Bulldogs fend off ETSU in first round of SoCon

from staff reports

   CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Citadel's Jason Randall went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a home run to lead the Bulldogs to a 7-5 win over East Tennessee State Wednesday night in game four of the 2002 Wendy's/Pepsi Southern Conference Tournament at Joe Riley Park.
   East Tennessee State's Matt Traylor took the opening pitch 360 feet over the right field wall to put the Bucs up 1-0. The Bulldogs answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homer from Jan Randell, which drove in Matt Dean who singled.
   Chris Ard added another run for The Citadel in the second inning with a solo home run, giving the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.
   East Tennessee State exploded for three runs with a two-out rally in the top of the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead. Michael Giroud started the inning for the Bucs with a single to left field, bringing in Kirk Kiethley. Justin Clear put ETSU on top with a two-run double, scoring Giroud and Bryan Crouse. Bulldog pitcher Matt Hamer came into the game with two outs to get The Citadel out of the inning.
   Ard drove in his second run of the day on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning to tie the game at four apiece. Randall brought in his third run of the day with a single, driving in Jon Aughey in the seventh inning to give The Citadel a 5-4 lead. The Bulldogs added insurance runs in the eighth when James Corn hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Brook Dantzler, and Jon Aughey drove in Will Coker.
   ETSU cut the lead to two off a single from Jeremy Terry, scoring Traylor, in the ninth inning.
   Matt Hamer (9-2) tossed an inning and a third of relief and picked up the win in the process for The Citadel with Randy Corn recording his 13th save on the season. ETSU hurler Reid Casey (9-6) took the loss for the Bucs, going seven innings and recording five strikeouts.
   The Citadel (31-24) returns to action Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. when it will face the winner of Georgia Southern. ETSU (21-35) will take on UNC Greensboro at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday. Thursday's games will mark the first time since 1998 that all four top seeds have won their opening games.