ETSU cruises past The Citadel at SoCon Baseball Championship
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Fourth-seeded ETSU used an eight-run fourth inning to blow open what had been a close game en route to a 12-0, seven-inning win over No. 8 seed The Citadel on Thursday at the Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Fluor Field.
ETSU (26-27) advances to face No. 1 seed Samford at 4 p.m. Thursday, while The Citadel (23-30) falls to the losers’ bracket and will play an opponent yet to be determined on Friday at 12:30 p.m.
Leading 3-0 after second-inning home runs by Noah Webb and Cody Miller, the Bucs sent 13 batters to the plate in the fourth, taking advantage of three Citadel errors and collecting five hits and three walks to make it 11-0. Miller, Ashton King, Webb and Jackson Green all drove in runs with singles, while Nick Iannantone drew a bases-loaded walk in the frame.
ETSU added another run in the fifth on Webb’s bases-loaded walk.
The beneficiary of the offensive outburst was ETSU starter Nathanial Tate (9-4), who posted his third straight complete game and second straight shutout, allowing just four hits and three walks in seven innings of work. He struck out seven in his fifth complete game of the season.
The Citadel’s best scoring chance came in the top of the fifth, when Wells Sykes reached on an infield single to lead off and Crosby Jones followed with a single through the right side to put runners on first and second with no one out. Tate quickly snuffed the rally, fielding a grounder for the first out before recording a pair of strikeouts to end the threat.
The Bulldogs also had runners at second and third with one out in the third courtesy of a Jones single, a Matthew Lively walk and a Dylan Costa sacrifice, but Tate got a flyout and a groundout to escape unscathed.
The Citadel worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the first. After Miller was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, Cameron Sisneros singled sharply to left and Iannantone singled through the left side to load the bases. Bulldog starter Sam Swygert then induced a ground ball off the bat of Noah Gent to start a 1-2-3 double play, and King lined out to first to end the threat.
ETSU’s Webb reached base in all four plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with two walks, two runs and four RBIs. Iannantone was 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored, while Miller was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs.
Crosby had two of The Citadel’s four hits, with Wells and pinch-hitter Chase Loggins collecting the other two.
Swygert (5-4) took the loss for The Citadel, surrendering seven runs (four earned) on seven hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.
2023 SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
May 24 (Wednesday)
Game 1: #8 The Citadel 5, #5 VMI 2
Game 2: #6 UNCG 4, #7 Western Carolina 3
May 25 (Thursday)
Game 3: #4 ETSU 12, #8 The Citadel 0 (7 inn.)
Game 4: #6 UNCG vs. #3 Wofford, 12:30 p.m.
Game 5: #4 ETSU vs. #1 Samford, 4 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. #2 Mercer, 7:30 p.m.
May 26 (Friday)
Game 7: Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 5, 9 a.m.
Game 8: #8 The Citadel vs. Loser Game 6, 12:30 p.m.
Game 9: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 4 p.m.
Game 10: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 7:30 p.m.
Game 11: Winner Game 10 vs. Loser Game 9, TBD
Game 12: Winner Game 9 vs. Winner Game 11, TBD
Game 13: Game 12 winner vs. Game 12 loser^, 40 minutes after Game 12
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