March 22, 2019123456789RHE
Western Carolina2102120109151
Win: Zachary Kirby (1-1) 3.053313
Loss: Chase Walter (1-4) 0.212210
Luke Robinson (WCU) 504300
Cade Gilbert (ETSU) 423301
March 23, 2019123456789RHE
Western Carolina000000103490
Win: Landon Knack (5-0) 7.251116
Loss: Taylor Purus (1-2) 7.065556
Daylan Nanny (WCU) 502100
Matthew Koehler (WCU) 502000
Justice Bigbie (WCU) 412111
Jake Lyle (ETSU) 412200
March 24, 2019123456789RHE
Western Carolina0002001003120
Win: Daniel Sweeney (4-0) 6.062227
Loss: Joe Vranesic (1-1) 3.074411
Justice Bigbie (WCU) 412000
Will Prater (WCU) 512000
Andrew Robinson (WCU) 312110
Ethan Shelton (ETSU) 413100
Baseball opens conference play with Western Carolina
Baseball opens conference play with Western Carolina
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Bucs welcome improved Catamounts to Johnson City this weekend

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 21, 2019) – Coming off one of its hottest starts in history, the ETSU Baseball team will put its 14-5 record to the test as Southern Conference play begins this weekend at home against Western Carolina.

The Bucs, who are 12-1 at home following Tuesday’s loss to No. 22 Tennessee inside Thomas Stadium, open its most storied conference series with the Catamounts on Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m. Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m., while the series finale is scheduled for 1 p.m.


Game Day Central

The Friday and Sunday games will be streamed on SoCon Digital Network free of charge. Play-by-play announcer Mike Gallagher will have both calls. Live stats are made available for all three games.


GAME 1:          Stats:               Video:

GAME 2:          Stats:

GAME 3:          Stats:                Video:


Projected Starters

Fri: RHP Micah Kaczor (3-0, 1.71 ERA) vs. RHP Jack Snyder (0-0, 4.96 ERA)

Sat: RHP Landon Knack (4-0, 1.74 ERA) vs. LHP Taylor Purus (1-1, 7.33 ERA)

Sun: RHP Daniel Sweeney (3-0, 2.12 ERA) vs. TBA


Series History

Western Carolina is ETSU’s second-most storied opponent behind Appalachian State (136 games), as the Bucs and Catamounts have played in 105 all-time games.

WCU leads the series, 69-36, and ousted ETSU from the 2018 SoCon tournament in the last matchup in a tightly-contested 11-8 final.

The Bucs swept the regular season series in 2018 in Cullowhee, N.C., scoring at least 11 runs in all three contests. The Catamounts were ETSU’s lone conference sweep last season.

The last 16 games have been split down the middle, dating back to 2012. ETSU head coach Joe Pennucci owns a 3-1 record against the Catamounts.


About the Bucs

ETSU is off to its hottest start in program history, powered by four weekend sweeps at home over Iona, Wagner, LIU-Brooklyn and NJIT. The 12-1 home record is the best start in Thomas Stadium history, with the only loss coming this past Tuesday to No. 22 Tennessee.

The Bucs also rode a five-game winning streak into Tuesday’s marquee matchup, the first time winning five straight since March 4-10 last season. ETSU has also won seven of its last 10.

The Blue and Gold are seeking their third straight winning season this year and would do so for the first time since 1981-83 with a winning effort in 2019.

The Bucs have 25 newcomers in 2019, their largest turnover in the last 30 seasons and the most reported newcomers in the nation this year. ETSU also has its second-largest roster in that span with 10 returners, making up a 35-man roster.

Offensively, the Bucs are led by junior infielder Cullen Smith (Lebanon), who batted over .400 up until this week. He holds team-highs with a .391 average, 27 hits, seven doubles, four homers and 19 runs. Smith had a single-game high four RBI against NJIT last weekend.

The power bat of late has been junior Ethan Cady (Soddy Daisy). The cleanup man is tied for the team lead with four homers and has a team-best 19 RBI, following five driven in vs. NJIT this weekend. Cady, slugging .657, had two bombs against the Highlanders, one of which gave ETSU an eighth inning lead in a 3-2 victory.

On the mound, ETSU has used 13 pitchers and own a 3.60 ERA as a staff. Among those pitchers are weekend starters Micah Kaczor (Washington, D.C.), Landon Knack (Johnson City) and Daniel Sweeney (Johnson City) who each have ERA’s that rank top-10 in the Southern Conference. ETSU ranks first in the SoCon in team ERA.

Kaczor continues to hold down the ace role with a team-low 1.71 ERA and a 3-0 record. Kaczor leads the team in innings with 31.2 thrown so far and ranks third in the SoCon in ERA.

The Johnson City natives are just as solid in the Saturday and Sunday spots, as Knack leads ETSU with 37 strikeouts and a 1.74 ERA. Sweeney has a 2.12 ERA and had a career outing last weekend at Georgia State with 7.1 innings, no earned runs (one unearned) off two hits.


About Western Carolina

With a 10-8 record coming into the weekend, an improved Catamount team is one win away from tying last’s seasons win total.

The team has already surpassed its 7-45 regular season finish from 2018, building on its third place finish in last season’s conference tournament with four wins — three of which eliminated The Citadel, ETSU and UNCG.

The team returned 16 letter winners and six offensive starters, as well as two of its starting pitchers. Among those returners is sophomore Justice Bigbie, who leads a high-powered Catamount offense with a .406 average, 28 hits, five homers and 23 RBI.

The Catamount bats are second in batting average behind Wofford at .309, but lead the way in slugging percentage (.491), doubles (45) and triples (8). Five starters are hitting above .300.

Western Carolina has found itself in many high scoring affairs this season, bringing a 5.74 ERA into the weekend. The team is led by top reliever Zach Franklin with a 2.39 ERA through 26.1 innings.


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