Once again the Buccaneers proved that their offensive line-up can and will separate themselves from the competition when given the chance.
The Bucs took the early lead scoring eight runs in the first two innings, defeating the Western Michigan Broncos 12-7 in the series opener Friday afternoon at Thomas Stadium. With four players having two RBIs and three touching home plate twice each.
Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) showed us why he is the TD AmeriTrade Home Run Derby Champion, smacking his first home run of the season into the parking lot in left field. Owenby went 3-5 at the plate, with two RBIs and scoring three runs. Freshman Cullen Smith (Lebanon, Tenn.) had a career day with three hits and three runs scored.
Lead-off pitcher Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) struck out seven batters in five innings, a career best for Simpler.
Other pitchers for the Bucs included Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.), Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) and Payton Taylor (Kingsport, Tenn.) who collectively pitched the last three innings, leaving the Broncos scoreless.
The Bucs stepped out strong in the second game of the series, scoring two runs in the first, three in the third and five in the fourth.
Blake Rowlett (Clarksville, Tenn.) hit a double to left field in the first inning, sending Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) to the plate. Then Owenby hit a single through the left side sending Rowlett home.
Starting pitcher for the Bucs, Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tennessee.) held the Broncos to only three hits and zero runs in the first three innings.
The Broncos had a surge late in the game, plating four runners in the eighth. Starting the surge was Evan Nelson with a single to right field sending Jesse Forestell home.
Cook, Owenby and Cullen Smith all went 2 for 4 at the plate. Owenby scored his first of three runs late in the third thanks to Christian Bailey’s (Kingsport, Tenn.) double to left center. Late in the fourth Caleb Longley (Cleveland, Tenn.) hit a home run to center field, with Christian Bailey and Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) on base, bringing the score to 10-2 and the Bucs to 6-1 this season.
The Bucs fell short in the last game of the series, losing 11-1. The Broncos dominated the end of the game with two runs in the seventh, three in the eighth and two in the ninth.
Jacob Piechota (Batavia, Ill) pitched for the Broncos. Piechota impressively held Cook, Rowlett and Owenby to zero hits in the first inning.
The loss brings the Buccaneers to 6-2 for the season. The Bucs will face Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Florida.
The first game of the series will be on March 3 at 4 p.m. and a double header on Saturday, then a single game on Sunday to finish it off.