Johnson City, Tenn. – ETSU scored all 10 of its runs between the second and sixth innings on Sunday afternoon while forcing Western Carolina to strand 16 base runners on the paths as the Buccaneers completed a three-game Southern Conference opening series sweep of the Catamounts at Thomas Stadium, 10-3.
WCU dropped its sixth-straight game on the season and was swept in its league-opener for the first time since 2011 when the Catamounts lost all three of its first conference games at UNCG. WCU had runners in eight of the nine innings but stranded a season-high in the loss.
Justice Bigbie stretched his team-best hitting streak to 12-straight with a 2-for-4 performance while classmate Will Prater doubled as a part of a 2-for-5, one-run outing. Both Daylan Nanny and Matthew Koehler stretched their reached base safely streaks to 17-consecutive as Nanny drew a walk and Koehler finished 1-for-4 with a RBI single.
Andrew Robinson delivered a ground-rule, pinch hit double that scored a run in the fourth inning as a part of a 2-for-3, one walk performance. Andrew Bullock also plated a run for the Catamounts, finishing 1-for-5 offensively at the plate.
ETSU (17-5, 3-0 SoCon) broke-open a 1-0 game with a three-run third to make it 4-0 through three complete. WCU managed to cut the deficit in half on Robinson’s run-scoring double to left center ahead of Koehler who dropped a RBI single in to shallow left to make it 4-2 through three and a half.
However, things unraveled from there as the Buccaneers responded with a four-run bottom of the frame coming on just two base hits. One run scored on a wild pitch and another on a bases loaded hit batter while two crossed on a Noah Hill infield ground out.
ETSU tacked on two insurance markers in the fifth and sixth – the latter on a solo home run – with the Catamounts capping scoring in the seventh as Bigbie doubled and was scored on Bullock’s RBI single to provide the final tally.
Starter Joe Vranesic (1-1) took the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout over three innings on the mound. Chase Walter was the second of three relievers used behind Vranesic, striking out four against two walks in 3.2 innings. Davis Tyndall finished off the eighth of hitless, scoreless relief, striking out and walking one.
Buccaneer starter Daniel Sweeney (4-0) struck out seven over a six inning appearance, holding WCU to two runs on six hits with a couple walks. A trio of relievers tossed one frame apiece with Nathaniel Tate striking out two on the backend to finish off the ninth for ETSU.
Hill drove in a game-high five runs for the Buccaneers including a three-run home run in the three-run third with two additional runs scoring on an infield ground out. Ethan Shelton went 3-for-4 with Jackson Greer and Ethan Cady finishing with two hits apiece for the home squad.
Western Carolina (10-11, 0-3 SoCon) returns to action next weekend in league play as the Catamounts travel to Greensboro, N.C., to take on the UNCG Spartans.