OXFORD, OH- The ETSU baseball team used dominating pitching performances to pick up a non-conference road series win at Miami University on Sunday.
After dropping game one of the series on Saturday, the Buccaneers bounced back with a doubleheader sweep over the Redhawks at McKie Field. Junior Drew Korzybski (Knoxville, Tenn.) tossed 6.1 scoreless innings of four-hit ball, while Hunter Parker’s (Chattanooga, Tenn.) fielder’s choice plated the game-winning run as ETSU evened the series with a 2-1 victory in game one of the twinbill.
With the series evened, senior Blake Smith (Ninety Six, S.C.) stuffed the Redhawks’ lineup as he struck out a career-high 14 batters en route to tossing a two-hit shutout as the Bucs cruised to a 14-0 series-clinching victory in the nightcap.
Smith – who missed tying the ETSU single-game strikeout record by one – became the first Buccaneer hurler to register a complete game shutout since All-American Kerry Doane accomplished that feat back on May 10, 2013 when he delivered the Blue and Gold a 1-0 victory at No. 21 Mercer. Smith’s previous single-game high for strikeouts was seven, which was set last season in a relief appearance (2.2 innings) at UNC Asheville, while his 14 punch outs are the most by a Buccaneer pitcher since Reid Casey fanned a school-record 15 against Xavier back on Feb. 23, 2001. This year’s single-game strikeout record is 17, which has been done twice, while Smith’s 14 strikeouts is the third highest total by a Southern Conference pitcher this season.
Smith struck out the side in the first and seventh innings, while he retired the final 11 Miami hitters after surrendering a one-out single in the sixth inning. Six of his final 11 outs came via the strikeout as he ended the game with back-to-back punch outs to conclude the 14-run victory. In total, Smith totaled 111 pitches (73 strikes), while also inducing four groundouts and 10 fly outs.
The Buccaneer right-hander earned his first win of the season (1-2) following his spectacular start, while his ERA went from a team-leading 3.63 to 2.59. Smith also doubled up his strikeout total on the season as he entered the game with 12 and saw that number rise to 26.
The Bucs have now won four of their five weekend series to start the season and improved to 11-7, while the Blue and Gold now gear up for SoCon play as ETSU heads to Macon, Ga. next weekend to face reigning regular season champion Mercer.
Courtesy: East Tennessee State Athletics