JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 27, 2013) – Less than 24 hours after winning its first ever Atlantic Sun Championship, the ETSU baseball team learned its destination and opponent for the NCAA Regional on Monday afternoon. The ETSU baseball team, coaches, and staff were greeted by family and friends during the selection show viewing party held at Poor Richard’s near campus.
The Bucs (36-22) travel to Nashville to take on No. 2 national seed Vanderbilt (51-9) Friday night at 7 p.m. at Hawkins Field. The game will also be televised live on ESPNU. Second-seed Georgia Tech (at-large) and third-seed Illinois (at-large) are the other teams in the Nashville Regional. The winner of the four-team, double-elimination regional faces the Louisville Regional winner in Super Regional play, June 7-10.
“Vanderbilt is a tremendous ball club and we are going to be playing one of the top teams in the country,” said head coach Tony Skole. “This will be a tremendous test for our guys, but the good thing is we have been to Nashville before. Vanderbilt has a handful of Major Leaguers on its team, but we won’t be intimated going into the regional. We have a tough group of players and have great leadership starting with our senior class. Our seniors have stepped up their play over the last month of the season and it was gratifying to see them win the championship on Sunday.”
ETSU carries a seven-game win streak into the regional after the Blue and Gold swept four games in the conference tournament to advance to the NCAA Regional for the first time since 1981. Senior Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) – who is 13-1 with a 1.99 ERA – was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after tossing his NCAA-leading 12th complete game in Sunday’s 7-2 win over Kennesaw State in the championship game. Fellow senior Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) carries a 16-game hit streak into the regional, while senior outfielder Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) has reached base safely in his last 23 contests. Niesman, Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) joined Doane on the A-Sun All-Tournament Team.
Vanderbilt won the SEC regular season title but lost to second-seed LSU in the tournament championship, 5-4 in 11 innings, on Sunday afternoon in Hoover, Ala. This marks the second time in the last three years the Commodores will be hosting a regional and the third time in program history.
The Commodores rank seventh in the country in batting average (.317), eighth in stolen bases (126), 11th in hits (645) and runs scored (429), and 18th in earned run average (2.80). Meanwhile, sophomore right-hander Tyler Beede leads the NCAA with his 14-0 record and junior infielder Tony Kemp ranks third nationally in hits (96) and sixth in batting average (.402).
This marks the third NCAA regional appearance for the Bucs and the first since 1981. ETSU is 3-4 all-time in regional play with the Bucs’ first appearance coming in 1980.
ETSU and Vanderbilt have played three previous times with the Commodores taking all three games. The last meeting between the two teams was back on Feb. 18, 2003 when Vanderbilt defeated the Blue and Gold, 5-4, in Nashville. The Bucs have never faced Illinois, while ETSU and Georgia Tech have met 24 times.
Ticket information will be released at a later time.
Nashville Regional Game Schedule
Friday, May 31
Game 1: #2 Georgia Tech (34-25) vs. #3 Illinois (34-18), 2 p.m., ESPN3
Game 2: #1 Vanderbilt (51-9) vs. #4 ETSU (36-22), 7 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3
Saturday, June 1
Game 3: Vanderbilt/ETSU loser vs. Georgia Tech/Illinois loser, 3 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3
Game 4: Vanderbilt/ETSU winner vs. Georgia Tech/Illinois winner, 8 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3
Sunday, June 2
Game 5: Loser Game 4 vs. Winner Game 3, 3 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3
Game 6: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4, 8 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3
Monday, June 3
Game 7 (If Necessary): Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6, 7 p.m., ESPNU/ESPN3
Please note – game times are listed in Eastern Time
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