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ETSU Power Show Beats Furman, 15-2

Furman designated hitter Jason Costa Buy Now
Jason Costa

JOHNSON CITY, TENN. -- Caleb Longley went 4-for-5, homered twice, including a grand slam, and drove in five runs, and East Tennessee State left the yard six times in beating Furman, 15-2, in the opening game of a Southern Conference baseball series Friday evening at Thomas Stadium.

The win halted a five-game series losing skid by East Tennessee State (26-19, 10-9 SoCon) to Furman (22-26, 7-12 SoCon) and marked the Paladins' third straight league defeat.

Longley gave ETSU a 1-0 lead with his SoCon leading 12th home run in the first inning and capped a seven-run Buccaneer fifth with a grand slam that put ETSU up, 12-2.

The Bucs trailed 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth when Paladin shortstop Brett Huebner misplayed a soft ground ball for an error. ETSU took advantage of the mistake to tie it on a Ben Jackson RBI single and later got a three-run home run from Chris Cook to complete the four-run frame for a 5-2 lead.

An inning later Aaron Maher led off the inning with a home run to right field, and he was followed with the long ball from Ethan Rice and Longley, part of a six-hit, seven-run frame that put the game on ice for the Bucs.

ETSU tacked on their final three runs in the sixth, helped by a Jackson Greer home run and a pair of triples that Paladin outfielders lost in the lights.

ETSU registered 11 extra base hits among its 17 hits, led by Longley's 4-for-5 performance that also featured a pair of doubles.  Five other Bucs tallied two-hit performances.

Furman managed only five hits, with Jason Costa's two-run home run in the second inning giving the Paladins a short-lived 2-1 advantage.

The ample run support made an easy winner of ETSU starting pitcher Micah Kaezor (5-4), who worked six innings, allowing two runs on five hits.  He walked two and struck out eight.

Nik Verbeke (5-4) took the loss after pitching into the fifth.  He was tagged for six runs, only two of which were earned, on eight hits, walked two, and fanned two.

The two teams play Saturday at 2:00 p.m.