JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 27, 2003) - The East Tennessee State Buccaneer baseball team will travel to Starkville, Miss. this weekend for a three-game series with the No. 12-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The Bucs are 4-3 through seven games this season, after taking two of three from Binghamton this past weekend and then falling to Gardner-Webb on Tuesday. ETSU is led at the plate by sophomore outfielder Kevin Brotherton (Erwin, Tenn.) and junior outfielder Bo Calloway (Knoxville, Tenn.), batting .417 and .412, respectively. Junior second baseman Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) is tied for the team lead with two home runs and leads the squad with nine RBIs while batting .348.
On the mound, several Bucs have been impressive in the early going. Junior lefty Josh Kite (Greeneville, Tenn.) has been great out of the bullpen, notching a 1-0 record with a 1.23 ERA. Freshman left-hander Steven Calicutt (Spartanburg, S.C.) has been phenomenal in his first two collegiate starts, going 1-0 with a win over Xavier on Feb. 16. He has a 2.38 ERA and has allowed four hits while striking out 13 in 11.1 innings. Junior lefty Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) was sharp in his last outing against Binghamton on Feb. 22, allowing just two hits and one earned run, while striking out seven in five innings for his first victory of the season. For ETSU this weekend, Kite will make his first start of the season on Friday, while Turner will get the call on Saturday and Calicutt will take the hill on Sunday.
Mississippi State is 2-1 so far this season, having defeated Connecticut twice and falling to Birmingham Southern last weekend in the National Bank of Commerce Classic from Starkville, Miss. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the SEC West in 2002 after a 34-24-1 campaign (14-15 SEC). They return five of eight position starters and nine of 14 pitchers from last season. Bulldog head coach Ron Polk is a collegiate baseball legend having collected a 1,156-558-1 record in 29 seasons of coaching and a 922-446-1 record in 23 years at Mississippi State. Polk's teams have made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances and have advanced to seven College World Series'.
Friday's game will begin at 5 p.m., Saturday's will be played at 3 p.m. and Sunday's first pitch will be at 2:30 p.m. Live statistics for all games will be available on Mississippi State's athletic website, www.mstateathletics.com. Friday's game will have a live audio broadcast available on the site.