ETSU came up a run short in the second game of a Sunday doubleheader, suffering its first loss of the 2021 college baseball season.
The Buccaneers lost 4-3 to Northern Kentucky at Thomas Stadium. ETSU won the opener 3-2 by scoring a run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
ETSU is 2-1 on the season and will play host to Appalachian State on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
For Northern Kentucky, it was the first victory since May of 2019. The Norse went 0-17 in the shortened 2020 season, and had lost 21 straight games.
The Bucs won in dramatic fashion. In a 2-2 game, Ben Jackson doubled to start the bottom of the ninth inning. Pinch-runner Markell Graham moved to third on a wild pitch.
After intentional walks to Drew Haynie and Jake Lyle, and a strikeout, Graham scored the winning run on the second wild pitch of the inning.
ETSU trailed 2-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, finding the going tough against Northern Kentucky starter Kyle Klingenbeck.
But Ashton King cut ETSU’s deficit to 2-1 with a sixth inning home run to left field. One inning later, Haynie tied the game with a homer down the left field line. Haynie led the Bucs’ offense with two of the team’s six hits.
ETSU starter Colby Stuart worked six solid innings, allowing four hits and two runs. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven.
Landon Smiddy was flawless in relief. He worked three scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out three batters to earn his first win of the season.
Trailing 4-2 entering the ninth inning, the Bucs got a one-out double from King. John Louis Bland followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to one run, but Bland was caught between first and second base for the second out.
Jackson flew out to end the game.
Ethan Cady and Bland each had two hits for the Bucs. Cady and Haynie each drove in a run.
Starting pitcher Hunter Townsend didn’t allow a hit in 3 1/3 innings of work, but walked five batters and was charged with four runs. He was also tagged with the loss.
Zach Kirby pitched three innings of scoreless relief for ETSU.