Baseball Bucs snap losing streak, down Jacksonville 8-7
Shane Byrne hit his eighth home run of the season in the victory over Jacksonville.
Shane Byrne hit his eighth home run of the season in the victory over Jacksonville.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 23, 2006) - The ETSU baseball squad jumped out to an 8-2 lead, and held off a late-inning Jacksonville rally to defeat the Atlantic Sun Conference leading Dolphins 8-7 Sunday afternoon from Alexander Brest Field.  The win snaps a six-game overall losing streak, as well as a six-game conference losing streak for the Bucs.


"We needed this win badly," said head coach Tony Skole.  "It's like we've been out in the desert the last couple of weeks, and we've been dying for some relief."


The Bucs (22-20, 9-12) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on the strength of two unearned runs.  Junior C.J. Lee (Bristol, Va.) drove in senior Matt Traylor (Knoxville, Tenn.) on a one-out single to left field, and senior Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) came home on a fielder's choice.


The lead extended to 5-0 in the second on Byrne's eighth homer of the season, a three-run blast over the right field wall driving home Traylor and freshman Ben Allen (Kingsport, Tenn.).


In the fifth inning, after Lee reached on an infield single, senior Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) doubled down the left field line, scoring Lee.  Church scored on a throwing error by starting pitcher Tim Brown's errant pick off attempt.


Junior Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) scored on a passed ball in the seventh, providing what proved to be a crucial insurance run.


Trailing 8-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Dolphins (30-13, 12-6) scored three unearned runs, cutting the deficit in half.


Right fielder Mike McCallister's solo home run to lead off the eighth cut the Buccaneer lead to 8-6, and Anthony Bernazard drove in shortstop Matt Lopez on a one-out groundout.  With the tying run at third base, senior closer Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) came on and induced a harmless lineout to second to end the threat.


Calicutt returned and pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save of the season.  Junior lefty Ryan Howe (Spartanburg, S.C.) improved to 4-3, scattering five hits over 6 1/3 innings of work and surrendering just two earned runs while striking out four.  Brown (3-3) took the loss for the Dolphins, giving up 10 hits and seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.


The Bucs are back in action Tuesday evening taking on Virginia Tech in the Kingsport Classic in Kingsport, Tenn.  First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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