ASHEVILLE, N.C. - UNC Asheville scored four runs in the fifth inning as the Bulldogs rallied past East Tennessee State 7-3 Tuesday afternoon at Greenwood Field.
The Bulldogs (16-18) received standout relief pitching from four different hurlers as the Buccaneers (15-15) did not score after a two-run fifth inning where they took the lead 3-2.
Asheville was led at the plate by Hunter Bryant with three hits, while Patrick Koontz had two hits, two RBI and his second home run of the season. Cody Adkins also drove in two runs.
"This was a good win for us against a good East Tennessee State team," commented Bulldog coach Tom Smith. "We were able to put some hits together and did a nice job getting the lead back after we had given it back. I thought our pitching was really good today for the most part as our bullpen did a nice job.
Klint Davis (1-0) picked up his first win of the season as he came in the fifth inning with two on and nobody out and two runs for the Bucs as they led 3-2. He got a double-play ball and a ground-out to end the ETSU rally. Ethan Steible recorded the final two outs to earn his third save of the year.
Asheville trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the fifth but quickly rallied. Jordan Lurie opened the inning up with a double. He went to third on Eli Miller's single. Koontz then singled to right to score Lurie. The ball got away from right-fielder Andrew Green for an error, allowing Miller to score to give the Bulldogs the lead for good at 4-3. Koontz stopped at second.
One out later, Todd Joyner's sacrifice fly scored Koontz for a 5-3 Bulldog lead. Later in the inning, Adkins' RBI-single plated Aaron Wright for a 6-3 Asheville lead.
The Bulldogs picked up some insurance in the sixth. Lurie walked, stole second and went to third on a Miller ground-out. ETSU reliever Will Carter was attempting to intentionally walk Koontz but his second pitch was wild, scoring Lurie for a 7-3 lead.
Reliever Dillon Tabar pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning for the Bulldogs. He got one out in the ninth before giving up back-to-back singles. Steible relieved Tabar and got a strikeout before walking Corey McPherson to load the bases.
With the tying run at the plate, Steible induced Chris Riopedre to ground out and end a seven-game losing streak to ETSU dating back to the 2006 season.
The Bulldogs opened scoring in the first inning when Koontz hit a solo home run for a 1-0 Asheville lead.
ETSU (15-15) knotted things up in the fourth on Matthew Scruggs solo home run. It was his 12th of the season.
Adkins drove in Joyner on a sacrifice fly in the fourth to put the Bulldogs in front 2-1. The Bucs scored twice in the fifth on an RBI-double from Mason Hersey and a run-scoring single from McPherson.
UNC Asheville is back in action Wednesday night when the Bulldogs visit national power UNC Chapel Hill at 6 p.m.