Buccaneers take twin-bill from Musketeers

By Wes Holtsclaw

   JOHNSON CITY -- There's no place like home.
   After losing their first five games of the season on the road, the East Tennessee State Buccaneer baseball squad opened their home schedule at Cardinal Park with a bang Saturday afternoon.
   In the first of two doubleheaders with the Xavier Musketeers, the Bucs pulled away with their first two victories of the season with 4-3 and 6-1 decisions.
   During the first outing of a two-game doubleheader, the Bucs fought through a tie contest with the Musketeers, using a stolen run to take a 4-3 victory.
   The Bucs battled from behind, after Xavier took a lead in the opening inning, with six unanswered runs to pull away with the 6-1 win.
   "We were fortunate to get two solid outings on the mound from Jeremy Hall and Steven Calicutt this afternoon, which enabled us to come away with two wins," said Bucs head coach Tony Skole.
   "We struggle offensively as a team because we are having trouble doing positive things back-to-back," he said. "We need to get more base hits with runners in scoring position, and we also have to get the hitters at the top of our order producing."
   Senior and major league prospect Tim Turner and sophomore standout Shane Byrne both contributed a pair of hits during the opening contest.
   It was a game that featured spurts from both sides, with the Bucs getting the last jolt in their favor.
   After a slow start, East Tennessee got things rolling in the third inning with its first hit of the day, courtesy of Turner, who stole his way to second.
   A walk to Matt Traylor and a quick bunt single from sophomore Shane Byrne loaded things up for the unit. Turner made the best of Xavier pitcher Sean Finnegan's mistake in the game, bolting home on a wild pitch.
   Blake Church followed by sacrificing Traylor across the place on a 4-3 tap to give the Bucs a 2-0 lead.
   In the next inning, Greg Roberts provided the big bat for State with a left-center double. Turner contributed from the bottom of the line-up again by singling the run across.
   The Musketeers made their only case to take the game in the sixth inning, when Eric Armstrong was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on an error.
   Steve Sakosits singled Armstrong across the plate and Jay Johnson pulled through with the team's biggest bat of the day, dealing a two-run shot to tie things up at three apiece.
   The Bucs responded well in the bottom of the stanza with singles from Steven Calicutt and Roberts. Roberts made a move to steal second and got the ball tied up while Calicutt dodged a throw and slid home to take a 4-3 edge.
   A double play courtesy of ETSU second baseman Josiah Glafenhein paved the way to the squad's first win of the season.
   Jeremy Hall struck out four during the first six innings on the mound en route to his first win of the season, before Moore came in and finished things out to collect the save.
   Finnegan took the first loss of the season for Xavier in their opening contest.
   Johnson opened the second game for Xavier with another homer, but State rallied back.
   The Bucs loaded things up in the first inning with walks courtesy of Matt Traylor and Byrne before an Andy Howdeshell fielder's choice.
   Church pulled through with a single to drive Traylor and Byrne across the plate, while Howdeshell scored when Glafenhein got caught up in a double play.
   Moore scored in the second inning on a Justin Clear bunt, while a Howedeshell double led him to another run in the third when Moore took a base on a fielder's choice.
   The Knoxville junior, Moore, sent a shot flying in the bottom of the fifth to seal the win for the Bucs.
   Calicutt took the victory in his second outing of the season, striking out six and allowing only three hits in six innings of work. Bill Konecny took the loss for Xavier.
   The Bucs face the Musketeers in another doubleheader today at 2 p.m.