Pitching leads ETSU to doubleheader sweep over Niagara
Steven Calicutt went six strong innings in game two
Steven Calicutt went six strong innings in game two

Saturday, February 19, 2005

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 19, 2005) - East Tennessee State received solid pitching from their starters and bullpen while coming up with some clutch hits as the Buccaneers won both games of a doubleheader against Niagara, 5-4 and 3-2, Saturday afternoon from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.

                ETSU moves to 3-0 for the first time since starting the 1998 season 4-0 while Niagara falls to 0-3.

                The Bucs opened the scoring in game one with a run in the bottom of the second. Junior first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) led off the inning with a double, then moved to third on a passed ball. He would cross the plate on a ground out by junior outfielder Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.).

                Niagara immediately came back with a run in the top of the third on a two-out solo home run by Mike Alati.

                Both teams were scoreless for the next three innings until the Purple Eagles took a 4-1 lead with three runs in the top of the seventh. Andrew MacNevin and Jeff Vincent led off the frame with back-to-back solo home runs. Chris Leendertse then followed with a double down the right field line, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single to left by Brian Clifford.

                But the Bucs rallied for three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at four. With two outs, senior designated hitter Richie Billings (Leesburg, Fla.) and senior second baseman Nick Crowe (Johnson City, Tenn.) both walked. Junior right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) then laced a double to left field, scoring both baserunners. Senior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) concluded the comeback by bringing Byrne home with a single to left field.

                The score would stay tied until the bottom of the ninth when the Bucs loaded the bases with no outs on a double by Crowe and intentional walks to Byrne and Moore. With one out, sophomore right fielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) scored Crowe with the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

                ETSU senior righty Michael Bauer (Kingsport, Tenn.) earned the win (1-0) after pitching two stellar innings of relief, allowing just one baserunner. Mark Wilson was charged with the loss (0-1) for Niagara after going one-third of an inning and allowing one run on one hit and walking three.

                Both starting pitchers were solid in game one, but neither figured in the decision. ETSU junior lefty Brian Lovett (Knoxville, Tenn.) went six innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits while striking out seven. Niagara's Dan Griffin went 6.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits while striking out 11 and walking four.

                The Bucs were led at the plate by Church who went 2-for-5 while Crowe scored two runs and Byrne drove in two. Seven players had one hit each for the Purple Eagles.

                Game two was another pitching duel between ETSU junior lefty Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Niagara's Josh Sawatzky.

                The Purple Eagles took an early lead in game one with Alati's second solo home run of the day in the top of the first.

ETSU responded with a run in the bottom of the first to tie the game. Crowe walked to lead off the inning, then stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch with two outs. Douglas would then double to left center to score Crowe.

The Bucs took the lead by manufacturing another run in the bottom of the second. Traylor hit an infield single, stole second, then advanced to third on a groundout by freshman designated hitter Anthony Russell (Waldorf, Md.). Traylor would cross the plate on a groundout by the next batter, junior shortstop Chuck Hargis (Powell, Tenn.).

East Tennessee State widened their lead to 3-1 with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Crowe hit a one-out double to deep center, and would score on a two-out double by Moore.

Niagara cut the Buccaneer advantage to just one with a run in the top of the sixth. Andrew MacDonald singled to right and moved to second as Alati was hit by a pitch. The runners advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Reed Eastley. Paul Solini then singled to left, scoring MacDonald. But Calicutt was able to strand both Alati and Solini, retiring the next two batters without any further damage.

Moore came in to close the game in the seventh, retiring the Purple Eagles in order to earn his first save of the season.

Calicutt earned the win (1-0) going six innings and allowing two runs on four hits and striking out four. Sawatzky was charged with the loss (0-1) after giving up three earned runs on six hits and striking out four while walking three.

Crowe went 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a walk for ETSU while Douglas went 2-for-3. Niagara was led by Solini, who went 2-for-3 in game two.

Both teams return to action as Niagara faces South Carolina on Feb. 25-27 from Columbia, S.C. and ETSU plays Xavier Saturday and Sunday in a three-game series from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.
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