Finding home base in the eighth inning did the job for the East Tennessee State University baseball team this past Tuesday as they defeated the Appalachian State Mountaineers 5-4 at Thomas Stadium.
“It was a great team win,” said Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.). “The pitchers threw really well, we got timely hits, and we were lucky to shut them down in the ninth.”
The Mountaineers built a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning until Cook hit a home run into left center field to give the Bucs their first score of the game, now trailing 2-1.
This was Cook’s fifth homerun this season.
After this home run, App State began to get quiet and allowed the Bucs to tag on three points, unanswered, going into the sixth inning.
All three runs resulted from a series Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) started in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Maher singled the ball he reached second base, Cook advanced to third and teammate Gilbert got to home base.
Immediately after, Maher scored and Cook also after a throwing error. The Bucs were now ahead 4-2.
The game came to a tie in the sixth inning after App State’s Matt Brill homered to center field to give teammate Chandler Seagle a score.
The seventh inning was scoreless.
In the eighth, ETSU’s Caleb Longley (Cleveland, Tenn.) singled to the right side of the field and allowed teammate Hunter Parker (Chattanooga, Tenn.) to reach home base. This would be the final score of the game.
After a shutout pitching performance by Maher and Cook, the Mountaineers were unable to score in the last three innings.
“The guy let off with a double, which is kind of scary,” Cook said. “But I just trusted my stuff, the next guy bunted and got out and I knew I had to make a pitch to get a strikeout. It was definitely nerve-racking though.”
The win against App State puts the Bucs at 14-12 for the season. Their next game will be against Southern Conference foe, Western Carolina, at Thomas Stadium for a three-game set starting on April 7 at 6:30 p.m.
“There’s definitely some areas we need to improve on, but overall I think we’re at a good spot and we’re ready to take a series at home,” Cook said.