Turner, Bucs dust VMI for three-game sweep

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY -- College athletes can't get paid, but Tim Turner's last two pitching performances have been as good as gold.
   Turner picked up his second win in a row on Sunday, as he led the East Tennessee State Buccaneers to an 8-3 triumph over the VMI Keydets at Howard Johnson Field to sweep the three-game series.
   Turner, who was nearly flawless against Georgia Southern last Sunday, gave up only two earned runs and six hits in just over eight innings of work. Turner also finished the day with 13 strikeouts.
   Turner is very confident in his pitching right now.
   "I always feel like I can go out there and have these performances," Turner said. "The biggest thing right now is my confidence is so much higher. It's great. You can feel it around in the dugout, also. Everybody else's confidence is higher. That's what makes it so good.
   The Bucs have now swept their last two Southern Conference series, and pitching has been a big part of ETSU's recent success.
   Turner definitely has been huge in his last two starts, and believes he is focused on throwing strikes.
   "I was really just pounding the zone," Turner said. That's the biggest thing I try to do. Throw strikes, continue to throw strikes, and maybe they will hit it where I need them to hit it."
   And about those 13 strikeouts, Turner wasn't exactly trying to get his outs that way.
   "I look to make good pitches at good times," Turner said. "I don't look to strikeout people, but it seems like it happens."
   Turner was pulled in the ninth, but former Happy Valley standout Jarrod Hyder pitched out of a jam to close it out for the Buccaneers.
   It was a very productive day for ETSU offensively, as the Buccaneers belted out 11 hits.
   ETSU hit three home runs on the day. Brandon Cross hit a two-run shot in the seventh, while Chad Boruff knocked a two-run dinger out of Howard Johnson Field in the first, and hit a solo shot out of the park right after Cross' blast in the seventh.
   Boruff finished the afternoon 4-for-4 with three RBI's.
   "I was just trying to be aggressive and swing at good pitches," Boruff said. "When I'm aggressive I can do good things with it."
   Kirk Keithley and Justin Clear also contributed heavily to the Buccaneer attack, as they each had two hits on the afternoon.
   ETSU head coach Tony Skole was happy to continue the SoCon winning streak.
   "It was a big win for us today," Skole said. "A must-win as they all are, but today especially. We've been playing good lately, and sometimes as a head coach when your team is playing good the last thing you want to do is screw it up. But you worry about your kids coming out after winning the first two of a series, and not being ready to play on Sunday. That's two weeks in a row now our guys have come out and really got themselves ready to go.
   "Right from the gun we were able to dig out some big hits. Tim gave us a great pitching performance, and we played good defense which is the recipe for success."
   The Bucs have a game with Tennessee in Knoxville on Wednesday, then will host the College of Charleston this coming weekend.
   Skole hopes the Bucs will keep the momentum going this week.
   "Our thoughts right now are on Tennessee Wednesday," Skole said. "We really want to go down there and play well, and have a chance to win that game. Then the College of Charleston is probably the best it has been in the last two or three years. Those are our thoughts right now."
   Jackson Simerly will get the start for Bucs Wednesday in Knoxville.
   First-pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
   The Bucs improve their record to 14-20 overall and 7-8 in the Southern Conference.