DeLAND, Fla. — East Tennessee State’s baseball team continued its walk-off magic Saturday — and walked right into the championship game of the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament.
Andrew Green, who scored the game-winning run Friday against Mercer, came through again Saturday, this time with a walk-off hit. Green’s chopper through the right side of the infield in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Mason Hershey and lifted the Buccaneers to a 4-3 victory over USC Upstate at Stetson’s Melching Field.
ETSU (35-22) has trailed in all three of its tournament games this year and won all of them on its final at-bat.
Right-hander Will Chesney (4-2), one of three pitchers used by the Bucs, picked up the win after working out of a one-out jam in the top of the ninth.
The Bucs, who are riding a six-game winning streak, were down by a run after seven innings but came through to tie the game at 3 in the eighth. Green was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and moved to second on a single by Clinton Freeman. Kevin Phillips moved the runners into scoring position with his first sacrifice bunt of the year and, after Derek Niesman was hit by a pitch, Alex Reynolds drove home Green on a fielder’s choice grounder to short.
In the ninth, Upstate reliever Chad Sobotka 91-5) walked the first two ETSU batters he faced. Dylan Tritsch laid down a sac bunt to advance the runners, and Green followed with his chopper through the pulled-in Spartans infield tp decide it.
USC Upstate (28-30) outhit ETSU 10-6.
The Bucs will face either North Florida or Kennesaw State on Sunday for the title. Kennesaw State beat UNF 5-2 on Saturday, forcing an elimination game between those two teams at 1 p.m.
The winner of that contest will face the Bucs in the championship game at 4:15 p.m.