JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 1, 2012) – Coming off an impressive three-game sweep of Saint Joseph’s this past weekend, the ETSU (4-2) baseball team continues its homestand with a weekend series against Big 10 foe Indiana, beginning Friday at Thomas Stadium.
First pitch will begin at 1:05 p.m. for each game and admission is free. For fans unable to attend this weekend’s games, live stats will be available through Gametracker. In addition, Indiana will have live audio of each game at IUHoosiers.com.
John Long (Anderson, S.C.), who has been phenomenal on the hill through two games, will make his third start of the season against on Friday and will oppose Indiana sophomore Joey DeNato. DeNato is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts for the Hoosiers this season. In 10.0 innings, DeNato is given up 10 hits, three earned runs, and five walks, while striking out six. Last season he led the Indiana staff with a 7-3 record and a 2.80 ERA, which was also tops on the staff.
Saturday’s matchup will have junior Derek Bushey (Richmond, Va.) pitching for the Bucs against the Hoosiers’ Drew Leininger. Bushey (1-0) pitched earned the win last weekend against Saint Joseph’s after tossing 5.0 innings in his first start of the season. Leininger is 1-0 after tossing 2.2 innings of relief to defeat Pittsburgh in the team’s opening weekend.
The series finale will pit ETSU sophomore Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) against Kyle Hart. Long pitched 6.2 strong innings last Sunday against Saint Joseph’s – giving up just four hits and no earned runs. Hart has earned a pair of no decisions in his first two starts of the season, but owns a solid 2.79 ERA.
Junior infielder Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) and senior outfielder Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) continue to pace the ETSU offense as both are batting over .400 after six games. Niesman was 6-for-11 last weekend against Saint Joseph’s with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI. In addition, his RBI single tied the game up in the ninth inning on Sunday. Scruggs has hit a home run in four out of six games thus far. He is currently batting .435 with four homers and six RBI. In addition, he has hit safely in all six games to begin the season. Meanwhile, Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.), Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) and Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) are each batting over .300. Thompson started all three games over the weekend and he hit safely in each game to start his ETSU career.
Indiana currently sits at 2-4 after most recently dropping three games at Tulane last weekend. The Hoosiers opened the season at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in St. Petersburg, Fla., where they went 2-1. After falling to Connecticut on opening day, Indiana posted victories against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
Through six games this season, Chris Sujka and Trace Knoblauch lead the Hoosiers at the plate. Cujka is leads the squad with a .391 average with two home runs and 10 RBIs, which also paces the team. Knoblauch is hitting .353 with three RBIs.
ETSU leads the all-time series against Indiana with a mark of 2-1. The two teams met for a three-game set back in 2002 in Kingsport. The Bucs claimed the opener 10-7 before Indiana game two 12-4. The Bucs won the series by taking the rubber match 8-4.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.