JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 21, 2015) – Christin Stewart belted a pair of two-run home runs and Andrew Lee connected on a grand slam as Tennessee completed the season sweep by doubling up ETSU, 14-7, in front of 1,534 fans on Tuesday night at Thomas Stadium.
Despite plating runs in each of the first three innings and holding a 3-2 lead after four complete frames, the Bucs couldn’t hold the Volunteers in check as Tennessee went on to outscore ETSU, 12-4, en route to snapping its six-game losing streak.
Tennessee (16-20) outhit the Blue and Gold, 18-12, as six went for extra bases including a season-high four home runs.
ETSU (14-25) had five players finish with multi-hit games as Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.), Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.), Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.), Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.), and Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) all registered two hits each. Senior Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) drove in three of the Bucs’ seven runs.
Taylor, Sanford and Thompson all extended their respective streaks in the setback. Taylor, who has reached safely in 14 straight games, has also recorded a hit in his last eight contests, while Sanford has reached in 12 consecutive games and Thompson has accomplished the feat in his last 11.
Freshman right-hander Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.)suffered the loss (1-4) in the start as he allowed five runs on nine hits while striking out four in five innings. Jacob Westphal (1-1) tossed 3.2 innings out of the pen to earn the win. Westphal was charged with three runs on four hits and also struck out four.
Tennessee jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Stewart recorded the first of his two homers in the top of the first, but the Bucs rallied with solo runs in each of the first three innings to go ahead, 3-2. Phillips drove in the first-inning run when his RBI single up the middle scored Taylor, and Tucker plated the first of his three runs with an RBI ground out in the second. ETSU took its only lead in the third when Cook led off with a double and came home on York’s RBI single to center; however, the Bucs couldn’t increase the margin.
The Vols went ahead for good in the fifth when Stewart blasted his second round-tripper of the night and Lee recorded his grand slam an inning later, making it a 9-3 score.
The Bucs pulled within three, 9-6, courtesy of their three-run sixth as Tucker drove in two with an infield single and Taylor plated Nathan Millsap (Kingsport, Tenn.) with a two-out single to right-center, but with two outs Steven Kane relieved Westphal and struck out Cook to end any comeback threat.
Tennessee tacked on two runs in the seventh and eighth innings and capped off its scoring with a run in the ninth, whileAaron Maher’s (Brentwood, Tenn.) fielder’s choice RBI scored Phillips for ETSU’s final run in the seventh.
Chris Hall finished with a game-high four hits, while Nick Senzel and Stewart both notched three-hit games. Stewart (five RBI) and Lee (four RBI) accounted for nine of Tennessee’s 13 RBI. Brodie Leftridge added the fourth Volunteer home run in the seventh.
The Bucs return to action Wednesday night as ETSU heads to Rock Hill, S.C., for a 6 p.m. first pitch at Winthrop.