JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 11, 2011) - The ETSU baseball team jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and did not look back as the Bucs won their fourth straight game defeating North Florida 6-3 in the series opener Friday night at Harmon Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.
Junior John Long (Anderson, S.C.) earned his first win of the year after limiting UNF to three runs (two earned) scattering seven hits while striking out eight in 6.2 innings. Starter Casey Medlen was tabbed with the loss for UNF after giving up four runs on nine hits in 7.0 innings.
The Bucs (8-2, 2-0 A-Sun) out-hit the Ospreys (7-6, 1-3 A-Sun) 10-7 in the contest led by junior centerfielder Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) who was perfect on the day going 3-for-3 with a triple, three RBI and scored two runs.
Designated hitter Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) put the Bucs up 1-0 in the top of the first as he singled in Scruggs from second.
In the next inning, Scruggs increased the ETSU advantage to 2-0 as he brought in shortstop Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) on a sacrifice fly to left.
Scruggs would add two more runs in the top of the fourth as he roped a triple to left center scoring Doane and Michael Gonzalez (Jupiter, Fla.) to make the score 4-0 Buccaneers.
UNF broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fifth as Sam Perry drove a solo home run over the fence in left center to cut the lead to 4-1.
The Ospreys looked to rally in the bottom of the seventh as UNF cut the lead to 4-3 after an RBI ground out to short by Andrew Hannon and a RBI single by Alex Hernandez, but sophomore Scott McNally (Roswell, Ga.) came in and got Andrew Karmeris to fly out to center to end the threat.
The Bucs added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth as Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) came in to score on a North Florida error after doubling to right center to lead off the inning. Later in the inning, Scruggs came in to score on a sac fly to right by Pratt to put ETSU in front 6-3.
McNally and Bo Reeder (Cookeville, Tenn.) combined to shut down the UNF offense in the final two innings as Reeder picked up his fifth save of the year.
The Buccaneers return to action tomorrow at 1 p.m. as they face UNF in game two of the series. For more information on ETSU baseball and all other Buccaneer athletic news please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.