JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 13, 2015) – Coming off its first Southern Conference series win of the season, the ETSU baseball team returns home to play nine of its next 10 games at Thomas Stadium, beginning Tuesday night against Appalachian State. On Wednesday, the Bucs host ACC foe Virginia Tech.
Both games are scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
ETSU (14-20) took two of three at VMI over the weekend in Lexington, Va., marking the Bucs’ first SoCon series win since April 22-23, 2005 when the Blue and Gold won a shortened series at Appalachian State. The win over the Keydets was ETSU’s first conference series win since taking two of three from Mercer last May.
Sophomore Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) reached safely in all three games to extend his streak of reaching base to 18 straight games. Junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.), who registered his 100th career hit on Sunday, hit .417 (5-12) with three doubles, two runs, two walks, and two RBI, while two of Kevin Phillips’ (St. Louis, Mo.) three hits were home runs. Phillips hit two home runs in the 8-4 series-opening win on Friday night.
The Bucs hit four home runs on Friday night, marking the first time ETSU hit four home runs in a game since April 14, 2012.
ETSU’s pitching staff recorded 31 strikeouts in 26.0 innings as Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) and Griffin Krieg (Nashville, Tenn.) both posted double-digit strikeouts in their starts. Nesselt struck out 11 in Saturday’s 9-6 win en route to notching his 200th career strikeout, while Krieg registered a career-high 10 strikeouts on Sunday. Junior Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) earned the win in Friday’s opener as he allowed one run on five hits and struck out five in 5.2 innings. Despite walking four VMI hitters, red-shirt freshman right-hander Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) tossed 1.2 scoreless innings in two appearances and picked up his fourth save on Saturday. In total, ETSU’s starting pitchers – Haeberle, Nesselt and Krieg – went 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA (7 ER/19.1 IP) and 26 strikeouts in the series.
The Blue and Gold outscored VMI, 21-15, while 14 of ETSU’s 31 hits went for extra bases – nine doubles, one triple and four home runs.
ABOUT APPALACHIAN STATE
Appalachian State (11-26) has lost five of its last seven and dropped two of three at South Alabama over the weekend.
Michael Pierson leads the Mountaineers offensively as the senior infielder/outfielder is hitting .331 (43-130) with six doubles, one triple, six home runs, 25 runs and 26 RBI, while Dillon Dobson has belted eight of Appalachian State’s 28 home runs.
Opponents have stolen 57 bases (67 attempts) on the Mountaineers, while Appalachian State is 25 for 37 in stolen bases. Brandon Burris and Jaylin Davis are both 5 for 6 in that department.
The Mountaineers are 4-14 on the road, but have won their last two midweek games.
Freshman right-hander Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) will make the start for ETSU, while the Mountaineers counter with a freshman righty of their own in Reed Howell.
Simpler is 1-3 with a 7.29 ERA (27 ER/33.1 IP) in 14 appearances (three starts) this season, while Howell is 1-2 with a 6.29 ERA (17 ER/24.1 IP) in 13 appearances (four starts).
Appalachian State leads the all-time series, 75-55, and swept the Buccaneers last season. The Mountaineers won a walk-off single by Matt Brill to cap off a 7-6 win in Boone, while Appalachian State rallied for a 9-5 10-inning win at Thomas Stadium.
Prior to last season’s sweep, ETSU had won eight of the last 12 against its former SoCon rival.
Cook went 4 for 9 with one double and scored two runs in last season’s series, while Phillips is hitting .400 (6-15) with two doubles, three runs, three walks and three RBI in four games against the Mountaineers. York is 0 for 7 with three walks and one RBI in three games versus Appalachian State.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH
Virginia Tech (17-20) has lost five straight and was swept over the weekend by No. 11 Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.
Three Hokie hitters are batting over .300 with senior two-way player Alex Perez leading the group at a .349 clip. Red-shirt senior Erik Payne (.338) and senior Brendon Hayden (.303) are the two players hitting over .300. Perez and Payne are tied for the team lead with 51 hits, while Perez leads Virginia Tech in runs (41) and triples (6). Meanwhile, Hayden leads the Hokies in doubles (13), home runs (7) and RBI (33).
The Hokies are being outscored 56-19 during this five-game skid and have lost 10 of their 15 road games (3-3 in non-conference play) this season.
Neither team has announced its starting pitcher.
Virginia Tech leads the all-time series, 34-17, including the Hokies’ 8-3 win over ETSU last month in Blacksburg.
Cook, York and Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) all posted two hits in the five-run setback, while ETSU led 2-0 after plating runs in the top of the first and pulled even at three before Virginia Tech scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the third. The Hokies broke the game open with a four-run seventh inning.
Last month’s meeting was the first since Virginia Tech defeated ETSU, 13-6, back on April 19, 2011 in Johnson City.
The Bucs are searching for their first win over the Hokies since defeating Virginia Tech, 7-3, back on Feb. 24, 2009 in Blacksburg.
The two midweek games will be video streamed for free on the SoCon Digital Network (weather permitting), along with both games being broadcast on WXSM-AM 640 The Extreme Sports Monster as “Voice of the Bucs” Jay Sandos will have the call starting with the Atmos Energy Dugout Show, which begins 30 minutes prior to first pitch.
Live stats will be available 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.
A LOOK AHEAD
ETSU wraps up its five-game homestand this weekend as the Bucs host Samford in a three-game series beginning Friday night at 6:05 p.m.
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.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!
For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball page.