April 08, 2022123456789RHE
Western Carolina020010000365
Win: Matt Bollenbacher (4-0) 4.020007
Loss: Zach Franklin (1-1) 2.032201
Tommy Barth (ETSU) 512100
Bryce Hodge (ETSU) 512100
Cam Norgren (ETSU) 412000
David Beam (ETSU) 412000
Immanuel Wilder (WCU) 412000
Two-Run Ninth Supports Bollenbacher’s Relief, Bucs Take Conference Opener
Two-Run Ninth Supports Bollenbacher’s Relief, Bucs Take Conference Opener
Friday, April 8, 2022

Barth and Hodge with RBIs in the ninth, Bollenbacher strikes out seven

CULLOWHEE, N.C. (April 8, 2022) – On frigid North Carolina spring night, Matt Bollenbacher (Powder Springs, Ga.) was on fire.

The Bucs took game one of a three-game series at Western Carolina 5-3 following a two-run ninth after no scoring from the sixth to eighth innings. Tonight’s win is the smallest margin of victory since a 2-1 win against Rider in the first game of a doubleheader over the Broncs on March 11.

Following a two-run second inning by Western Carolina, ETSU strung together a two-out rally aided by a Catamount error. Bryce Hodge (Knoxville, Tenn.) extended his streak of reaching base to his last seven plate appearances on that error, and Cam Norgren (Cary, N.C.) singled Hodge to third and came into second behind him. Noah Webb (Kodak, Tenn.) then recorded his two RBIs of the day on one swing to tie the game on a full count.

Logen Sutton (Knoxville, Tenn.) corralled his fourth RBI of the season to put ETSU ahead, but Western Carolina responded right back with the lone home run of the game, a solo shot to right. Zach Kirby (Upland, Calif.) got out of that same inning but finished his outing with three earned runs through five.

Following a career-long outing in relief, Bollenbacher got his name called and shined again. After throwing five innings on Sunday against Baylor, Bollenbacher through four innings without giving up a run or walk while striking out seven, a career-high. Bollenbacher, who earned the win in relief, has earned each of his four wins in relief after starting opening day.

Tied at three into the ninth, Hodge and Tommy Barth (Brecksville, Ohio) didn’t like the idea of extra innings in the low-30s. After Sutton singled to lead off the inning and Ashton King (Knoxville, Tenn.) bunted him over, Barth laced a base knock right back up the middle to give ETSU the lead. As Barth managed to get to third on Western’s fifth error of the game, Hodge delivered an RBI double in the next at-bat to give ETSU more insurance. Bollenbacher worked around a two-out double to strike out a pair and end any threat.

In the three weekends where ETSU has won the first game, the Bucs have taken the remaining two, sweeping Northern Kentucky and George Washington while taking two from Rider and one from UNC Asheville in one weekend.

Only four of ETSU’s 18 wins on the season have been decided by two or fewer runs.

Pitchers of Record

  • Win: Matt Bollenbacher 4-0
  • Loss: Zach Franklin 1-1
  • Save: N/A

Game Leaders


  • Barth | 2-for-5, RBI, R
  • Hodge | 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, R
  • Webb | 1-for-5, 2 RBI
  • Beam | 2-for-4, 2B, R
  • Bollenbacher | W, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, 52 P


  • Wilder | 2-for-4, R
  • Ketterman | 1-for-3, HR
  • Matthews | 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 108 P


  • After going four innings without surrendering a run, Matt Bollenbacher has not given up an earned run in his last 16.2 innings pitched. Bollenbacher sits 4-0 with a 2.81 ERA on the season.
  • With another double-digit hit game tonight, the Blue & Gold have 17 on the season, including 11 in their last 13 matchups.
  • Hodge reached base safely in seven consecutive plate appearances, dating back to Sunday against Baylor, before striking out in the fifth. In that span, Hodge went 5-for-6 with two home runs, one double, two singles, a walk, and reached on an error.
  • King’s hitting streak of nine-consecutive games snapped tonight after going 0-for-4. Beam’s hitting streak is up to seven while Webb sits at 12-consecutive games on-base.
  • In his four innings of work, Bollenbacher retired the first eight batters he saw, forcing four fly outs and one groundout to his seven strikeouts. Bollenbacher has recorded at least six strikeouts in three of his last four relief appearances, going at least three innings in all four.
  • The Bucs have won the first conference game of the season in four of the last five seasons (No conference play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • ETSU improves to 3-4 when their opponent scores first.

Record Update

  • ETSU: 18-8 (1-0 SoCon)
  • WCU: 14-16 (0-1 SoCon)

Up Next

The two mountain rivals will take on game two of this three-game set in Cullowhee tomorrow afternoon with first pitch set for 3:00 p.m. The game will be streaming on ESPN+.

For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball page.