February 28, 2023123456789RHE
Appalachian State000000000062
Win: Owen Kovacs (1-0) 4.040003
Loss: Trey Tujetsch (0-1) 5.041112
Jonathan Xuereb (APP) 302000
Ethan Plyler (ETSU) 412000
Buccaneer baseball blanks Mountaineers, 5-0
Buccaneer baseball blanks Mountaineers, 5-0
Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Four ETSU pitchers combine for shutout of App State

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 28, 2023) – ETSU baseball hosted its oldest rival on Tuesday for the first home midweek game of the season, handing previously-unbeaten Appalachian State its first loss of the season with a 5-0 shutout victory at Thomas Stadium.

ETSU (4-4) used four pitchers on Tuesday and allowed just six hits on the day without any walks. The staff combined for 10 strikeouts on the day, ending a seven-game win streak for Appalachian State to drop them to 7-1 overall. That was the longest season-opening win streak for App State since 2010.

After starting last Friday at Georgia Southern, senior Nathanial Tate (Manchester, Tenn.) got the start today and pitched a 1-2-3 inning over just 10 pitches, exiting the game after that inning in a planned one-inning start.

Taking over for Tate in the second inning was senior Owen Kovacs (Knoxville, Tenn.), who earned his first win of the season after 4.0 innings of work. Kovacs allowed just four hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Behind him was Walters State transfer Nathan Hickman (Lenoir City, Tenn.) with 3.1 brilliant innings, allowing just one hit with four punchouts.

True freshman lefty Derek McCarley (Seymour, Tenn.) came on to relieve Hickman after Hickman struck out the only batter he faced in the ninth. McCarley allowed a single, but then forced a flyout and caught a batter looking at strike three to end the game in a shutout for the staff.

The offense got the only run it truly needed in the first frame, as leadoff man Tommy Barth (Brecksville, Ohio) churned out a hustle double with a ball that fell in center field and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Garett Wallace (Sanford, Fla.) in the three hole. Barth moved up to third on a deep flyout by Ashton King (Knoxville, Tenn.) to set up the run-scoring opportunity.

Though unneeded, ETSU added insurance in the seventh and eighth innings with a pair of runs in each frame. King drove home Barth and starting second baseman Ethan Plyler (Lexington, S.C.) with an RBI double into the right-center gap, working a 3-2 count with two outs to stay alive in the seventh. The runners were on first and second but were on the move with the payoff pitch.

Plyler — making his first collegiate start — led ETSU’s efforts with two of the team’s seven hits. His first collegiate hit came in the second inning — a single through the left side — while his second hit came on a leadoff single in the seventh.

In the eighth, designated hitter Jared Paladino (Levittown, N.Y.) hit a single and was subbed out for freshman Kain Collins (Kingston, Tenn.) to pinch run. Making his collegiate debut, Collins moved up to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on a throwing error for his first collegiate run. Junior Nick Iannantone (Plainfield, Ill.) was the final run, reaching on a walk, stealing second and later scoring on a wild pitch.

Barth and King each had doubles on the day, while Paladino, true freshman Cody Miller (Rocky Point, N.Y.) and graduate catcher Marshall Awtry (Wilmington, Del.) each added singles. Miller’s came on a perfectly-placed bunt down the third base line, while Awtry’s came on a single to left field.



ETSU: 4-4

App State: 7-1



Win – Owen Kovacs (1-0)

Loss – Trey Tujetsch (0-1)

Save – None



The Bucs are back at Thomas Stadium for a three-game series this weekend against Marist. First pitch in the series opener is set for Friday, March 3 at 3 p.m. 

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