ETSU Baseball splits doubleheader with Binghamton

Saturday, February 22, 2003

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 22, 2003) - East Tennessee State had an offensive explosion in game one, defeating Binghamton, 13-3, in the first half of a doubleheader before the Bearcats turned the table, taking down the Bucs, 15-7, in game two Saturday from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. The Bucs opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, as sophomore catcher .Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit a two-run homer over the left field fence. Freshman third baseman Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) scored in front of Moore, having walked earlier in the inning. Binghamton cut the Buccaneer lead in half after scoring an unconventional run in the top of the second. Centerfielder T.J. Kowalchuk reached on an error, then moved to second on a balk. Kowalchuk next moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. ETSU put another run on the board in the bottom of the second frame, as sophomore shortstop Justin Clear (LaFollette, Tenn.) drove in sophomore right fielder Kevin Brotherton (Erwin, Tenn.) with a perfect hit-and-run single to left field. The Bearcats trimmed the Buccaneer lead to 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning on a solo homer by Joe Costello with one out. But again the Bucs quickly responded, this time in resounding fashion, scoring ten unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings. A three-run homer by junior second baseman Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) and a grand slam by Byrne essentially put the game out of reach. Junior starter Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) picked up his first win of the season (1-0), pitching five innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run while striking out seven. Mark Messina (0-1) was charged with the loss for the Bearcats, pitching 4.2 innings and allowing nine earned runs on seven hits. "Tim was not as sharp as he normally is, but he still pitched very well," said ETSU head coach Tony Skole following the game. Howdeshell, Brotherton and Clear all had two hits in the game. Byrne led the Bucs with four RBI's, while Howdeshell added three and Moore had two. "We got timely hits and big RBI's in game one," said Skole. "We got great production out of the top of the order with our top three batters driving in nine combined runs." Binghamton's bats came alive in game two, scoring runs in all but one inning. The Bearcats gained the early advantage in game two, jumping out to a 6-0 lead after one and a half innings. Kowalchuk connected for a three-run homer in the top of the first and a two-RBI double by designated hitter Dusty Edwards were the big blows in the first two innings for the Bearcats. The Bucs chipped away at the Bearcat lead, scoring their first run of the game on a single by Clear in the bottom of the second that scored freshman center fielder Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.). Binghamton widened their lead to 7-1 in the top of the third as first baseman Jacob Thiel singled in Kowalchuk from third. East Tennessee State cut the Bearcat lead in half to 7-4 in the bottom of the frame, scoring three runs. Senior first baseman Chad Boruff (Knoxville, Tenn.) had the big hit of the inning, blasting a two-run home run over the left field wall. After the Bearcats scored another run in the top of the fourth, ETSU responded with three more runs to close to 8-7. Byrne laced a two-run double to center field and Boruff hit a double of his own to score Byrne. But that was as close as ETSU would get, as the Bearcats would score seven unanswered runs, including six in the seventh, to end the game. Binghamton got great relief pitching from Mike Weglinski, who went the final 3.2 innings to earn his first win (1-0) of the season. Weglinski scattered five hits and allowed one earned run while striking out two. Freshman pitcher Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) was charged with the loss (0-1) after pitching three innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits. Boruff and Clear led the Bucs with two hits each in game two, while Boruff paced ETSU with three RBI's. Kowalchuk had a great game for Binghamton, going 3-for-4 with four RBI's and three runs scored. Right fielder Tony Berube also had four runs driven in for the Bearcats. "We are not going to win many games when we allow the opposing team to score in every inning but one," said Skole. "Hopefully we can come out tomorrow with more energy, and play a little better" The Buccaneers and Bearcats close out their weekend series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.