Despite a strong eight innings from starter Landon Knack, the sixth-seeded Buccaneers came up short against No. 2 seed Wofford on Thursday night — falling 2-1 in their Southern Conference tournament opener at Fluor Field.
ETSU (33-20) now slides into the losers’ bracket and will take on No. 5 Furman in an elimination game set for Friday at 7 p.m.
Knack (9-4) dug deep for a season-high 130 pitches, giving up just five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. He surrendered both Terrier runs, with one being unearned.
SoCon freshman of the year Hayes Heinecke (10-2) turned in a seven-inning start, totaling nine strikeouts against one walk. Yielding six hits, he was spared a no-decision when Colin Davis broke a 1-1 tie with a home run in the top of the seventh.
Offensively, the Bucs were led by David Beam with a pair of hits. Jackson Greer, Jake Lyle and Markell Graham each doubled in the contest, with Lyle’s accounting for the lone RBI.
A Davis double brought home an unearned run in the fourth, putting the Terriers up 1-0. The run was scored by Hudson Byorick, who reached on a throwing error at shortstop and moved to second in the next at-bat on a groundout.
ETSU mounted a fifth-inning threat as Beam led off with a single and moved over on a sacrifice bunt. Sean Kearney nearly placed a blooper off the right-field line to drive in the tying run, but it was deemed slightly foul and Wofford (35-23) went on to record the final out.
In the sixth, Lyle’s double down the left-field line brought home Beam all the way from first base to make it a 1-all game. From there came Davis’ home run.
ETSU put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with nobody out in the eighth, as Greer gapped a double off the right center wall for his 100th career hit.
However, Wofford reliever Rasesh Pandya came into pitch and stranded the runners on base with three strikeouts. ETSU was unable to keep the game alive in the ninth as Pandya earned his second save.
Davis batted 2 for 2 for the Terriers, who got a 2-for-4 effort from Lawson Hill. Wofford faces Samford on Saturday at noon.