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Buccaneers dispatch NJIT, maintain spotless home mark

Johnson City Press • Mar 16, 2019 at 9:44 PM

Through 11 home games, good vibrations have yet to weaken for East Tennessee State’s baseball team.

Remaining perfect at Thomas Stadium, the Bucs defeated NJIT 12-2 and then 8-1 in Saturday’s action.

The Bucs (13-4) and Highlanders (7-6-1) conclude their three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.

In Game 1, the Bucs put up the first 11 runs and maintained a shutout until the eighth inning.

Both teams produced eight hits, but four of ETSU’s hits were of the long-ball variety. The four home runs, including freshman Colby Emmertz’s first two collegiate round-trippers, accounted for nine runs in the first five innings.

The pitching was just as pure, as senior ace Micah Kaczor (3-0) blanked the Highlanders over six innings with only three hits allowed. New Jersey natives Joe Acosta and Riley Maypother finished off their home-state school in the final three innings.

Going 2 for 3, Ethan Cady got the Bucs on their way with a three-run, first-inning homer. Emmertz, who went 3 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs, ripped a solo shot in the inning and smacked a two-run homer in the fifth.

Cullen Smith extended his hitting streak to eight games with a three-run homer in the fourth. He totaled four RBIs in the game.

NJIT was led by Matt Cocciadiferro at 2 for 4.

The Bucs spotted the Highlanders a second-inning lead in Game 2, but 11 hits — six of them doubles — and more outstanding mound work pulled ETSU through with room to spare.

Cade Gilbert socked a two-run double in a four-run fourth that staked the Bucs to a 7-1 advantage. Gilbert (3 RBIs) and Kyle Richardson each accounted for a pair of two-baggers in joining Jake Lyle and Emmertz with two-hit performances.

Landon Knack (4-0) totaled six strikeouts against one walk in a six-inning start that afforded NJIT just four hits. Matthew Mercer gave up a hit in two innings, Hooper Mills worked a spotless ninth and ETSU pitching finished the contest with 11 Ks.

Collecting two hits each for the Highlanders were Brett Helmkamp and David Marcano.

Note: Sunday’s game will be ETSU’s St. Patrick’s Day promotion, in which the first fans to arrive will receive a special edition green ETSU t-shirt while supplies last.

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