JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 1, 2023) – Ashton King and the Bucs were not fooling around today.
Senior shortstop Ashton King (Knoxville, Tenn.) tied a pair of school records with three home runs and eight RBIs and the ETSU baseball team set a new season-high with 22 hits in a 17-10 victory over Seton Hall in a windy “Saturday Slugfest” inside Thomas Stadium.
Heading into the seventh inning stretch with the score knotted up 9-9, ETSU rallied for eight runs and never looked back. Today’s win tied the series which will be decided tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at Thomas Stadium.
King became the second player in ETSU history to drive home eight runs, tying the record set by Mike Ellzey on April 1, 1978 — exactly 45 years ago. He also joined four other players — Dylan Pratt, Paul Hoilman, Bo Reeder and Chad Boruff — as the only Buccaneers to smash three homers in a game. Boruff was the first player to do it — exactly 23 years ago on April 1, 2000. Hoilman is currently the only player to do it twice, doing so in 2008 and 2010.
According to available records, King is the first player in school history to hit three homers and drive in eight runs in a single game. All eight RBIs came off homers — a three-run shot in the second inning, a two-run shot in the third inning and a three-run shot in the seventh.
𝐇𝐀𝐕𝐄 𝐀 𝐃𝐀𝐘, 𝐀𝐒𝐇𝐓𝐎𝐍 𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆 👑@ashtonking1012 hits his 3rd homer and has his 8th RBI to tie a pair of school records!— ETSU Baseball (@ETSU_Baseball) April 1, 2023
Last time an ETSU player had 3 HRs - 2012
Last time an ETSU player had 8 RBIs - 1978#BucsBaseball // #ETSUTough pic.twitter.com/SkEZxcFww2
The strong wind played a big role in the long ball, as both teams clubbed four homers. The other ETSU home run came off the bat of Garett Wallace (Sanford, Fla.) who smashed one to left field just as a train chugged behind the right field wall.
After a brilliant relief outing on Tuesday at Radford, junior Cade Carlson (Carmel, Ind.) did more of the same to finish out Saturday’s win. He went 3.1 innings with just one run allowed on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts to improve to 2-0 — both wins coming this week.
Prior to Carlson earning the win, the duo of Austin Emener (Macon, Ga.) and Andrew Cotten (Lexington, S.C.) combined for 11 strikeouts over 5.2 innings to send the crowd home with free queso from Moe’s Southwest Grill in Johnson City. The staff set a new single-game season-high with the 15 strikeouts.
The game did not start favorably for ETSU, as Seton Hall jumped on the board first with a solo homer from Oscar Murray in the second at-bat of the game. Outside of that, Emener struck out the side to allow his team to bat. The second inning is where ETSU would take its first lead on the first of three homers from King.
Seton Hall tied things back up again in the third with a two-RBI double to make it 3-3. The tie was broken in the bottom half and Wallace and King both went deep towards University Edge Apartments to make it 7-3 heading into the middle innings.
Both teams added runs in the fourth, as a solo homer by the Pirates made it 7-4. The Bucs added two more in the bottom half, starting with a stolen base by Cameron Sisneros (Littleton, Colo.) to allow Tommy Barth (Brecksville, Ohio) to score from third on the throw down to second. Wielding a hot bat as of late, Nick Iannantone (Plainfield, Ill.) added one more for ETSU with an RBI double to score Sisneros.
Seton Hall rallied back in the next two innings to make it 9-9, including a solo homer in the fifth and four unearned runs in the sixth. ETSU attempted to break the tie in the bottom of the sixth, with back-to-back singles by Wallace, Iannantone and Noah Webb (Kodak, Tenn.) to force a pitching change. That move paid off in the short term, as all three runners were stranded on base.
ETSU remedied this in the seventh inning following a shutout inning from Carlson, as catcher Ryan McCarthy (Knoxville, Tenn.) started a rally with a ground rule double that bounced off the ground in left center and hit off the scoreboard. The heavy winds continued to aid the Buccaneer offense, as Sisneros brought home McCarthy with a go-ahead RBI double. After that, Wallace brought home Cody Miller (Rocky Point, N.Y.), who walked his way one and came in from third.
Webb kept the rally going with a two-RBI single to drive in Sisneros and Wallace, setting up King to bust it open even more with his third homer of the day. After batting around, ETSU put the cherry on top of the rally with an RBI single from Miller to drive home McCarthy.
Seton Hall had another solo homer in the ninth, but it would not be enough as Carlson got a pair of strikeouts and made a tough catch near the mound, fighting the wind and falling on his back with the ball for an exciting final out.
In perhaps the best offensive day of the season, all 10 players that came to the plate for ETSU recorded a hit. Seven of the 10 finished with multi-hit days, led by Iannantone with a 4-for-5 day. Wallace, Sisneros and King had three-hit days, while Miller and Webb were joined by Ethan Plyler (Lexington, S.C.) with two-hit days. Barth and McCarthy each had hits, as well as Jared Paladino (Levittown, N.Y.) who landed a double during a pinch hit appearance in the eighth.
In total, ETSU finished with a season-high 38 total bases on four homers, four doubles and a load of singles. King accounted for eight of the runs, while Webb and Wallace combined for five RBIs.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win – Cade Carlson (2-0)
Loss – Brennan O’Neill
Save – None
Seton Hall: 11-13
The series finale is set for an early start, as the Bucs and Pirates settle things tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at Thomas Stadium.
Sunday’s promotion is a “First Pitch Giveaway” where fans can enter their name for an opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a future ETSU baseball game.