MACON, Ga. (May 10, 2013) – Coach Skole refers to Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) as a warrior.
The senior right-hander provided the ETSU baseball team with another “warrior-like” performance as he delivered the Blue and Gold to a 1-0 win over No. 21 Mercer on Friday night at Claude Smith Field.
Doane held Mercer’s offense – which is one of the best in the country – to five hits en route to registering his fourth shutout of his career (all of which have come this season). Doane joins Jeff Andrews (1978-81) as the only other pitcher in ETSU history to toss four shutouts in both a season and a career (Andrews recorded his four shutouts in 1980). Doane improved to 11-1 on the campaign and is two wins shy of tying the Buccaneer single-season record for victories, while the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. native also struck out five Bear hitters and issued zero walks. In addition, Doane posted his 10th complete game Friday night, which is also one shy of tying Matt Baber (1999-2000) for the ETSU single-season mark. Baber tossed 11 complete games in 1999, while Caleb Glafenhein (2004-07) holds the single-season wins record at 13.
The Bears left runners in scoring position in the fourth and eighth innings, but ETSU plated the only run of the night when Mason Hershey’s (Altoona, Pa.) sacrifice fly to right scored pinch runner Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) in the seventh inning. From there, Doane retired nine of the final ten hitters he faced to clinch the Blue and Gold a spot in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Championship.
ETSU has now won seven of its last nine games and improved to 29-20, 14-8 in A-Sun play, while Mercer dropped back-to-back games for only the fourth time of the year and moved its mark to 37-14, 15-7. The Bucs moved back into a tie for third-place in the A-Sun standings after Florida Gulf Coast lost to North Florida, 8-7, in 11 innings, while the Blue and Gold still sit two games back of the league-leading Ospreys and one game back of Mercer for second. North Florida sits in first at 16-6, Mercer is second and ETSU and FGCU are tied for third.
In an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, Doane retired nine of the first ten hitters he faced to start the game, while Brandon Barker – who was dealt his first loss of the season – sent down nine of the first 13 Buccaneer batters.
Following the third inning, Mercer missed on the first scoring chance of the night when the Bears had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth; however, Doane kept his composure to work out of the inning unscathed. Chesny Young led off the inning with a single to center and moved to third on Nick Backlund’s one-out double to right-center, but the team who ranks seventh nationally with 7.5 runs per game couldn’t manufacture the key hit off Doane. The Buccaneer righty forced Logan Gaines into a shallow fly out to center and Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) tracked down another fly out to end the threat.
With the game still scoreless in the seventh, ETSU put its first runner on second base since Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) reached in the first inning when Andrew Lasure (Stanford, Ky.) laced a leadoff single to center, which led to Thompson entering as a pinch runner. After Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) failed on a sac-bunt attempt, Thompson moved into scoring position by stealing second and advanced to third on Alex Reynolds’ (Johnson City, Tenn.) single to left. From there, Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) reached on a fielder’s choice after he hit one right back to the mound, but Barker’s throw to second was high and Reynolds was called safe – leading to Hershey’s heroics on the next at-bat. With the bases loaded, Hershey sent a 0-1 pitch into right field and drove in Thompson to snap the scoreless affair, 1-0.
The Bears had one last chance in the eighth as Sasha Lagarde reached via a two-out single, while advancing all the way to third by stealing second and took another base on Hershey’s throwing error. Fortunately, the miscue didn’t come back to haunt the Bucs as Doane induced Young into an inning-ending grounder to short, and sent Mercer down in order to end the game, resulting in Mercer’s first shutout loss in conference play this season.
Barker saw his record drop to 6-1 despite allowing one unearned run on four hits in eight innings of work. Young finished with two of the five hits for the Bears.
Meanwhile, Green has now reached base safely in 14 straight games after generating a single in the third, while Niesman has hit safely in seven consecutive contests after going 2-for-4 on the night.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday night. Junior Logan Rice (Erwin, Tenn.) will get the start for the Blue and Gold, while Mercer counters with senior left-hander David Randall.
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