March 29, 2018123456789RHE
Win: Austin Cox (6-0) 7.072228
Loss: Micah Kaczor (2-2) 6.085303
Jackson Ware (MER) 414400
Aaron Maher (ETSU) 523101
March 30, 2018123456789RHE
Win: Robert Broom (5-0) 4.100005
Loss: James Giambalvo (3-1) 1.021102
Drew Lingo (MER) 413211
Christian Bailey (ETSU) 412000
David Beam (ETSU) 402100
March 31, 2018123456789RHE
Win: Nick Spear (2-0) 2.100033
Loss: James Giambalvo (3-2) 1.025022
Alex Hanson (MER) 422010
RJ Yeager (MER) 512100
JT Thomas (MER) 422010
Trey Truitt (MER) 512100
Ben Jackson (ETSU) 501000
Chris Cook (ETSU) 311110
Caleb Longley (ETSU) 311210
Cade Gilbert (ETSU) 401100
Bucs host Mercer in highly anticipated series
Bucs host Mercer in highly anticipated series
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

SoCon favorite comes to Johnson City; Whiteout and Easter Egg Hunt promotions highlight weekend

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 27, 2018) – ETSU baseball will host its first conference series of the season this weekend, as SoCon preseason media favorite Mercer rolls into town March 29-31 for a highly anticipated matchup.

For the series opener Thursday night, fans are encouraged to wear white as part of ETSU’s whiteout promotion. After Saturday afternoon’s series finale, fans can join the Bucs on the baseball field immediately after the game for a special Easter egg hunt.

The Bears (20-6) and Bucs (14-7) are in the top half of the SoCon standings, as each have at least twice as many wins as losses this season. Each team won their opening series this weekend, as ETSU defeated Samford twice on the road while Mercer took two of three from Wofford in Macon.


Game Day Central

All three games will be broadcasted on the SoCon Digital Network with play-by-play announcer Mike Gallagher on the call. Live stats will also be available for the contests.

Game One:      Thu. March 29 at 6:30 p.m.     Cox (5-0, 4.99 ERA) vs. Kaczor (2-1, 4.45 ERA)

Stats:               Video:

Game Two:      Fri. March 30 at 6:30 p.m.      Burks (4-1, 5.34 ERA) vs. Simpler (2-2, 4.60 ERA)

Stats:               Video:

Game Three:   Sat. March 31 at 1 p.m.           Vann (2-1, 4.00 ERA) vs. TBA (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Stats:                 Video:


About the Bucs

Last night, the Bucs improved to 3-0 in midweek contests with a 12-4 win over UNC Asheville at Thomas Stadium. ETSU matched season highs with 16 hits and 12 runs in the win, adding the Bulldogs to its midweek wins over Tennessee and Eastern Kentucky.

Senior Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) and freshman David Beam (Knoxville, Tenn.) each led ETSU with three hits on the day. The three hits for Beam set a new career high.

Sophomore Cade Gilbert (Ringgold, Ga.) turned in a career day to highlight the offense, driving in four RBI and smashing his first career home run. Gilbert drove in the first run of the contest with an RBI single in the second inning, then later brought home three with a rocket liner to the fans in left field lounge.

Junior Daniel Sweeney (Johnson City, Tenn.) got the start in his hometown, turning in a career outing against UNC Asheville. He threw for five full innings, striking out seven hitters in the first three innings and finished with that amount. Both were career highs for the Science Hill graduate. He allowed two earned runs on three hits with just one walk, earning the win.

Last weekend, ETSU won its conference opening series against Samford last weekend in Birmingham, Ala. with a 7-4 win on Friday and a 2-1 win in the series finale Sunday. Samford took Game Two on Saturday afternoon, 6-2.

The series win marked the first for ETSU skipper Joe Pennucci, who is in his first season as a head coach.

Senior Caleb Longley (Cleveland, Tenn.) broke a 1-for-16 slump dating back two weeks in the game against Samford, returning to the lineup for the first time in three games to go 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and four RBI in the series opening win.

In the same game, freshman Ben Jackson (Guyton, Ga.) went 3-for-5 with a couple of RBI on a single. He also roped his first career double in the series finale and leads the Bucs with a .361 batting average and a .481 on-base percentage.

On the pitching side, ETSU found most of its success on Sunday. Starter Russell Koesters (Kingsport, Tenn.) picked up his first win of the season, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing just one run with four hits, one walk and two punchouts.

Senior Drew Korzybski (Knoxville, Tenn.) took over for Koesters and threw 3.2 hitless innings. He finished by allowing just two hits with no runs in 4.0 innings, one walk and two strikeouts for one of his career best long relief appearances.

Junior James Giambalvo (Alhambra, Calif.) had a noteworthy weekend as well, closing the door in the finale to earn the save. He also picked up his third win of the year in Game One to improve his record to 3-0. For the series, he threw 3.1 innings without allowing a hit, run or walk. Giambalvo now has an ERA of 1.62 through 16.2 innings.


Quick Facts

  • ETSU is outscoring opponents 23-1 in sixth innings this season.
  • Senior Chris Cook had an impressive 29-game reached base streak snap two weeks ago — a streak that dated back to the last 14 games of 2017. 
  • Aaron Maher had a similar streak snap in Game One against William & Mary, reaching in 24 straight games. He’s now reached in 30 of his last 32 games dating back to 2017.
  • Speaking of Cook and Maher, ETSU shook up the lineup Sunday against Samford. Cook batted third for the first time in his long ETSU career, while Maher led off for the first time in his four years.
  • The duo also hit back-to-back solo home runs against UNC Asheville, marking the first time since May 26, 2017 that two ETSU players had consecutive homers. Current senior Christian Bailey (Kingsport, Tenn.) and former Buc Blake Rowlett last did so for ETSU against VMI in the SoCon tournament.
  • ETSU holds an 11-0 record when scoring first.
  • The Bucs are 6-0 when scoring in the first inning.
  • The Blue and Gold are 9-1 when not playing the day before and are 6-1 in Friday games. 
  • Likewise, ETSU holds an 11-0 record when leading through six innings and 10-0 when leading through eight. 
  • ETSU will play its first Thursday game this week. Monday and Thursday are the only two days the Bucs have not been in action this season.


About Mercer

A proven powerhouse in recent history, Mercer is one of five school in Division I that have won at least 35 games eight seasons in a row coming into 2018 — joining Florida State, Vanderbilt, LSU and Coastal Carolina on the prestigious list.

The Bears come into the weekend winning eight of their last nine games, including last night’s 13-4 win over Florida A&M. The 2018 SoCon media favorite has a 20-6 record and are 16-4 at home. Last season, Mercer finished 39-17 and won its third consecutive SoCon regular season title while returning 24 letter winners from that squad.

The team holds key victories over the likes of Georgia Tech, Kansas State and Kennesaw State. Common opponents between ETSU and Mercer exist, as the Bears dispatched UNC Asheville and Eastern Kentucky each in three-game series with sweeps.

Senior All-American catcher J.T. Thomas and senior outfielder Trey Truitt lead the high powered offense who ranks third in the NCAA in scoring. Truitt is batting among the conference leaders with a .396 average while ranking first in homers with nine. Thomas is hitting .340 with 21 RBI.

Five starters are hitting at least .300 thus far for Mercer and eight hitters have at least 19 RBI for the team, led by RJ Yeager with 24.

Pitching wise, Mercer loves the strikeouts. Junior ace Austin Cox ranks second in the nation with 16.14 strikeouts per contest and is ninth nationally with 55 on the season. The lefty leads a Mercer pitching staff that leads the entire nation with 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings.


Series History

Through 45 all-time contests, Mercer holds a 30-15 advantage. The teams have met every season for at least three-game series since 2006 — both were members of either the A-SUN and SoCon at the same times in that span, meeting 41 of the 45 times the previous 11 seasons.

Although the teams have never met in SoCon postseason play, the Bucs and Bears faced off five times in ASUN tournament. Mercer took the first three, while ETSU took the final two in 2013 and 2014 — both team’s final seasons in the conference.

Mercer took last season’s series in Macon two games to one, as ETSU avoided the sweep with a 9-2 win led by Christian Bailey’s three-hit game. The last time the two squared off in Johnson City, Mercer swept the Bucs in three very close games, winning the games 7-5, 12-9 and 9-8.


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