JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 27, 2015) – The ETSU baseball team returns home to open a three-game series with BIG EAST foe Butler beginning Saturday afternoon at Thomas Stadium. First pitch of Saturday’s doubleheader is set for 1:05 p.m., while Sunday’s finale is also slated for 1:05 p.m.
GAME TIMES/PITCHING MATCHUPS
Saturday – 1:05 p.m. – Game No. 6
RHP Jimmy Nesselt (1-0, 2.25) vs. LHP Jeff Schank (0-2, 3.60)
Saturday – 4:05 p.m. – Game No. 7
RHP Lee Haeberle (2-0, 1.50) vs. RHP Chris Myjak (0-1, 4.50)
Sunday – 1:05 p.m. – Game No. 8
RHP Griffin Krieg (1-0, 1.12) vs. LHP Nick Morton (0-2, 13.03)
PREVIEWING THE BUCS
ETSU improved to 4-1 on the young season after taking two of three at last weekend’s Upstate Classic in Spartanburg, S.C. After opening the tournament with a tough 3-2 setback to UNC Asheville, the Bucs capped off play with a 10-4 win over ACC contender Pittsburgh and a 9-2 victory over USC Upstate.
Sophomore Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) and junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) both it over .400 last weekend, while fellow junior Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) was 5 for 13 with two doubles, one home run, two runs and five RBI. Cook, who was named the Southern Conference’s General Shale Student-Athlete of the Week on Wednesday, hit .429 (6-14) with one triple, three runs and two RBI, while York, ETSU’s top hitter (.526), went 5 for 12 with two triples, two RBI and scored five runs. York became the sixth player in program history to record two triples in one game Sunday against USC Upstate.
The Bucs’ starting pitching trio of Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.), Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) and Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) combined to allow one earned run in 18 innings last weekend. Krieg tossed six scoreless innings of two-hit ball to earn his first win since March of 2013 against USC Upstate, Haeberle limited to Pitt to one run in six innings, and Nesselt struck out a career-high 10 hitters in six innings against UNCA.
As a group, ETSU’s pitching staff held the three opponents to a .189 batting average (18-95) and registered 31 strikeouts to five walks in 26.0 innings at the Upstate Classic.
With the win over Pitt, the Blue and Gold have now defeated a team from a “Power Conference” for the eighth consecutive season.
PREVIEWING THE BULLDOGS
Butler is still in search of its first win of the as the Bulldogs have dropped their first seven games to start the season.
The Bulldogs, who finished fifth in the BIG EAST a year ago, were swept by Lipscomb and Pepperdine, and are coming off a 10-1 loss to then-No. 12 Louisville on Tuesday.
Seniors Austin Miller and Michael Fries are both hitting over .400, while red-shirt sophomore Drew Small leads the team with 11 hits (five doubles). Miller boasts a .417 (5-12) batting average and Fries is 10 for 25 (.400) with three doubles, one home run, three runs and six RBI.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Josh Goldberg has tossed 4.1 scoreless innings (two appearances) to start the season; however, Butler’s pitching staff has nearly a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (38 strikeouts to 36 walks).
Two of Butler’s setbacks have been by one run, while three have been decided by three runs or less.
This marks the third meeting between the two programs with Butler winning the previous two.
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.
Live updates will also be posted on Twitter by following @ETSUAthletics and @ETSU_Baseball.
Chris Cook and Trey York have both hit safely in their last five games, while Kevin Phillips carries a four-game hit streak into weekend play.
Jimmy Nesselt is 5-0 with a 3.07 ERA (10 ER/29.1 IP) with 26 strikeouts in his last five starts at Thomas Stadium.
As a team, ETSU ranks fourth nationally in triples (5), eighth in slugging percentage (.517), ninth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.27), 11th in home runs per game (1.20), 24th in ERA (2.05) and 27th in scoring (8.0).
Individually, Trey York leads the country in slugging percentage (1.211), is second in runs per game (2.0) and 12th in home runs (3). Lee Haeberle’s two wins rank second behind Stetson’s Brooks Wilson, while Kevin Phillips is one of 53 players in Division I who have yet to strikeout this season.
ETSU has won four of its first five games to start the season for the second time in the last three years. The last time the Bucs opened the campaign 4-1 was in 2013 when ETSU won the Atlantic Sun Championship. ETSU’s best eight-game start was in 2005 when coach Skole’s club opened 8-0.
Since 2013, the Blue and Gold have won 43 games at Thomas Stadium, resulting in a .662 winning percentage during this span.
Coach Skole is three wins shy of his 400th career win at ETSU and eight wins shy of career win No. 500.
ETSU will play 31 games at Thomas Stadium in 2015, which includes visits from West Virginia, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Miami (Ohio) and Butler. In total, the Blue and Gold play teams from 11 different conferences this season.
Jimmy Nesselt was named one of the “Top 100 Seniors” by Perfect Game.
A LOOK AHEAD
ETSU hosts Radford in its first midweek game of the year Tuesday afternoon at 3:05 p.m., while playing at UNC Asheville on Wednesday.
Single-game tickets to ETSU baseball games are $10 for reserved seats behind home plate and $5 for reserved seats along the baselines.
Single-game tickets are $2 for groups of 10 or more people. Please call (423) 439-4828 for details.
Tickets can be purchased at the stadium, online at ETSUBucs.com, or by calling (423) 439-3878.
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