* EDITED ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 24 AT 9:15 P.M. TO REFLECT SCHEDULE CHANGE*
No. 4 ETSU to face No. 8 The Citadel tomorrow at 9 a.m.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (May 24, 2023) – The 2023 Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases is underway at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., as the fourth-seeded ETSU baseball team will begin its journey against No. 8 The Citadel on Thursday, May 25 at 9 a.m.
The Citadel advanced to face ETSU following a 5-2 win over VMI in the single elimination round. The Bulldogs trailed 1-0 up until scoring two in the sixth inning. After VMI tied the game again in the bottom of the sixth, The Citadel jumped back ahead with a three-run eighth inning and held on for the win.
Meanwhile, ETSU earned a Day 1 bye following a series win over UNCG to clinch the fourth seed, meaning the Bucs will play under double elimination rules the entire tournament.
The Bucs are on the hunt for their first Southern Conference tournament championship this season. ETSU’s last conference championship came 10 years ago as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference (ASUN) in 2013. ETSU also claimed two SoCon regular season championships in 1980 and 1981.
May 24-28 — 2023 SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases
Location: Greenville, S.C.
Venue: Fluor Field
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Follow on Twitter: @ETSU_Baseball
ETSU’s Tournament Sponsor: Chicken Salad Chick
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ABOUT THE BUCS
- ETSU ended the regular season with a 25-27 overall record.
- The Bucs are one of the hottest teams in the SoCon entering the tournament, winning four straight series against league opponents. Despite a 2-7 start in conference play, ETSU jumped from eighth to fourth in the standings by going 8-4 against The Citadel, Western Carolina, VMI and UNCG.
- With a top four seed on the line in the regular season finale, ETSU jumped all over UNCG en route to a 13-3 mercy rule win at Thomas Stadium in Johnson City. The win broke a three-way tie between the Spartans, Keydets and Bucs, as ETSU moved to the fourth seed and UNCG dropped below VMI to the six seed.
- The Bucs were projected to finish fifth in the preseason poll, joining Samford and VMI as teams that finished better than expected in the regular season.
- ETSU will enter the conference tournament as a four seed for the fifth time. The last time ETSU was a four-seed was the 2013 ASUN Championship — which ETSU won with a 4-0 record for its first and only tournament win in school history. In the SoCon, ETSU was a four seed in 1993, 1994 and 1999.
- The Bucs have a 3-5 record in tournament play under head coach Joe Pennucci.
- As a team, ETSU ranks 38th in the nation and third in the SoCon with a .302 team batting average.
- ETSU has celebrated a Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week three times this season with junior first baseman Cameron Sisneros (Littleton, Colo.) and senior pitcher Nathanial Tate (Manchester, Tenn.) winning the honors.
- Tate has earned two CB National Player of the Week nominations this season — both after completing 9.0 innings against The Citadel and VMI. Tate added another nine-inning shutout against UNCG in the final regular season series of the season.
- Tate is a five-time SoCon Pitcher of the Week this season — setting the new record for weekly awards by a pitcher in a single season since the award began in 1989. Tate also won twice in 2021, making him the all-time career leader for weekly awards in SoCon history with seven. Tate is the only pitcher to win multiple times this season from any school in the league. He also passes ETSU legend Caleb Moore (2003-05) for the most weekly awards in school history.
- Tate is the active career leader for the SoCon in opponent batting average (.219), complete games (4), shutouts (2), strikeouts per nine innings (9.96) and hits per nine innings (7.25) among player with over 100.0 career innings pitched.
- Following a eye-catching performance in Stillwater three weeks ago, Sisneros was named both SoCon Player of the Week and one of Collegiate Baseball’s National Players of the Week. Sisneros went 7-for-14 over four games, including five homers against the No. 16 ranked Cowboys.
- In this month’s national player rankings on D1Baseball.com, Sisneros was listed as the 30th best first baseman in the nation this season. Sisneros is batting 20-for-41 in the last 11 games, hitting nine homers and driving home 23 runs in that span. He was also intentionally walked four times by UNCG in the three-game series to end the season.
- Sisneros remains atop the SoCon in the “toughest to strikeout” category with only 24 strikeouts in 204 at-bats. This equates to one strikeout every 8.5 at-bats.
- Junior Cade Carlson (Carmel, Ind.) currently leads the Bucs with a 3.43 ERA over 16 appearances, four starts and 44.2 innings pitched. In SoCon games, Carlson has a 2.28 ERA in 27.2 innings to lead the league.
- In The Citadel series, Tate, Carlson and Colby Stuart (Elon, N.C.) all went the distance as ETSU did not make any pitching changes. According to available records, that was the first time ETSU went an entire series with just three starters and no relievers since at least 2004.
- ETSU celebrated its 200th win at Thomas Stadium on April 1, 2023 against Seton Hall. In that game, Ashton King (Knoxville, Tenn.) became the first player in school history to hit three homers and drive in eight runners in the same game. The only other player to drive in eight runs was Mike Ellzey in 1978.
- King is currently third in the SoCon among active players in career doubles with 38 — six of which have happened during his senior season.
- The all-conference awards were announced on Tuesday, as Tate was named a consensus first team selection and Sisneros was a consensus second team selection along with outfielder Nick Iannantone (Plainfield, Ill.). Carlson was named to the second team by the media, while Cody Miller (Rocky Point, N.Y.) earned a spot on the all-freshman team selected by the head coaches.
- Entering this week, ETSU is one of 12 teams in NCAA D1 Baseball to post six or more shutouts this season. Among those 12 are teams such as LSU, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Virginia and Vanderbilt.
- ETSU’s most productive offensive inning this season has been the seventh. The Bucs have scored 60 runs in the seventh inning this season, significantly more than the second-highest total of 45 runs in the eighth inning.
- ETSU owns an 11-3 record in series finale games this season — many of which decided a series.
- The Blue & Gold are outscoring opponents 32-24 in the opening inning this season and own a 17-8 record when striking first.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS
- The Citadel enters with a 23-29 overall record and a 7-14 mark in conference play.
- The Bulldogs own series wins over UNCG and VMI — taking two of three from the Keydets at home and adding a third win over their rival to open the SoCon tournament. This year marks the second straight first round upset of a No. 5 seed by The Citadel as a No. 8 seed.
- Prior to the tournament, The Citadel dropped five straight games with losses to Western Carolina, College of Charleston and three losses to Wofford.
- Last season, The Citadel eliminated ETSU in the single elimination round before falling to eventual champion UNCG and Mercer in double elimination games. Prior to that, The Citadel’s last tournament win came against VMI in 2016. The Bulldogs made a strong run in 2015, winning three games before falling to eventual champion Mercer.
- Historically, The Citadel has made 34 appearances in the tournament with 74 wins and 44 losses. The Bulldogs rank second among current and former members with eight tournament titles, winning in 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2010.
- The Bulldogs had three players named to all-conference teams this season, led by pitcher Cameron Reeves as a consensus second team selection and Sawyer Reeves as a second team selection at shortstop by the SoCon Sports Media Association (SCSMA). Pitcher Will Holmes was named to the all-freshman team.
- Travis Lott led the Bulldogs this regular season with a .331 batting average and five homers, while three other starters joined him with plus-.300 averages and at least 10 doubles each.
- Cameron Reeves led the pitching staff this regular season with 74.2 innings pitched and a 3.62 ERA. Reeves got the start in the VMI win to open the tournament, going 6.1 innings with just two runs allowed on five hits. Gant Starling finished the game and earned the win.
- The potential starter tomorrow could be Sam Swygert, who has a 4.42 ERA in 59.0 innings with 15 appearances and 10 starts this season.
- The Bulldogs are led by a familiar face - former Buccaneer skipper Tony Skole. Skole, an alum of The Citadel and a member of the school's Athletics Hall of Fame, has 669 career wins over nearly three decades as a head coach. He won 471 games over 17 seasons at ETSU.
- According to available records, The Citadel is one of four opponents ETSU has faced over 100 times all-time with 108 meetings. The others are Appalachian State (141), Western Carolina (116) and VMI (111).
- The Citadel owns a 65-43 advantage in the all-time series, though ETSU took two of three to win the series this season.
- In the regular season, ETSU used just three pitchers against The Citadel, going all series without a pitching change. According to available records dating back to 2004, that was the first instance of three complete games in a series in ETSU history.
- The two sides have met three times in tournament play since ETSU’s return to the league in 2015. The Bucs lost in 2015 and 2022, but defeated the Bulldogs in the 2016 postseason.
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