March 23, 2018123456789RHE
Win: James Giambalvo (3-0) 2.200002
Loss: Josh Rich (0-3) 1.211111
Caleb Longley (ETSU) 514401
Brooks Carlson (SAM) 411101
Max Pinto (SAM) 401000
Ayrton Schafer (SAM) 311010
Blaine Smith (SAM) 311201
March 24, 2018123456789RHE
Win: Samuel Strickland (3-0) 6.142206
Loss: Ryan Simpler (2-3) 6.095508
Chris Cook (ETSU) 502100
David Beam (ETSU) 412000
Branden Fryman (SAM) 524100
March 25, 2018123456789RHE
Win: Russell Koesters (1-0) 4.141112
Loss: Stephen Jones (1-4) 4.122223
Ben Jackson (ETSU) 301110
David Beam (ETSU) 211020
Taylor Garris (SAM) 302000
Baseball opens conference play at Samford
Baseball opens conference play at Samford
Thursday, March 22, 2018

ETSU ends seven-game road swing with SoCon opening series Friday

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 22, 2018) – The Southern Conference portion of the schedule officially kicks off tomorrow for the ETSU baseball team, as the Bucs travel to Birmingham, Ala. to face Samford March 23-25.

The series opener tomorrow is set for 7 p.m. and will mark the first Southern Conference contest for first-year ETSU head coach Joe Pennucci.

The Bucs conclude a seven-game road swing in the Yellowhammer State Sunday, a stretch that includes Tuesday night’s 9-6 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville that clinched the season series for ETSU.


Game Day Central

Game One:      Fri. March 23 at 7 p.m.                       Kaczor (2-1, 4.45 ERA) vs. Shelton (0-2, 2.96 ERA)

Stats:                  Video:

Game Two:      Sat. March 24 at 3 p.m.                      Simpler (2-2, 4.60 ERA) vs. Strickland (2-0, 1.25 ERA)

Stats:                 Video:

Game Three:   Sun. March 25 at 2 p.m.                     Koesters (0-0, 5.21 ERA) vs. Jones (1-3, 5.18 ERA)

Stats:              Video:


About the Bucs

For the second time in two tries, ETSU defeated the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville by taking a late lead. After scoring four ninth inning runs to win 10-9 the first time around, the Bucs exploded in the seventh with four runs to take a 9-6 lead.

For the second time in two contests with the Vols, hometown hero Jackson Greer (Knoxville, Tenn.) had a big hand in the win. From the nine hole, the sophomore catcher had a couple of hits, two runs and two RBI. Both RBI came in the third inning off a two-run bomb to left field.

The bottom of the order went a combined 4-for-6 on the day, as senior Hunter Parker (Chattanooga, Tenn.) went 2-for-2 with a couple of doubles, two walks and a hit by pitch —reaching in all five at bats and scoring a career-high four runs.

Senior Christian Bailey (Kingsport, Tenn.) added three hits and an RBI against the Vols. He now has a team-high batting average of .382 while leading the team with 26 hits, nine doubles and 20 RBI.

The trio of Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.), Ben Jackson (Guyton, Ga.) and Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) each boast batting averages above .300 as the one-two-three hitters for ETSU. This lineup arrangement began two games ago, moving Bailey to the cleanup spot.

The three ETSU weekend starters each displayed brilliance in their starts last weekend, as Micah Kaczor (Tampa, Fla.), Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) and Russell Koesters (Kingsport, Tenn.) each went at least six innings with one earned run or less allowed for quality starts.

Six ETSU pitchers took the bump in midweek action Tuesday, beginning with Johnson City native Daniel Sweeney (Johnson City, Tenn.) who earned his second career start.

The four-man group of Logan Gentry (Kingsport, Tenn.), Dom Stefanacci (Fort Myers, Fla.), James Giambalvo (Alhambra, Calif.) and Drew Korzybski (Knoxville, Tenn.) each pitched at least one inning without allowing an earned run in the contest.

Giambalvo picked up the win, helping the Bucs remain in striking distance in order to later take the lead with 2.0 scoreless innings and just two hits allowed. Korzybski picked up his first save of the season, pitching the last two innings allowing just one hit with no runs.


Quick Facts

  • ETSU is outscoring opponents 18-1 in sixth innings this season. The one run came against Tennessee Tuesday after 16 shutout games
  • Senior Chris Cook had an impressive 29-game reached base streak snap last weekend in the series finale — a streak that dated back to the last 14 games of 2017.
  • Aaron Maher had a similar streak snap in Game One against William and Mary, reaching in 24 straight games. He’s now reached in 27 of his last 28 games dating back to 2017.
  • ETSU ranks 32nd in strikeouts per nine inning with a mark of 9.8. The Bucs pitching staff has ranked in the top 20 in this stat all season prior to this week, ranking as high as second in the nation at 14.8.
  • ETSU holds an 8-0 record when scoring first.
  • The Bucs are 5-0 when scoring in the first inning.
  • The Blue and Gold are 7-1 when not playing the day before and are 5-1 in Friday games. The one loss each way came last weekend at William and Mary.
  • Likewise, ETSU holds an 8-0 record when leading through six innings and 6-0 when leading through eight.


About Samford

ETSU’s conference opening opponent from Birmingham, Ala. holds a 10-12 record on the season and has an early signature win over No. 22 UCF under its belt. The Bulldogs snapped a three-game win streak in its last outing, falling to Troy 14-2 in midweek action Tuesday.

As a team, Samford’s pitching has been the cornerstone this season. As a unit, the Bulldogs lead the SoCon after non-conference play with a 4.23 ERA in 22 games. The team is also second in the conference in strikeouts with 211.

Samford ace Cody Shelton, who is scheduled to pitch Friday, comes into the season as a preseason first team All-SoCon selection after tossing a 2.69 ERA in 63.2 innings in 2017. This year, Shelton owns a 2.96 ERA. Shelton will face former high school teammate Aaron Maher this weekend.

Saturday starter Samuel Strickland has the lowest ERA of the three at 1.25 through 21.2 innings and four starts. The true freshman has allowed just eight hits and six runs this season and garnered back-to-back SoCon Player of the Week Honors earlier this season.

Offensively, the Bulldogs are led by preseason All-SoCon second teamer Troy Dixon. The leadoff man has a team-high 23 hits with a .291 average. Dixon also ranks 10th in the NCAA and second in the SoCon in walks with 21.

Sophomore catcher Anthony Mulrine bats in the three-hole for the Bulldogs, racking up a tem-high 19 RBI with five homers. The SoCon All-Freshman led the conference last season with 27 runners caught stealing under his watch.


Series History

In 12 games, ETSU leads the all-time series over Samford 7-5. Among conference opponents, ETSU has faced Samford the least as the teams have only been together in the SoCon since 2015.

The first and only non-conference contest came in 2005, with ETSU earning the 11-6 win in Johnson City as a midweek contest. All other games have been in conference action, with ETSU holding the 6-5 edge.

The two squads have faced off in the conference tournament in back-to-back seasons, eliminating each other in consecutive seasons.

Samford knocked out the Bucs in 2016 with a 12-11 decision. Then, ETSU returned the favor last season with a 16-6 win to eliminate the Bulldogs and move on to the round before the championship.

The Bucs finished 3-1 against Samford last season, taking the series 2-1 in Johnson City before the tournament win in Greenville, S.C. Each regular season game between the two was decided by three runs or less.


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