JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 23, 2015) – The ETSU baseball team opens a three-game Southern Conference series with Western Carolina on Friday night at Thomas Stadium.
GAME TIMES/PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday – 6:05 p.m. – Game No. 41
RHP Griffin Krieg (1-5, 7.56) vs. RHP B.J. Nobles (4-1, 3.68)
Saturday – 2:05 p.m. – Game No. 42
RHP Jimmy Nesselt (4-5, 4.90) vs. LHP Bryan Sammons (3-3, 4.68)
Sunday – 1:05 p.m. – Game No. 43
RHP Ryan Simpler (1-4, 6.70) vs. RHP Korey Anderson (3-3, 5.67)
PREVIEWING THE BUCS
ETSU (14-26, 3-9 SoCon) is looking to snap a seven-game losing skid after suffering a pair of midweek setbacks to Tennessee and Winthrop.
Junior Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) belted his team-leading 10th home run of the season in Wednesday’s 8-4 loss at Winthrop. Phillips’ 10 homers are tied for second in the SoCon, while he’s also tied for second in doubles (15), ranks third in RBI (43), fifth in slugging percentage (.622), and seventh in hits (55). Phillips has also hit safely in his last six games.
Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.), Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) and Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) also carry streaks into this weekend’s series. Taylor has reached safely in his last 15 games, Sanford in 13 straight and Thompson has done so in his last 12 contests.
Sophomore Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) tops the conference in hits (61) and runs scored (45), while junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn) leads the SoCon in batting average (.392), slugging percentage (.689), and triples (5), while he and Phillips are tied for the lead in total bases (102).
On the mound, senior Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) ranks second in the league in strikeouts (78) and is fourth in innings (64.1), while red-shirt freshman Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) is tied for second in games finished (17).
As a team, the Buccaneers are 10-0 this season when leading after six innings and 10-3 when out-hitting the opposition.
PREVIEWING WESTERN CAROLINA
Western Carolina (17-20, 8-7 SoCon) has dropped six of its last nine and split its midweek series with Appalachian State. The Catamounts won 18-15 on Tuesday night in Cullowhee, before dropping a 12-3 decision to the Mountaineers Wednesday in Boone.
The Catamounts have four players hitting over .300, while their three weekend starting pitchers have combined for 10 of their 17 wins. Bradley Srong leads the club in average (.378), hits (59), doubles (15), triples (4), RBI (41) and runs (51), while Matt Smith (.367 batting average, four home runs, 29 RBI), Danny Bermudez (.328 batting average, five home runs, 35 RBI) and Reece Strong (.312 batting average) are also hitting above .300.
Friday night starter B.J. Nobles has given up the fewest runs (20) among starting pitchers in the SoCon and the third fewest hits (42). The right-hander also ranks eighth in ERA (.368) and ninth in opposing batting average (.249) and strikeouts (53).
The reigning SoCon regular season champs were picked to finish first in the preseason polls, but Western Carolina has lost 11 of its 13 road games this season.
Western Carolina leads the all-time series 62-29, but the Bucs won the last meeting, 12-9, last season in Cullowhee. The win snapped the Catamounts’ 21-game home win streak, which was the longest in the country.
The Catamounts had won the last eight games in the series prior to last season’s setback, while ETSU is looking for its first win over Western Carolina in Johnson City since May 16, 2006.
Last season’s win was the first victory for the Blue and Gold in Cullowhee since 2005.
All three games this weekend 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 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.
A LOOK AHEAD
ETSU wraps up its four-game homestand Wednesday night when the Bucs host Appalachian State 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.