JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 22, 2012) – On the heels of a 3-1 home victory of UNC Asheville during the midweek, the ETSU (11-8) baseball team opens the Atlantic Sun road schedule at Florida Gulf Coast (8-13) beginning on Friday.
Game times for this weekend’s three-game series are at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday. Each game can be heard on the Buccaneer Sports Network and online at ETSUBucs.com. Live stats will also be available for the entirety of the series.
Senior right-hander John Long (Anderson, S.C.) (4-1, 3.65 ERA) will draw the start against FGCU sophomore right-hander Ricky Knapp (3-1, 1.65 ERA) to kick off the weekend set. Long is coming off his first defeat of the season after starting a perfect 4-0. However, he still leads the league in wins and in innings pitched (37.0). Meanwhile, Knapp is fifth in the Atlantic Sun with his 1.65 ERA on the season.
Saturday’s matinee will pit ETSU junior right-hander Derek Bushey (Richmond, Va.) (1-2, 4.70 ERA) versus FGCU junior southpaw Andrew Polly (2-1, 5.24 ERA).
Sophomore right-hander Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) (2-1, 2.83 ERA) will face off against Eagle senior Jason Forjet (0-2, 3.26 ERA) in Sunday’s finale. In his most recent outing, Long worked a season-high 7.0 innings last Saturday against Belmont to earn his second win of the season after allowing five hits and three runs, with four strikeouts, in ETSU’s 8-3 triumph. On the season, Long has 24 K’s and has permitted 15 walks in 28.2 innings.
ETSU and Florida Gulf Coast met three times last season in Johnson City, with the Bucs emerging victorious in two of the three contests. However, FGCU owns a 10-3 advantage in the all-time series as the Eagles won nine of the previous 10 meetings prior to last season.
Last season in Johnson City, the two teams combined to score 63 runs in the series. The Bucs won the series opener 16-4 and the rubber match 11-5. FGCU took Saturday’s game two 18-9. Former Buccaneer Bo Reeder was named A-Sun Player of the Week following the series last season after leading the way offensively for ETSU as he hit .429 (6-for-14) with two doubles, three home runs and seven RBI. Reeder became the second fastest Buccaneer to reach the 200-hit plateau on his second home run in the Saturday contest.
In ETSU’s 3-1 victory over UNC Asheville on Tuesday, the Buccaneer pitching staff allowed just one run and five hits in nine innings of work. Starter Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) got his first career win after tossing three scoreless innings. The bullpen allowed just one run and four hits in six innings, while Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) earned his fourth save of the season. The bullpen lowered its combined ERA to an impressive 2.67 on the year, while the ETSU pitching staff as a whole owns a 3.65 ERA.
The Bucs are led at the plate by sophomore Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) and senior Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.). Freeman leads the squad with a .397 average to go along with three homers and 19 RBI. Meanwhile, Scruggs is the nation’s leader with 10 home runs, while hitting at a .333 clip. Scruggs also leads the team in runs scored (23) and RBI (20).
Florida Gulf Coast is coming off two losses at Texas Tech during the midweek after taking two of three from North Florida in its A-Sun opener.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.