JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 20, 2015) – The ETSU baseball team hosts Tennessee Tuesday night at Thomas Stadium before wrapping up midweek play at Winthrop on Wednesday. First pitch of Tuesday’s game is set for 6:05 p.m., while Wednesday’s game is a 6 p.m. start at The Winthrop Ballpark.
Tickets still remain for Tuesday’s game against the Volunteers and fans are strongly encouraged to purchase them online to avoid lines at the ticket booths on gameday. Tickets are $15 for seats behind home plate and $10 for seats down the first and third baselines.
PREVIEWING THE BUCS
ETSU (14-24) was swept over the weekend by Samford as the Bulldogs took the opener, 15-4, while winning both games of Saturday’s doubleheader (8-4, 7-4).
Junior Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) has hit safely in seven straight games for the Blue and Gold, while reaching safely in his last 13 contests. Freshman Aaron Maher (Brentwood, Tenn.) and senior Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) have both reached safely their last 11 games, while senior Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) has reached safely in his last 10 contests.
Junior Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) hit .417 (5-12) with one double, two walks and scored two runs in the weekend series versus Samford, while Maher was 4 for 11 with one home run, three runs and three RBI. Taylor hit .333 (5-15) against the Bulldogs.
Junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) was named to the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list as he ranks in the top-50 nationally in slugging percentage, batting average, triples, on-base percentage, RBI, and runs scored.
Dillon Cate’s (Sevierville, Tenn.) last three appearances out of the bullpen have been scoreless, while the red-shirt freshman right-hander has not allowed an earned run in 16 of his 20 outings.
As a team, ETSU has registered double-digit hits 18 times this season, while the Buccaneer pitching staff is on pace to break the single-season strikeout record of 358, which was set in 1995. ETSU’s staff has struck out 303 in 38 games and the pitching staff is on pace to finish with 446 strikeouts this season.
Tennessee (15-20) has lost six straight games and is coming off a weekend sweep at Kentucky over the weekend.
The Vols are led by sophomore infielder Nick Senzel as he leads the team in batting average (.328), hits (45), doubles (8), and triples (5), while junior outfielder Christin Stewart has recorded 10 of UT’s 21 home runs and has driven in a team-best 33 runs.
Tennessee’s pitching staff has a 3.98 team ERA (134 ER/302. 2 IP) and has allowed four runs or less in 19 of its 35 games.
As a team, the Vols lead the SEC with 39 sacrifice bunts, while ranking sixth in opposing batting average (.242).
Freshman right-hander Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) will get the start for ETSU, while Tennessee counters with freshman left-hander Zach Warren.
Simpler is 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA (27 ER/38.0 IP) in 15 appearances (four starts), while Warren is 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA (9 ER/19.0 IP) in five appearances (four starts).
Simpler got the start last month against the Volunteers and allowed three runs on six hits in 5.1 innings. The freshman struck out four and walked none.
Tennessee leads the all-time series, 59-16, but the Bucs have won seven of the last 11 and nine of 15 against the Vols, including a series-sweep over their in-state rival in 2013.
The Vols defeated ETSU, 5-2, last month in Knoxville as Tennessee scored four unanswered runs to rally for the three-run win. York went 2 for 3 with one double and scored both runs, while freshman Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) had both RBI for ETSU.
Last season, the Bucs defeated UT, 9-7, in Johnson City as ETSU jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on for the two-run win in Thomas Stadium.
Winthrop (27-14) has won five straight and travels to North Carolina to take on Davidson on Tuesday night.
Brad Kaczka and Anthony Paulsen have combined for 99 hits, 58 runs and 59 RBI this season, while John Menken is hitting .303 (30-99) with five doubles, one triple, six home runs, 22 runs and 24 RBI.
Travis Shelley is 2-0 with a 2.68 ERA (12 ER/40.1 IP) in 22 appearances out of the bullpen, while Joey Strain has seven of Winthrop’s 10 saves.
As a team, Winthrop leads the Big South in batting average (.298) and hits (417), while ranking second in runs (254) and RBI (242).
The Eagles have won 20 of their 28 home games this season, while Winthrop has scored double-digit runs eight times this season, including a season-high 26 against Furman.
Neither team has announced its starting pitcher for Wednesday night.
Winthrop has won all seven games in the all-time series.
The Eagles swept the Bucs in 2013 as Winthrop won both games by one-run – 2-1 in Johnson City and 3-2 in Rock Hill.
Tuesday’s game will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network (weather permitting), while “Voice of the Bucs” Jay Sandos will have the radio call on WXSM-AM 640 The Extreme Sports Monster starting with the Atmos Energy Dugout Show, which begins 30 minutes prior to first pitch.
Live stats will be available for both games 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 returns home to host Western Carolina a SoCon series beginning Friday night at 6:05 p.m.
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.