|April 29, 2023||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: Austin Emener (2-4)||5.0||5||3||0||1||5|
|Loss: Kyle Riesselmann (1-3)||0.1||5||8||8||2||0|
|Jack Spyke (WCU)||5||1||4||2||0||0|
|Tommy Barth (ETSU)||5||3||3||3||0||1|
|April 29, 2023||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: Nathanial Tate (6-3)||8.0||2||1||1||6||10|
|Loss: Nick Torres (3-3)||2.1||6||3||3||0||2|
|Pascanel Ferreras (WCU)||3||1||1||1||1||1|
|Kenny Leiner (WCU)||2||0||1||0||1||0|
|Noah Gent (ETSU)||4||1||3||3||0||1|
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 29, 2023) – After a close loss in yesterday’s series opener against Western Carolina, the ETSU baseball team came back with a vengeance in Saturday’s doubleheader to tie and win the Southern Conference series at Thomas Stadium.
The first game of the doubleheader started with a nine-run first inning by ETSU and ended with the Bucs holding off a surging Catamounts for a 14-13 victory. With the series tied, the Blue and Gold dominated the nightcap with an 8-1 victory behind more strong hitting and a brilliant performance on the mound from starter Nathanial Tate (Manchester, Tenn.) that included 8.0 innings and over 130 pitches.
With the series win, ETSU moves up another spot in the SoCon standings with a 6-9 record — a half-game back of UNCG for fifth place and 1.5 games back from VMI. Both UNCG and VMI remain on ETSU’s schedule. Meanwhile, with the series loss, Western Carolina falls to 5-9 — a half-game behind the Bucs.
GAME 1 — ETSU 14, Western Carolina 13
ETSU got off to its best start in a game this season, posting six runs its first time through the lineup and nine runs by the end of the first inning. But what was an 11-1 lead after two innings quickly turned back into a ball game again.
Western Carolina was able to turn a couple of two-out errors into eight runs —seven of which were unearned — to make it 11-9 in the third inning. The big cherry on top of this inning came in the form of a three-run homer by Brandon Butterworth to force a pitching change.
That pitching change came in the form of left-hander Austin Emener (Macon, Ga.) who pitched 5.0 innings without an earned run and kept his team ahead the rest of the way. The only unearned runs came in the eighth inning, turning ETSU’s 14-9 lead into a tighter 14-12 lead. Freshman closer Derek McCarley (Seymour, Tenn.) came on to close and allowed just one run in the ninth, but stranded the go-ahead run on base to win it for the Bucs and earn his third save of the season.
ETSU’s offense came in the form of 12 hits — three of which came off the bat of Tommy Barth (Brecksville, Ohio) who moved out of the leadoff spot for the first time in 60 games and thrived with three RBI, three runs scored and his second homer of the season.
Another hot bat for the Bucs was Nick Iannantone (Plainfield, Ill.), who finished the day back above a .400 batting average for the season. In the opener, he had two hits, three runs scored and three RBI thanks to a double and a homer.
ETSU’s first inning onslaught was started by new leadoff hitter Cody Miller (Rocky Point, N.Y.) who reached on a perfectly-placed bunt single and came around to score on a Garett Wallace (Sanford, Fla.) RBI single. After that, Wallace and Iannantone were both brought in by cleanup man Cameron Sisneros (Littleton, Colo.) on a single up the middle. Those four guys atop the order accounted for six of the 12 hits and nine of the 14 runs.
Barth added to the nine-run inning with an RBI single, then outfielder Leo Jiminian (Saint-Lo, France) came through with the bases loaded with a two-RBI single through the left side. Jiminian finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, adding an RBI double in the sixth to score Barth.
The final three runs of the first inning came on a no-doubter over the right-center wall by Iannantone, clearing the bases and pushing the lead to 9-0 through one inning. Barth made it 11-1 in the second with his homer to right field.
After WCU made it a two-run game again, Wallace came through with an RBI double down the left field line in the third, bringing in Iannantone who put himself abord with a double near the opposite line just one at-bat prior. After Jiminian’s run in the sixth, Ashton King (Knoxville, Tenn.) accounted for the final run with an insurance RBI base knock.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win – Austin Emener (2-3)
Loss – Kyle Riesselmann (1-3)
Save – Derek McCarley (3)
GAME 2 — ETSU 8, Western Carolina 1
The rubber match of the series did not provide as much drama as the first two games of the series, ending with a clear-cut victory for the Bucs.
Following a shutout performance last week at The Citadel worthy of both conference and national player of the week recognition, Nathanial Tate (Manchester, Tenn.) twirled another outstanding outing with just one run allowed on two hits over 8.0 innings. Though he walked six batters, Tate finished with 10 strikeouts and sent the fans home happy with free queso from Moe’s Southwest Grill.
The only run came via a solo homer from SoCon Preseason Player of the Year Pascanel Ferreras. That run only put a small dent into a 5-0 deficit which later turned into an 8-1 victory and a series win for the home team.
With that lead and over 130 pitches thrown, Tate handed the ball to 2022 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American Andrew Ronne (Athens, Tenn.) who struck out the side in the ninth on just 15 pitches in a dominant ninth inning.
ETSU had fewer runs than it did in game one of the doubleheader, but produced three more hits with 15 on the day. Leading the charge in the nightcap was Noah Gent (Corryton, Tenn.) who reached in all of his plate appearances and finished with three hits — a single, a double and a three-run homer in the third inning.
The Bucs threatened in the second inning with three singles from King, Gent and catcher Ryan McCarthy (Knoxville, Tenn.), but WCU stranded all three Tennessee natives on base with a lineout to left field. ETSU got over the hump in the third inning and plated five runs behind an RBI single by Sisneros to bring in Miller, an RBI double by Barth to bring in Sisneros, then the three-run tank by Gent. ETSU had five runs and five hits in the inning.
After WCU scored its lone run in the fourth, ETSU canceled it out right away with an RBI single by Wallace in the bottom half. This brough in Miller for a second time, who finished with two singles and scored after both of them.
Tate went to work after that, keeping his team in the lead with a comfortable lead. That lead was padded in the eighth with two more insurance runs courtesy of King, bringing home Sisneros and Iannantone from scoring position. King, Barth, Gent, Sisneros, Iannantone and Miller all had multi-hit games. Miller has hit safely in 24 of the last 25 games, including eight straight in his current streak.
To wrap up the series, ETSU finished by turning five double plays — three on Friday and one in each game Saturday. Additionally, ETSU did not hit into any double plays offensively.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win – Nathanial Tate (6-3)
Loss – Nick Torres (3-3)
Save – None
Another SoCon Series Win ✅— ETSU Baseball (@ETSU_Baseball) April 30, 2023
Andrew Ronne strikes out the side in the ninth inning and ETSU takes two of three from Western Carolina with a doubleheader sweep!
We're on the road this coming Tuesday at App State.#BucsBaseball // #ETSUTough pic.twitter.com/kUDeWVbUBA
ETSU: 20-21, 6-9 SoCon
WCU: 16-26, 5-9 SoCon
ETSU steps out of non-conference play next week, beginning with a non-conference showdown at Appalachian State. First pitch is set for Tuesday, May 2 at 6 p.m. in Boone, N.C.