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ETSU baseball battles, but falls to Vanderbilt, 5-4
Tuesday, February 18, 2003NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 18, 2003) - The baseball Bucs jumped on Vanderbilt early, but the Commodores came back for a tight 5-4 victory Tuesday afternoon against East Tennessee State from Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn. With ETSU's first loss of the season, the Bucs fall to 2-1. Vanderbilt raised their record to 2-1. East Tennessee State scored two runs on two hits off freshman Ryan Mullins (1-0) in the first inning. Junior second baseman Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) led off the game with a double to right center field and scored from third base two batters later when freshman designated hitter Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) grounded out to shortstop. The next ETSU batter, senior first baseman Chad Boruff (Knoxville, Tenn.) walked, took second on a passed ball and scored on sophomore catcher Caleb Moore's (Knoxville, Tenn.) RBI single to right field. Mullins then settled down, allowed only one additional hit and retired seven in a row on two separate occasions before leaving the game. Vanderbilt cut the 2-0 deficit in half in the bottom of the first when Ryan Klosterman led off the frame with a walk and later scored on a balk by ETSU starter Mike Bauer (Kingsport, Tenn.) (0-1). The Commodores took a 3-2 lead after two innings when Rucker Taylor scored Jones from third base on a RBI single off the third base bag and Jonathan Douillard singled and later scored on Bauer's second balk of the game. Vanderbilt pushed the lead to 5-2 in the fifth inning thanks to RBI singles by Jones and Klosterman. ETSU moved to within 5-3 in the seventh when VU reliever Jeff Sues entered the game and walked junior outfielder Bo Calloway (Knoxville, Tenn.) who later scored on a RBI ground out by Howdeshell. Commodore reliever Matt Buschmann entered the game in the ninth. He surrendered a one-out double to freshman third baseman Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.). ETSU sophomore pinch hitter Davis Burklin (Knoxville, Tenn.) scored Byrne on the following play with a RBI single to left field. Burklin, however, tried to stretch the hit into a double and was thrown out at second base. Buschmann then struck out Howdeshell looking to earn his first save of the season. Moore led the Bucs with two hits on the afternoon, while he, Howdeshell, Church, and Burklin drove in the ETSU runs. Bauer pitched 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and striking out three. Sophomore lefty Josh Kite (Greenville, Tenn.) and senior righty Willie McKenzie pitched nearly flawless relief, allowing four hits and no runs in 3.2 innings to keep the Bucs in contention. Besides Jones, three other Commodores registered at least two hits in the game, including Matt Zeller, Klosterman and Taylor. "I am very proud of the way our kids played today," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. "We competed at a very high level today. Still, I am disappointed with the outcome, we had many opportunities to win the game." East Tennesseee State concludes its two-game series with Vanderbilt, Wednesday at 4 p.m. ETSU will go with freshman right-hander Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.)(0-0) while Vanderbilt's starter has yet to be determined. "Hopefully we will come back tomorrow, eliminate our mistakes and have a chance to win," said Skole.
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