Taking a perfect game into the seventh inning and posting a career-best 12 strikeouts, Knack hurled East Tennessee State to a 7-0 shutout of Rider on Friday at Thomas Stadium.
Knack (2-0), a senior, put in seven innings on the day, yielding just one hit.
Both offenses struggled through the first three innings with the Bucs (4-1) knocking the only hit of the contest, a Reese Farmer leadoff double. Having offered a fourth-inning threat, the Bucs’ offense got rolling in the fifth — plating four runs after loading the bases with no outs.
The production began with a Ben Jackson single to left-center field, scoring both Noah Hill and Jake Lyle. Following a Cade Gilbert sacrifice fly, Drew Haynie singled to right to plate to Jackson for ETSU’s fourth tally.
After batting around in the fifth, the Bucs kept producing in the sixth as they pushed across two two-out runs. Lyle got into scoring position by stealing second base, then came home on a Jackson Greer base hit up the middle. Greer later scored on a Gilbert single.
Knack came back on the mound in the seventh and struck out the first Rider batter of the frame. The next batter grounded back to the pitcher, who sat down his 20th straight hitter to start the game, a career high.
Rider’s next batter, Sebastian Williamson, tagged a 1-1 pitch straight up and landed an infield single a few feet in front of the plate to end Knack’s perfect outing.
Knack finished the inning before the Bucs brought in Daulton Montagna and Matthew Bollenbacher out of the bullpen. They both delivered a scoreless inning of relief, allowing one hit and striking out one Bronc apiece.
The shutout was the Bucs’ first at Thomas Stadium since they blanked Appalachian State, 4-0 on April 16 of last year.
Knack’s one-hit outing is the best of his career. His previous career high for consecutive retired batters to begin a game was established last season, when he put away 14 in a row against The Citadel.
Lyle, Greer and Haynie all logged two hits in the contest. Greer, Jackson and Gilbert tallied two RBIs apiece.
Lyle swiped two bases on the day, giving him a team-high six steals on the young season. In 2019, he totaled nine through 55 games.
Jackson, Lyle and Hill have reached base in all of ETSU’s games this season. Lyle is the lone Buc with a hit in all five contests.
Pinch-hitter John Volpe went 1 for 1 for Rider (3-1), which returns to Thomas Stadium on Saturday for a 2 p.m. matchup.