JOHNSON CITY — A new coach and improved lineup didn’t matter. ETSU still had big brother’s number on the diamond.
The Buccaneers dug deep with their everyday shortstop and regular closer on the hill and took advantage of slim scoring opportunities in a 4-3 upset of the Tennessee Volunteers Wednesday night at Thomas Stadium.
In just his third career collegiate start, Kerry Doane, who had pitched 16.2 innings — all in relief — with four saves this season, gave up just two runs in a career-best 6.2-inning start to guide ETSU’s fifth consecutive win over Tennessee (20-13) dating back to 2009.
“When you play two games in the mid-week and have a conference weekend, you’ve got to try to find somebody to eat some innings up,” said ETSU coach Tony Skole, whose team improved to 16-15 with the win. “(Kerry’s) such a great competitor and a great leader for us. He just set the tone for us tonight.”
That tone was continued by the Bucs’ top starter Jake Long, who traded a scheduled bullpen session for a rare closing opportunity. Long capped Doane’s start with a 2.1-inning save, limiting the Vols to one run on one hit with three strikeouts.
“He was able to pitch out of some jams and get some big outs for us,” Skole said.
Offensively, Dylan Pratt was 2-for- 4 at the plate with a solo home run and RBI double to lead the Buccaneers (16-15), who were out-hit 8-5 by its opposition but had one less miscue in the playing field