SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Feb. 20, 2015) – Coming off a pair of wins over Eastern Kentucky in last weekend’s season opener, the ETSU baseball hits the road for the first time as the Bucs head to Spartanburg for the Upstate Classic.
The Bucs open weekend play against UNC Asheville on Saturday, while taking on Pittsburgh and USC Upstate on Sunday. All three games will be played at USC Upstate’s Harley Park.
GAME TIMES/PITCHING MATCHUPS
Saturday – vs. UNC Asheville – 5 p.m. – Game No. 3
RHP Jimmy Nesselt (1-0, 4.50) vs. LHP Lucas Clarke (0-1, 5.06)
Sunday – vs. Pittsburgh – 12 p.m. – Game No. 4
RHP Lee Haeberle (1-0, 1.50) vs. LHP Aaron Schnurbusch (0-1, 7.36)
Sunday – vs. USC Upstate – 4 p.m. – Game No. 5
RHP Griffin Krieg (0-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Richie Lacell (0-0, 15.00)
PREVIEWING THE BUCS
The Bucs outscored Eastern Kentucky, 19-5, to sweep a shortened series over the Colonels last weekend at Thomas Stadium. ETSU defeated EKU, 7-3, on Opening Day, while following things up with a 12-2 victory in the finale. The third game of the series was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) helped pace the Buccaneer offense as he belted three of ETSU’s five home runs and hit .714 (5-7) with five runs and six RBI in the two games. York received Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and Southern Conference Player of the Week honors following his impressive season debut.
Senior Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) and freshman Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) accounted for the other homers for the Blue and Gold, while junior Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) and sophomore Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) combined to go 6 for 17 with three doubles, three runs and four RBI.
As a team, ETSU hit .313 (20-64), while 11 of its 20 hits went for extra bases – five doubles, one triple and five home runs.
On the mound, a pair of right-handers earned wins on the opening weekend as senior Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) and junior newcomer Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) both tossed six strong innings in their starts. Nesselt allowed three runs and struck out six, while Haeberle – who allowed one first-inning run in the finale – held EKU scoreless for his final five frames. The Bucs also got solid outings by Kain Hewitt (Gainesville, Ga.), Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.), Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.), and Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.) as they all pitched one scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
PREVIEWING THE BULLDOGS
UNCA dropped its first three games of the season as the Bulldogs were swept by Ohio last weekend.
Senior Tommy Houmard went 7 for 12 (.583) with one double and five runs in the series, while junior catcher Lucas Owens hit .556 (5-9) and senior infielder Kyle Towles was 6 for 13 (.462) with two doubles.
As a team, UNCA hit .309 (34-110) with five doubles and three home runs, but the Bulldog pitching staff allowed Ohio to hit .411 (51-124) with seven doubles, one triple and two home runs.
Ohio outscored UNCA, 40-24, in the three-game series.
ETSU leads the all-time series, 30-21.
PREVIEWING THE PANTHERS
Despite outscoring its opponents, 18-16, Pitt dropped two of three last weekend at the Snowbirds Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Panthers opened the season with an 18-1 win over St. Louis, but were blanked by Kansas State (7-0) and Ohio State (8-0).
Pittsburgh had four guys hit above .300 last weekend with sophomore catcher Caleb Perry leading the way with a .429 clip.
Of the 16 runs allowed by the Panther pitching staff, seven were earned.
Sunday marks the first-ever meeting between ETSU and Pittsburgh.
PREVIEWING THE SPARTANS
USC Upstate (1-2) dropped two of three last weekend at home. The Spartans opened the campaign with an 11-4 win over Dayton before dropping decisions to Boston College (5-4) and Army (11-9).
Like the Bucs, USC Upstate also used the long ball to its advantage as the Spartans belted four home runs, but were outscored, 24-20.
Sophomore two-way player Zach Krider led USC Upstate at the plate as he hit .417 (5-12) with one double, one home run and four RBI, while junior infielder Jake Beaver reached base five times – one single, two doubles and two walks. Sophomore right-hander Brian Boocock led the Spartans to their lone win by pitching five innings of four-run ball against Dayton, while freshman right-hander Blake Whitney and sophomore right-hander Zac Manuppelli both posted scoreless appearances in relief. Whitney tossed four scoreless and struck out four to earn the save against Dayton, while Manuppelli struck out five in 2.2 scoreless frames versus Boston College.
The Bucs swept USC Upstate last season in Johnson City and have won 15 of the last 21 in the series. Overall, ETSU leads the all-time series, 20-11.
Live stats will be available for this weekend’s series via StatBroadcast by visiting ETSUBucs.com. Fans can access live stats on their computers, mobile devices or tablets.
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Live updates will also be posted on Twitter by following @ETSUAthletics and @ETSU_Baseball.
Jeremy Taylor has hit safely in 11 straight games, while Jordan Sanford has reached base safely in 22 consecutive games.
With his three home run outburst, Trey York is the NCAA national leader in homers and slugging percentage (2.000). As a team, ETSU leads the country in home runs per game (2.50).
The series win over EKU marked the third straight year ETSU has claimed the season-opening series. Overall, the Blue and Gold have won six of their last seven season-opening series.
Following the two wins over ETSU, Coach Skole is now five wins shy of his 400th career win at ETSU and 10 wins shy of career win No. 500.
A LOOK AHEAD
The Bucs return home to host Butler in a three-game series, beginning Friday, Feb. 27 at Thomas Stadium.
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