KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (March 31, 2014) – The ETSU baseball team opens a five-game road swing Tuesday night when the Bucs take on No. 25 Tennessee at 6 p.m. from Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Following its game in Knoxville, ETSU plays a make-up game at Appalachian State Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at Smith Stadium. The Blue and Gold wrap up their road swing with a three-game conference series at Lipscomb, beginning Friday night in Nashville.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
ETSU (13-13) registered its second straight conference series win after taking two of three from Northern Kentucky over the weekend at Thomas Stadium. The Bucs won the first two games by scores of 6-3, before dropping the series finale, 13-11, on Sunday.
Senior two-way player Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) hit .800 (8-10) with two doubles, four home runs and nine RBI, while also recording two saves in the series win over the Norse. On Monday, Freeman landed Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week honors by Collegiate Baseball magazine and was also tabbed Atlantic Sun Player of the Week.
Freshman Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) was 5 for 12 (.417) with one double, two triples, and scored six runs in the series, while junior Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) and senior Tyler Roach (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit over .300 on the weekend. Riopedre, who posted a career-high four hits on Sunday, hit .385 (5-13) with two doubles, two runs and two RBI, and Roach was 4 for 11 (.364) with one home run and five RBI.
On the mound, freshman Austin Hutchison (Jefferson County, Tenn.) earned his second straight Friday night win as he allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings to lead the Bucs to the victory in the opener. On Saturday, senior Will Chesney (Knoxville, Tenn.) tossed one scoreless inning to pick up his second win of the season.
As a team, the Blue and Gold hit .310 (31-100) with five doubles, two triples and seven home runs.
Tennessee, who won its first 12 games to start the season, has dropped seven of its last 14 and enter Tuesday’s game with a record of 19-7.
The Vols were swept at No. 2 South Carolina over the weekend, but Tennessee led in two of the three games against the Gamecocks. Tennessee suffered a 3-2 14-inning setback in the opener and dropped game two of the series on a walk-off grand slam by Grayson Greiner.
As a team, the Vols are hitting .287, while five players are hitting over the .300 mark with senior infielder Taylor Smart leading the way at .348.
Tennessee leads the Southeastern Conference in triples (10) and ranks second in stolen bases (50), while sophomore outfielder Christin Stewart leads the team with three triples and is tied for the team lead with three home runs.
The Vols are 14-2 at home and are outscoring the opposition 126-48 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Sophomore right-hander Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) gets the starting nod for the Bucs, while Tennessee will counter with sophomore left-hander Andy Cox.
Krieg is making his first appearance since Feb. 22 when he lasted three innings in a start against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. On the season, Krieg has pitched eight innings and has allowed seven runs (four earned) on nine hits, while striking out six and walking five. The right-hander made the start against Tennessee at Thomas Stadium last year and suffered the loss after allowing four runs on five hits in four innings of work.
Cox is 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA (5 ER/35.1 IP) in 15 appearances (one start) this season. Cox ranks second in the SEC in runs allowed (5), fifth in ERA, and sixth in opposing batting average (.167). The southpaw has also struck out 33 and walked 11 on the year.
Tuesday will be the 73rd meeting between the two in-state foes, as Tennessee leads the all-time series, 58-14.
Prior to being swept in the season series last year, the Bucs had won seven of the last 11 meetings.
The Bucs had a six-game win streak snapped with a 9-7 setback in Knoxville last year, while Tennessee finished off the sweep with a 4-3 win in Johnson City.
Clinton Freeman was 3-for-9 with two doubles last year against the Vols, while Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.) hit his first home run as a Buccaneer in the loss at Thomas Stadium.
For his career, Freeman is hitting .357 (5-14) with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored in four games against Tennessee, while Will Chesney has made two scoreless appearances against the Vols – both coming last season.
ABOUT APPALACHIAN STATE
The Mountaineers are coming off a series win over UNC Greensboro over the weekend in Boone and Appalachian State is 8-16 on the campaign.
Freshman two-way player Matt Brill leads the team with a .344 average (11-32), while sophomore infielder/outfielder Dillon Dobson leads the team in hits (25), home runs (3), RBI (12), and runs scored (17).
Five of Appalachian State’s eight wins have come at home.
Sophomore right-hander Kameron Miller (Crestview, Fla.) gets the start for the Blue and Gold, while the Mountaineers haven’t named their starter.
Miller is making his first start this season and has made nine appearances out of the pen in 2014.
Appalachian State leads the all-time series, 72-55, but the Bucs have won eight of the last 11 versus the Mountaineers.
The clubs split the season series last year as the Mountaineers won a suspended game, 3-1, before ETSU evened the series with a 7-6 win in Boone.
Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) was 4 for 7 (.571) with one double and three runs scored against Appalachian State last season. Senior left-hander Jared Burton (Knoxville, Tenn.) did not allow an earned run in two appearances (3.0 IP) against the Mountaineers and received the win.
Freeman is 6 for 13 (.462) with three doubles, three runs, and three RBI in three games against Appalachian State.
Live audio will be available for Tuesday’s game on WXSM-AM 640 The Extreme Sports Monster with “Voice of the Bucs” Jay Sandos handling the play-by-play. Fans outside the Tri-Cities region can access WXSM online at http://www.640wxsm.com/ or you can listen to the games via your mobile device(s) by downloading the iHeart Radio application.
Tennessee will offer live video of the game by visiting http://www.utsports.com/allaccess/?media=428103.
Live stats for Tuesday’s game can be accessed via StatBroadcast by visiting ETSUBucs.com. Fans can access live stats on their computers, mobile devices or tablets.
On Wednesday, Appalachian State will provide live stats by visiting GoASU.com.
Live updates will also be posted on Twitter by following @ETSUAthletics and @ETSU_Baseball.
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For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.