Alex Reynolds helped Jacksonville get its first run, but he spent the rest of the night making up for it.
Reynolds went 3 for 4 and drove in a pair of runs, and Kerry Doane pitched his 11th complete game of the season, as the East Tennessee State baseball team beat the Dolphins 3-2 Thursday night at Thomas Stadium.
“Alex Reynolds had a great day,” ETSU coach Tony Skole said. “We talked about our seniors stepping up this weekend.”
Doane improved to 12-1. His 11 complete games tie the ETSU single-season record. He’s the first A-Sun pitcher with 12 wins since 2007. He gave up six hits and struck out five while lowering his ERA to 2.07.
“Just one of those nights,” Doane said. “Can’t always have your best stuff.
I can’t complain the way it ended. I’ll take it any day.”
ETSU improved to 30-22 overall, 15-10 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Jacksonville, still battling to qualify for the A-Sun tournament, fell to 17-36, 8-17.
Andrew Green’s sacrifice fly in the first inning gave the Bucs an early lead.
Ethan Loosen tied the game for Jacksonville in the fourth with an RBI double after a throwing error by Reynolds put a runner on second. It broke a streak of 19 scoreless innings for Doane.
“That throwing error, that hurt us,” Reynolds said. “Kerry just looked at me and pounded his chest like ‘Hey, you’ll be alright. You’re gonna get it back.’ ”
In the fifth inning, Dylan Dillard hammered a shot to left-center for his fifth home run of the season and a 2-1 Jacksonville lead. It was the second home run allowed by Doane all year.
Reynolds didn’t have to wait long to get his chance at redemption. After Derek Niesman reached second base on an error in the fifth, Reynolds drove him in with a solid single to center field to make it 2-2.
Reynolds did it again in the sixth, taking a 1-2 pitch hard up the middle for a run-scoring single. That turned out to be the winning run.
“He knows we’re just gonna battle together,” Doane said. “He made the plays after that. He got it back.”
Reynolds used a little defense in the eighth inning to protect the Bucs’ lead. With runners on first and second with one out, he fielded a hot smash and turned it into an inning-ending double play.
Doane got some more help from his defense. With two outs in the ninth, Jacksonville had a runner on second when Jake Huxtable hit a liner to center. Green, ETSU’s center fielder, got a good jump and made a diving catch to end the game as the tying run was rounding third.
“He’s something else,” Doane said. “He really tracks that ball down. He’s great at making diving catches. It makes you nervous seeing the tying run, but you know Andrew Green’s gonna catch it.”
As spectacular as Green‘s catch was, it has become almost routine for the speedy senior.
“It’s amazing,” Skole said. “That’s probably his 15th diving catch this year. He’s saved us so many runs out there this year.”
Green had an infield single in the eighth, stretching his streak of reaching safely to 17 games. He stole third later in the inning, giving him 20 stolen bases this year and moving him within three of the ETSU career record of 75.
Doane has won nine starts in a row. He wound up going 7-0 at home in eight starts.
The teams continue the series today at 7:05 p.m. The regular season ends Saturday with a 1:05 p.m. start.