JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 11, 2013) – The reigning Atlantic Sun Conference Champion ETSU baseball team began preparing for the upcoming 2014 campaign as the Blue and Gold opened their fall season Monday afternoon at Thomas Stadium.
Starting Monday, the Bucs have 45 days to get their fall practice schedule completed before heading into the offseason. During the fall season, ETSU will also hold intrasquad scrimmages which are open to the public. This weekend the Blue and Gold will scrimmage Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m., at Thomas Stadium.
Head coach Tony Skole was excited to get his entire team on the field on Monday, and the coaching staff knows they need to take advantage of the upcoming weeks to prepare for the 2014 season.
"It was great to finally be on the field with our entire team,” said Skole. “Our guys worked extremely hard during our periods of individual work, and now it is going to be fun to try and put some pieces of the puzzle together. My coaching staff has done a phenomenal job preparing our players for these next four weeks. We have an exciting and dynamic group of athletes who are fun to coach.”
Overall, the Bucs return 25 players from last year’s championship team, while the coaching staff brought in 10 new faces for the upcoming year. The 2013 team finished with 36 wins en route to capturing its first-ever A-Sun title and advancing to the NCAA Regional for the first time since 1981.
Despite losing five seniors from 2013, Coach Skole returns five position players and four pitchers who saw time in the starting rotation. Senior Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) looks to build off a solid campaign as he was an all-conference performer in 2013. The Jonesborough, Tenn. native is coming off a productive summer in the Cape Cod League and he also received CollegeBaseballInsider.com/Louisville Slugger All-American honors back in August. Meanwhile, sophomores Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) also picked up A-Sun accolades a year ago as they were both named to the All-Freshmen Team.
Last year’s senior class did feature A-Sun Pitcher of the Year and First Team Louisville Slugger All-American Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), along with starting outfielder Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.), second baseman Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.), third baseman Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) and catcher Mason Hershey (Altoona, Pa.). Green landed Second Team All A-Sun honors, while Niesman and Reynolds joined Taylor and Doane on the All-Tournament Team.
Doane was taken in the 24th round of the MLB draft by the Cleveland Indians and just wrapped up a stint with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers – Cleveland’s Class A short-season team based in the New York-Penn League. The right-handed pitcher went 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA (8 ER/17.1 IP), along with posting 19 strikeouts and two saves in nine appearances for the Scrappers. Despite battling an injury midway during the season, Doane bounced back and was a part of a no-hitter on Sept. 1 at Batavia. Doane was one of three pitchers used in the game and he struck out two of the three hitters he faced in the ninth inning to secure the no-hitter.
Stay tuned to ETSUBucs.com for additional information on the Buccaneer baseball team during the fall season.
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