MACON, Ga. (April 14, 2023) – ETSU’s recent string of eleventh-hour magic ran out in a series opening game at Mercer on Friday, as the Bucs’ ninth-inning rally was stymied in a 5-3 setback in Macon, Ga.
After back-to-back walk-off wins over Wofford and Radford to start the week, ETSU began the top of the ninth inning down 5-2 on Friday. ETSU’s two-out comeback rally felt strangely similar to Tuesday’s 6-5 win over Radford with a two-out walk to pinch hitter Jared Paladino (Levittown, N.Y.), a hit-by-pitch off Tommy Barth (Brecksville, Ohio) and an RBI single by Cody Miller (Rocky Point, N.Y.) to stay alive. Unlike Radford, Mercer was able to recover and strand the tying run on base, taking the tightly- contested opener.
The Bucs put together some early hits, but did break through until Miller, a true freshman, tallied two on the board with a two-run homer — the first of his young career. Miller added his fourth hit of the day in the ninth inning rally with a single to left field. The Rocky Point, N.Y. native went 4-for-5 with three singles, including one of his trademark bunt singles, and three RBIs. Today was the 10th multi-hit game for Miller and his first game with four hits.
ETSU’s other four hits on the day came on multi-hit days from Barth and junior infielder Justin Hanvey (Purcellville, Va.), who made his first start at second base on Friday. Barth’s first two at-bats went for a single and a double, while Hanvey had back-to-back singles to go 2-for-3.
Despite the loss, the Bucs had solid production on the mound to keep the game tight via starter Landon Smiddy (Knoxville, Tenn.) and reliever Colby Stuart (Elon, N.C.). Smiddy allowed just three runs in 5.0 innings — one short of a quality start — while Stuart finished the final three innings with two unearned runs allowed. The duo combined for eight strikeouts — four apiece — and just one walk while scattering eight hits.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win – Colton Cosper (3-2)
Loss – Landon Smiddy (3-6)
Save – None
ETSU: 15-16, 2-5 SoCon
Mercer: 22-13, 4-3 SoCon
The Bucs will look to even the series tomorrow at 2 p.m. at OrthoGeorgia Park.