East Tennessee State used solid pitching and timely hitting to defeat Virginia Tech, 5-3, in the Kingsport Classic Tuesday night from Hunter Wright Stadium in Kingsport, Tenn. It is ETSU’s second win of the season against the Hokies, as the Bucs also defeated Virginia Tech 5-4 on Apr. 19.
East Tennessee State took the early lead by manufacturing a run in the bottom of the first. Junior right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) singled with one out and advanced to third after senior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) and junior first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.) walked. Sophomore centerfielder Stephen Douglas (Kennesaw, Ga.) then lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Byrne from third.
The Bucs added to their lead with a run in the bottom of the third. Byrne and Moore led off the inning with back-to-back singles. With one out, Byrne stole third then crossed the plate on a throwing error.
ETSU ran its lead to 3-0 with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Douglas led off the frame with a single, beating out a slow ground ball to third. Sophomore designated hitter Mike Giroud (St. Petersburg, Fla.) then laced a double down the right field line to score Douglas.
Virginia Tech cut ETSU’s lead to one with a two-run rally in the top of the seventh. Sheldon Adams led off the inning with a single to left, followed by a walk by Nate Parks. Matt Foley then hit into a fielder’s choice, giving the Hokies runners on first and third. The runners would score as Jose Cueto hit a sacrifice fly to right and Jose Rojas hit an RBI double to right-center. The Hokies looked as they had tied the game with a single by Matt Hacker, but Rojas missed third base and was called out on an appeal.
The Buccaneers responded with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Junior shortstop Chuck Hargis (Powell, Tenn.) reached on an error to lead off the inning and moved to second on a sac bunt by Byrne. After Moore was intentionally walked, the runners moved to second and third on a groundout by Church. Douglas then came to the plate and scored both runners with a bloop single to left.
The Hokies put their final run on the board as Warren Schaeffer hammered the first pitch he saw with two outs in the top of the eighth over the left field wall.
ETSU starter Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) pitched three scoreless innings to earn his ninth win of the season (9-1), tying him for the NCAA Division I lead. He allowed one hit, hit a batter and struck out one. Moore added to his ETSU season and career record with his ninth save of the year. He pitched the final two innings, allowing one run on one hit while striking out two.
Buccaneer junior lefty Brian Lovett (Knoxville, Tenn.) was also effective, pitching two scoreless innings without allowing a baserunner.
Ryan Kennedy was charged with the loss (4-5), allowing five runs (two earned) on eight hits in 6.2 innings. He also struck out six and walked three in the loss.
Byrne, Moore and Douglas each had two hits for the Bucs while Byrne scored two runs and Douglas had three RBIs. Adams led the Hokies with two hits while three Virginia Tech players has runs scored and three players drove in runs.
The Bucs return to action tomorrow afternoon as they host Radford at 3 p.m. from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn. Virginia Tech also returns to the diamond tomorrow, hosting Virginia Military Institute from English Field in Blacksburg, Va. at 7 p.m.