Charleston, S.C. (March 28, 2002) - East Tennessee State's baseball team ran into a strong pitching effort here tonight, as three members of The Citadel's staff combined to three-hit the Bucs as the Bulldogs came away with a close 3-2 win in Southern Conference baseball action.
The Citadel (14-11, 7-2 SoCon) got things started quickly in the bottom of the first off of ETSU (7-15, 1-6 SoCon) starter Donnie Sharp (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), getting singles from the first three hitters to load the bases. Chip Cannon got a fourth straight single that pushed across the first run of the game for the Bulldogs. Sharp settled down after Cannon's hit, striking out two of the next three hitters, allowing an RBI groundout between the two whiffs to get out of the innings trailing only 2-0.
East Tennessee State closed the gap with its first run in the top of the third. Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) led off with a walk and then stole second. He moved to third on a single by Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) and scored on a double-play fly ball to left off the bat of Jeremy Terry (Cumberland, Ky.).
The Citadel pushed its lead back to a pair of runs in the fifth. Brook Dantzler led off with a double to right center and was sacrificed to third. After a walk to Jason Randall, Dantzler then stole home as part of a double steal with Randall.
ETSU answered in its next at-bat in the sixth. With one out, Kirk Keithley (Peoria, Ill.) walked and moved to third on a single by Michael Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.). Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) then brought Keithley home with a fielder's choice ball to short.
Bulldog pitching held the Bucs in check after that, however, not allowing a hit over the last three innings. Raymond Jenkins started and went 5.1 innings to pick up his first win of the season, allowing all three ETSU hits and both runs, striking out seven. Matt Hammer and Randy Corn finished, with Hammer striking out five in just 2.2 innings and Corn notching his eighth save with a perfect ninth. Sharp took the loss for ETSU, allowing all three Citadel runs and five hits in 4.1 innings, striking out five. Trevor Smith (Newport, Tenn.) threw well in relief, holding the Bulldogs off the board in three innings of work, fanning four.
Traylor, Giroud and Chad Boruff (Knoxville, Tenn.) had the only hits for ETSU, while Dantzler led The Citadel's attack with a 3-for-5 night, scoring two of the three runs for the Bulldogs.
The two teams will play game two of the three-game set tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m.