JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 5, 2015) – After picking up wins against the ACC and BIG EAST the last two weekends, the ETSU baseball team looks to add to the list this weekend as the Bucs host Big 12 contender West Virginia in a three-game set at Thomas Stadium.
GAME TIMES/PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday – 4:05 p.m. – Game No. 11
RHP Jimmy Nesselt (2-0, 1.80) vs. RHP BJ Myers (0-1, 4.20)
Saturday – 2:05 p.m. – Game No. 12
RHP Lee Haeberle (2-1, 3.00) vs. LHP Ross Vance (1-1, 2.70)
Sunday – 1:05 p.m. – Game No. 13
RHP Griffin Krieg (1-1, 5.73) vs. RHP Chad Donato (1-2, 1.50)
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
ETSU split its pair of midweek games as the Bucs defeated Radford 9-1 on Tuesday, but suffered an 8-6 setback at UNC Asheville on Wednesday.
Junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.), who is hitting a team-best .541, has hit safely in all 10 games to start the season and belted his fifth home run in Tuesday’s win.
Freshman Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) earned his first collegiate win in his first start on Tuesday as the right-hander tossed five scoreless innings, while Logan Gentry (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Josh Jacques (Rollinsford, N.H.) both posted a scoreless frame out of the pen.
Tuesday’s victory marked head coach Tony Skole’s 400th win at ETSU, while he’s five shy of recording career win No. 500.
On Wednesday, ETSU fell behind 5-0 after the first two innings at UNC Asheville, and the Bucs couldn’t pull off the comeback as the Bulldogs held on for an 8-6 win. ETSU made it a 6-3 game in the seventh; however, the Bulldogs responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning, and despite plating three runs in the ninth, the Bucs couldn’t inch any closer.
Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) finished with three hits (two doubles), while Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) and York both registered two-hit games. On the mound, Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.) allowed one unearned run in four innings, while Jacques and Connor Bartow (Jonesborough, Tenn.) both pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
PREVIEWING THE MOUNTAINEERS
After winning three of its first five games to start the season, West Virginia has dropped four of its last five and sit 4-6 on the season.
Five of the Mountaineers’ six losses have been by three runs or less, including their last two, which were by one run against Coastal Carolina (4-3 in 13 innings) and #25 Illinois (2-1) last weekend at the Chanticleer Classic.
West Virginia is led by senior shortstop Taylor Munden as he is hitting .405 (17-42) with five doubles, three home runs, six runs scored and nine RBI. Munden also has four stolen bases on the campaign, while the team is 16-19 in the department.
Munden leads the Big 12 in slugging percentage (.738) and Sunday starter Chad Donato tops the conference in walks allowed per nine innings (0.50).
Junior right-hander Jeff Hardy has allowed one run in 6.1 innings out of the bullpen and is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three appearances, while red-shirt sophomore right-hander Josh Bornstein hasn’t allowed a run in his three appearances (2.2 innings).
The Mountaineers are in the midst of a 17-game road trip to start the season.
ETSU and West Virginia have met six previous times with both teams winning three of those meetings.
The Bucs took two of three from the Mountaineers back in 2005 in Johnson City, while West Virginia won the three-game series in Morgantown in 2004.
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.
Freshman Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) and senior Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) also carry hit streaks into weekend play. Owenby has hit safely in his last seven games, while Thompson is on a six-game run. Jeremy Taylor has hit safely in his last 10 home games.
Jimmy Nesselt is 6-0 with a 2.65 ERA (11 ER/37.1 IP) with 35 strikeouts in his last six starts at Thomas Stadium.
Comparing its first 10 games this season to the first 10 of last year, ETSU is hitting 88 points higher (.320-.232), while the Bucs are plus-33 in hits (111-78), plus-12 in doubles (26-14), plus-2 in triples (7-5), plus-6 in home runs (9-3), plus-32 in runs scored (74-42) and plus-10 in stolen bases (16-6).
Last season, the Bucs struggled in the middle innings of games, but this year, ETSU is outscoring its opponents, 28-4, between the fourth and sixth innings.
The Bucs have only scored first in three of their first 10 games, but the Blue and Gold are 3-0 in those contests, compared to being 4-3 when the opposition pushes across the first run.
Since 2011, ETSU is 75-17 when scoring seven runs or more and 93-25 when holding its opponents to four runs or less.
As a team, ETSU ranks fifth nationally in slugging percentage (.519), 12th in batting average (.322), 14th in triples (6), 17th in WHIP (1.08), 24th in scoring (7.6), 27th in home runs (9), 30th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.17) and 31st in walks allowed per nine innings (2.59).
Individually, Trey York ranks second in slugging percentage (1.182), third in home runs (5), sixth in batting average (.545), seventh in total bases (39), 10th in RBI (17) and 12th in runs scored (16). York leads the country in home runs per game (0.56), while he and Chris Cook are 19th in triples (2). Meanwhile, Jimmy Nesselt ranks 17th in strikeouts (25), while he and Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) rank 38th in wins (2).
Since 2013, the Blue and Gold have won 46 games at Thomas Stadium, resulting in a .667 winning percentage during this span.
Coach Skole, who earned his 400th win at ETSU on Tuesday night, is five 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 continues its run through the “Power Conference” gauntlet as the Bucs travel to Knoxville for a midweek game at Tennessee on Tuesday night. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
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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