The Terriers capped off their scoring in the sixth on an RBI single by Alec Paradowski and an RBI double from Hyman, pushing Wofford’s lead back up to three, 10-7.
Like they did in the fifth, ETSU responded in the sixth thanks to RBIs from Niesman and Tritsch. Freeman led off the inning with a walk and scored when Niesman found the gap in left-center, while Niesman made it a 10-9 game on Tritsch’s RBI single to right.
With Chesney keeping the Terriers off the board, the Blue and Gold took full advantage of some control problems from Matthew Milburn in the seventh to tie it at 10. With two outs and Green on second, Wofford decided to give the free pass to Freeman, but Milburn became rattled after he was called for a balk with Niesman at the plate. The Wofford pitcher fell behind to Niesman and eventually walked the Wellington, Fla. native to load the bases. As senior Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) was called upon to pinch hit, Milburn continued with his struggles locating the strike zone, and on his fifth pitch, Reynolds worked the walk to plate Green as the tying run.
After Chesney worked some magic in the top of the eighth, the Bucs rewarded the junior sidearmer with the two runs in the bottom of the inning to earn him the win. In the top of the frame, Wofford had its first two batters reach, and following a sac-bunt from Seth Neely, the Terriers called for the squeeze as runners were standing on second and third. However, Matthew Ramsay bunted one back to the mound and Chesney threw a strike to Hershey at the plate to get the sliding Paradowski out at home - keeping things knotted at 10.
Just when Wofford thought they were going to work a 1-2-3 eighth, Hershey started the rally with his two-out double to center and trotted home on Green’s sixth career triple, making it an 11-10 ballgame. Following the triple, Anderson walked Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) on five pitches and intentionally walked Freeman for the second time of the game. The move to load the bases proved to be costly, as Niesman walked to score Green and gave the Bucs the two-run cushion, 12-10.
As Freeman took the ball in the ninth, he struck out the first hitter he faced and forced Stephen Cantrell to fly out to center for the second out of the inning. The left-handed hurler walked pinch hitter Clark Wise to bring the game-tying run to the plate, but Tritsch tracked down the final out in left to secure the win for the Blue and Gold.
Anderson (0-1) suffered the loss after being tagged with two runs on two hits and three walks in two-thirds of an inning.
Hyman led the Terriers at the plate by going a perfect 5-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored, while Brenk finished with three hits and three RBI in the losing effort.
The Bucs are back in action this weekend when the Blue and Gold host BIG EAST foe Seton Hall in a weekend series, beginning Friday afternoon at 3:05 p.m., from Thomas Stadium. Saturday and Sunday game times are slated for 1:05 p.m.
Single game tickets to ETSU baseball games are $10 for seats behind home plate and $5 for seats along the baselines. Tickets can be purchased at the gate outside the stadium.
For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.