|May 26, 2023||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Win: Rob Ready (2-0)||8.0||4||2||1||1||3|
|Loss: Colby Stuart (1-6)||7.2||6||4||4||4||7|
|Kennedy Jones (UNCG)||4||0||2||0||1||0|
|Cameron Sisneros (ETSU)||4||0||1||0||0||0|
|Nick Iannantone (ETSU)||4||1||1||0||0||0|
|Ashton King (ETSU)||4||0||1||1||0||0|
|Noah Webb (ETSU)||3||1||1||0||0||0|
|Garett Wallace (ETSU)||1||0||1||0||0||0|
GREENVILLE, S.C. (May 26, 2023) – A promising tournament run for the ETSU baseball team came to a close on Friday morning at the 2023 Southern Conference Championship presented by Holston Gases, as the Bucs fell on the wrong end of another entertaining pitcher’s duel by a 4-2 final against defending SoCon champion UNC Greensboro at Fluor Field.
The No. 4 Bucs, who won four straight conference series leading up to the postseason to grab one of the top four seeds, are eliminated with a 26-29 overall record. Meanwhile, the No. 6 Spartans advance to the 7:30 p.m. game tonight against the winner No. 2 Mercer and No. 8 The Citadel.
ETSU has had high-level pitching all tournament, and today was no different with starter Colby Stuart (Elon, N.C.) going 7.2 innings with 127 pitches thrown and just four runs allowed. Later on, senior Landon Smiddy (Knoxville, Tenn.) and junior Austin Emener (Macon, Ga.) came on to finish it with scoreless outings — including three strikeouts by Emener.
Unfortunately, the Bucs ran into strong pitching on the other side, as well. UNCG’s Rob Ready came prepared to battle and limited ETSU to just four hits and two runs — one earned. Two of the four hits came in a late rally by ETSU in the final innings.
The Spartans scored single runs in the first and second innings before Stuart sewed them up for awhile, but hits were harder to come by in the bottom half of the innings. After Ready retired the first 10 ETSU batters, Cameron Sisneros (Littleton, Colo.) landed a fourth inning single to get ETSU in the hit column. That would be the lone hit until the eighth inning, as Noah Webb (Kodak, Tenn.) broke through with a two-out single in a 4-0 ball game.
With Webb aboard and a spark of life in the ETSU dugout, senior Garett Wallace (Sanford, Fla.) hit one through the left side to put another runner on and the tying run on deck. This brought up Ryan McCarthy (Knoxville, Tenn.), who put the ball in play and got one under the third baseman’s legs to bring in Webb for the Bucs’ first run. With a dangerous hitter in Sisneros coming up, UNCG made a great defensive play up the middle at shortstop to end the threat and strand the go-ahead run on base.
After Emener’s scoreless ninth inning that included three strikeouts, the Bucs attempted to start a rally with a leadoff double down the right field line by Nick Iannantone (Plainfield, Ill.) to put an early runner in scoring position. After Ready was subbed out for UNCG closer Luke Thomas, senior Ashton King (Knoxville, Tenn.) landed an RBI single to bring home Iannantone.
Just when things were looking up with a 4-2 score, one on and nobody out, UNCG made another clutch play in the infield to turn a 4-6-3 double play. The final out was recorded in the next at-bat, ending the contest.
The Bucs will finish the 2023 SoCon Championship as one of the better pitching staffs, averaging just two runs over their three games. The tournament started with a shutout by Nathanial Tate (Manchester, Tenn.) in a 12-0 win over The Citadel and was followed by a quality start by Cade Carlson (Carmel, Ind.) in a close 2-1 loss to top-seeded Samford.
For the tournament, ETSU was led at the plate by Webb and Iannantone with five hits each, followed by Miller and Cannady with four hits over three games. Webb and Miller accounted for the first three runs of the tournament for ETSU, coming on a pair of early homers over the green monster in left field.
As a pitching staff, ETSU posted a 2.25 ERA for the tournament, while the opponents posted a 2.62. The Bucs allowed just six runs over 24.0 innings with eight walks and 21 strikeouts, as well as an impressive .202 opponent batting average. The opponents combined for just 14 strikeouts against the Buccaneer bats. Tate and Carlson each had complete games.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win – Rob Ready (2-0)
Loss – Colby Stuart (1-6)
Save – Luke Thomas (3)
ETSU: 26-29, 1-2 tournament
UNCG: 24-33, 2-1 tournament