April 29, 20221234567891011RHE
Win: Jackson Kelley (6-0) 3.010013
Loss: Matt Bollenbacher (4-1) 3.156606
Angelo DiSpigna (MER) 522100
David Burke (MER) 522301
Jozsef Rohrbacher (MER) 512201
Tommy Barth (ETSU) 513101
Kirby Ties Career-High Punchouts, Mercer Escapes in Extras
Kirby Ties Career-High Punchouts, Mercer Escapes in Extras
Friday, April 29, 2022

Seven strikeouts over 7.1 innings, two earned runs and no walks

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 29, 2022) – Zach Kirby (Upland, Calif.) showed his best against one of the best offenses in the nation.

In their fifth extra-inning game of the season, Mercer stole game one of a three-game set at Thomas Stadium against the Bucs 10-3 in 11 innings. Kirby, who was dealt a no-decision, went 7.1 innings while striking out seven and giving up just two earned runs. Kirby’s seven strikeouts match his career-high set in 2020 in a five-inning outing against Georgia State (3/1/20).

After Mercer plated the first run of the game, the Buccaneer bats came out firing. Tommy Barth (Brecksville, Ohio) belted his fifth home run of the season to deep left-center, and Bryce Hodge (Knoxville, Tenn.)hammered his 11th of the campaign just a few pitches later. Last weekend, Barth and Hodge went back-to-back in the finale of a three-game set against VMI.

A groundout-RBI from Justin Hanvey (Purcellville, Va.) paved the way for a two-run lead for Kirby, who was fresh off retiring his last seven batters. Following the seventh inning, Kirby had retired 15 of his last 17 batters as the only two put up solo home runs from a team that sits in the top-5 in the nation in that category.

After Mercer tied it at three, the bottom of the seventh saw a crucial turning point. After getting a baserunner on in every inning prior, Cam Norgren (Cary, N.C.) wanted to give ETSU the lead himself. Norgren blasted his 1-1 pitch to straight-away center, only to be robbed by Mercer’s Bill Knight. Through 38 games, this was ETSU’s first home run that was robbed.

Kirby gave way to Matt Bollenbacher (Powder Springs, Ga.), who only needed three pitches to get two outs in the eighth. Bollenbacher would retire the first nine he faces, racking up six strikeouts in the process to keep ETSU in it.

Looking to go for the walk-off, Ryan McCarthy (Knoxville, Tenn.) barreled the 1-2 pitch to left field in the ninth, only to be corralled by Mercer’s left fielder. ETSU would only get two runners on in the final three innings off Mercer’s Jackson Kelley.

Following a double off the third-base bag and a line drive right back to Bollenbacher, Mercer would go on to score seven runs in the top of the eleventh.

Today’s game saw just one total walk, given to Hodge in the ninth inning with two outs off Jackson Kelley. The Bucs fall to 2-3 in extra-inning games, all of which coming at home.

Pitchers of Record

  • Win: Jackson Kelley 6-0
  • Loss: Matt Bollenbacher 4-1
  • Save: N/A

Game Leaders


  • Barth | 3-for-5, HR, 2 2B
  • Green | 2-for-5
  • Hodge | 1-for-4, HR, BB
  • Beam | 1-for-5, R
  • Kirby | ND, 7.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 109 P


  • Burke | 2-for-5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Rohrbacher | 2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
  • DiSpigna | 2-for-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R
  • Lobus | 7.0 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 98 P
  • Kelley | 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 43 P


  • Following a first-inning double, Barth extended his hitting streak to 15 games, one shy of matching Chris Cook’s streak of 16 as the longest hitting streak by a freshman since 2014. Barth finished the game 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a home run, his second three-hit game during this streak.
  • ETSU has homered in eight consecutive games and 12 consecutive home games.
  • After starting the season 5-10 in stolen bases, second-to-last in the nation, the Bucs have recorded a successful stolen base in their last seven attempts. This span only reaches their last four games.
  • The Bucs fall to 18-6 when their opponent strikes out more times offensively, the first loss in conference play. ETSU’s pitching generated 13 strikeouts compared to 11 by Mercer.
  • For the second time this season, ETSU’s pitching staff did not walk a batter. The first came in a 5-3 loss at #25 Wofford to open the weekend.
  • With a ten-hit performance, the Bucs have double-digit hits in their last ten home games and 13 of the last 15. ETSU has 18 total double-digit hit games at home.

Record Update

  • ETSU: 24-14 (6-4 SoCon)
  • MER: 34-8 (8-2 SoCon)

Up Next

The Bucs look to even the series tomorrow afternoon with a 2:00 p.m. first pitch at Thomas Stadium. The game will be streaming on ESPN+.

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