JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 23, 2017) – ETSU will open the Southern Conference Baseball Tournament presented by Holston Gases on Wednesday, May 24 at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. at 4 p.m. as the Bucs take on Western Carolina.
RHP Blake Smith (4-6, 5.08 ERA) vs. LHP Bryan Sammons (8-3, 3.08 ERA)
The first round of the Southern Conference Tournament will be streamed on the SoCon Digital Network and live stats will also be provided. The links for the game can be found to the right of the page.
The winner will play the winner of the No. 3 UNCG/No. 6 Samford game, while the loser will play the loser of the Spartans and Bulldogs.
About the Bucs
ETSU concluded its regular season with a 27-27 overall record including a 9-15 Southern Conference record. The Bucs are clicking at the right time as they have won seven of the last nine games including five straight SoCon games.
The Bucs and Catamounts have met 100 times on the diamond including seven times in the Southern Conference Tournament. The last time the two teams met in the postseason was in 1999 where Western Carolina narrowly upended the Bucs 7-5 in Charleston, S.C., and the last time ETSU defeated Western Carolina in the postseason was in 1995 in Charleston where the Bucs downed the Catamounts 6-1.
On Monday, two Buccaneers were awarded All-Conference awards – Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Cullen Smith (Lebanon, Tenn.). Owenby earned two First Team honors – the Coaches All-Southern Conference Team and Sports Media Association All-Conference Team, and Smith was tabbed to the All-Freshman Team.
ETSU and Western Carolina met earlier this year where the Catamounts snuck out three victories in Johnson City, Tenn. The Bucs took the Catamounts into 12 innings in game one of the series where the Blue and Gold out-hit the visitors 11-8 at Thomas Stadium. Owenby recorded three singles and two runs scored while Christian Bailey (Kingsport, Tenn.) totaled a pair of base knocks including a double and two RBIs. Bailey and Owenby finished the series with 11 combined hits including two home runs and two doubles.
Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) posted the strongest outing against the Catamounts as he twirled eight innings while scattering six hits and striking out nine batters in the Friday game of the series. Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) had two appearances where he tossed 4.2 innings of unearned ball while striking out a pair of Catamounts, and Peyton Taylor (Kingsport, Tenn.) tossed two innings where he allowed an unearned run while striking out one.
Scouting the Catamounts
Western Carolina enters the postseason with a 28-26 overall record and a 15-8 SoCon mark. In neutral site games, the Catamounts are 1-4 where they participated in the Caravelle Resort’s “Baseball at the Beach” and Keith LeClair Classic. The Catamounts concluded the regular season with a 5-5 record in the last 10 games including winning the series at Mercer.
Five Catamounts were named to the All-Southern Conference teams. Headlining the awards for Western Carolina was Co-Player of the Year Bryson Bowman. He along with Nobu Suzuki earned First Team honors on the Coaches All-Southern Conference while Sammons and Brett Pope were tabbed on the Second Team Coaches All-SoCon. Andrew Robinson rounded out the postseason awards for Western Carolina as he was named to the All-Freshman Team.
Bowman leads the Catamount offense as he is connecting with a .389 batting average in 54 starts. He has recorded 82 hits along with 15 doubles, two triples and 11 homers. He has tallied 59 RBIs along with 51 runs scored while drawing 36 walks. Pope is right behind his teammate with a .349 batting average including 82 hits with 12 doubles, three triples and four homers. He leads the team with 57 runs scored and 15 stolen bases.
Sammons is the main starter for Western Carolina as he is 8-3 on the year in 14 starts. He has totaled 99.1 innings while limiting opponents to a .219 batting average while striking out 102 batters. Korey Anderson is the primary reliever for the Catamounts as he has appeared in 28 games and sports a 3.02 ERA and a 0-1 record. He has totaled 41.2 innings while striking out 43 opponents.
In the series between ETSU and Western Carolina earlier in the year, Pope knocked six hits in the three-game series including a double and a home run. Cameron Blaquiere played in all three games including two starts where he tallied five hits with four going for extra-bases. He led the team with seven RBIs and a 1.625 slugging percentage.
B.J. Nobles and Anderson appeared in two games each out of the bullpen with Nobles posting a 0.00 ERA while Anderson recorded a 2.08 ERA. Nobles twirled four innings without allowing a run and struck out six. Anderson didn’t allow a walk in 4.1 innings of work and struck our four Buccaneers.
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