The weather was perfect for baseball at Thomas Stadium on Tuesday as the Bucs (12-15) looked to wrap up their four-game homestand against Morehead State (14-13).
Pitcher Ryan Simpler, (1-3), started for the Buccaneers, but found himself in a few battles at the mound. The outfield helped hold things together and the Bucs entered the bottom of the third down 2-0.
ETSU went down early with two outs, but Trey York recorded the first hit and the Bucs had boots on the ground. Junior Kevin Phillips was next up at the plate, and launched one deep right to put the Bucs even.
The next batter, DH Hagen Owenby, put a second one over the fence and ETSU walked into the fourth with a 3-2 lead.
Morehead St. struck back with a fury of hits and after scoring a run, the Bucs were quickly looking at bases loaded with no outs.
A grand slam soon followed and coach Tony Skole had to make a change, giving another young pitcher a chance with pitcher Kain Hewitt. It seemed as though MSU could not miss the ball, and left the Bucs trailing 10-3 after a tumultuous fourth inning.
The bats of Cook, York, Phillips, and Owenby in the fifth brought in the Buccaneers another three runs, but with Morehead State scoring in six of nine innings, it made it tough for the Bucs to finish the game ahead.
“We gave up 20 hits,” Skole said after the game. “When you give up 20 hits, you’re not going to win many ball games. Offensively, 16 hits and nine runs, I thought we did some good things offensively. But they just separated from us there. When you give up eight runs in one inning, it sort of takes the wind out of your sails.”
Kevin Phillips thinks the team needs to be a little tougher, he said. “We have to keep playing. Stay in the process. We got a little discouraged. Just have to keep fighting.”
Indeed a lot of hits were given, but a couple of key errors kept innings alive.
Both sophomore Connor Bartow and freshman Logan Gentry pitched solid to end the game. The team can hit. This is a team that half of its losses have been one or two run games.
The Bucs travel to play St. Louis University (18-10) Thursday to put them over the halfway mark for the regular season.