May 25, 2016123456789RHE
ETSU000000000041
Furman00001020X371
PitchingIPHRERBBSO
Win: Will Gaddis (10-3) 9.040018
Loss: Lee Haeberle (4-4) 5.131135
BattingABRHRBIBBHR
Aaron Maher (ETSU) 401000
Kevin Phillips (ETSU) 301000
Blake Rowlett (ETSU) 201000
Andrew Lasure (ETSU) 301000
Jake Crawford (FUR) 402000
Bucs open SoCon Championship Wednesday in Greenville
Bucs open SoCon Championship Wednesday in Greenville
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

No. 5 ETSU faces No. 4 Furman at Fluor Field

GREENVILLE, S.C. (May 23, 2016) – The ETSU baseball team begins its run for a conference title as the fifth-seeded Bucs open the 2016 Southern Conference Championship against fourth-seeded Furman on Wednesday morning. First pitch is set for 9 a.m. at Fluor Field. 

ABOUT THE BUCS

ETSU has won 10 of its last 12 conference games to end the season and enters the conference tournament at 26-28 overall, 13-11 in SoCon play. 

The Bucs, who won three of their last four series, won five total series on the season after taking two of three from Furman, three of four from Purdue and sweeping VMI, Samford and The Citadel. 

As a team, ETSU enters the conference tournament as one of the top hitting teams in the country as the Blue and Gold rank third in slugging percentage (.503), fifth in home runs (74), 15th in hits (601), 16th in runs (415) and scoring (7.7), 17th in batting average (.312) and 22nd in doubles (117). 

ETSU wrapped up the regular season with a three-game sweep over The Citadel, marking its first sweep over the Bulldogs since 2004 … For the series, the Bucs scored 10 or more runs in all three games, which is the first time ETSU accomplished the feat since 2010 when they scored 10-plus runs in four straight games. 

Senior outfielder Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) was 8-for-12 with one double, six runs, three walks, two RBI and three stolen bases against The Citadel, while sophomore Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit .462 (6-for-13) with a double, home run, four runs and six RBI in the three games … Taylor, who recorded his 250th career hit on Thursday night, has started 221 games which ranks second all-time in program history. 

Following his six hits over the weekend, Owenby moved his season total to 85, marking the first time a Buccaneer reached the 80-hit plateau since Clinton Freeman in 2013, while Owenby and Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) are looking to become the first Buccaneer duo to have 80 hits in the same since 2010 … ETSU had six players finish with at least 80 hits that season, including Paul Hoilman’s record-setting 99-hit campaign … As a team, the Blue and Gold set the single-season record with 724 that year. 

After belting five home runs over the weekend, ETSU moved its season total to 74, which ranks fourth all-time in program history … The Bucs have hit two or more home runs 19 times this season, while posting double-digit hits 35 times. 

York and Owenby earned first team All-SoCon honors, while Robby McCabe (New Port Richey, Fla.) and Blake Rowlett (Clarksville, Tenn.) landed second team honors. 

ETSU’s pitching staff surpassed the 400-strikeout mark over the weekend as the Buccaneer hurlers have recorded 404 punch-outs on the season, marking the first time in school history they have posted over 400 strikeouts in back-to-back seasons … Last year, the Blue and Gold set the program record with 431 strikeouts. 

Senior right-hander Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) ranks third in the SoCon with 85 strikeouts, while sophomore righty Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) is fourth in opposing batting average (.256) … Junior southpaw Jamin McCann (Kingsport, Tenn.) is tied for second in wins (7) and junior righty Peyton Taylor (Kingsport, Tenn.) ranks fourth in games finished (20) and is tied for eighth in appearances (29). 

McCann is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA (5 ER/16.1 IP) with 15 strikeouts in eight relief appearances in SoCon play, while junior right-hander Blake Smith (Ninety Six, S.C.) is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA (3 ER/9.2 IP) with 10 strikeouts in four relief stints against conference foes. 

ABOUT FURMAN

Furman enters the conference tournament winning its last four SoCon series and sits 27-28 overall, 14-10 in SoCon play … The Paladins earned series wins over Wofford, VMI, The Citadel and Western Carolina during that stretch … The Paladins have won 12 of their last 16 games to end the season. 

Furman right-hander Will Gaddis earned SoCon Pitcher of the Year honors, while outfielder Jabari Richards was tabbed Freshman of the Year. 

Gaddis went 9-3 with a 3.79 ERA (39 ER/92.2 IP) with 84 strikeouts to 19 walks in 14 starts … Gaddis leads the SoCon in wins, innings and strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.42), while ranking fourth in strikeouts and fifth in both ERA and opposing batting average (.259). 

Richards hit .360 (54-for-150) with 11 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 39 runs scored and 23 RBI in 37 games for the Paladins … Richards has also posted 20 multi-hit games so far this season and is 10-for-12 in stolen base attempts. 

Junior outfielder Sky Overton carries a 17-game on-base streak into the conference tournament, while fellow junior outfielder Carter Grote leads the team in hits (62), walks (21) and runs (43). 

Junior right-hander reliever Nolan Mullen holds a 2.96 ERA (9 ER/27.1 IP) and is tied for the team lead in saves with Jake Crawford (5) 

Crawford and Richards also landed spots on the SoCon all-freshman team. 

The Paladins have held their opponents to two runs or less 10 times, and are 21-1 when leading after seven and 23-1 when leading after eight. 

PITCHING MATCHUP

Senior right-hander Lee Haeberle will get the start for ETSU, while Furman counters with sophomore right Will Gaddis. 

Haeberle is 4-3 and making his 15th start of the season, while Gaddis is 9-3 and also making his 15th start. 

Haeberle earned the win over the Paladins in game two of the series this season at Thomas Stadium … The Buccaneer right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in eight innings, while Gaddis picked up the win a day earlier in the series opener … Gaddis allowed three runs on six hits and struck out seven in seven innings. 

SERIES HISTORY

ETSU and Furman have met 81 times with the Paladins holding a slight 41-40 advantage. 

The Bucs took two of three from Furman this season in Johnson City, while the Blue and Gold have won three of the five conference tournament meetings against the Paladins. Ironically, ETSU’s last SoCon tournament win was an 8-2 victory over Furman in 2001. 

Following the 6-5 loss in the series opener this season – where ETSU had the winning run on second with one out – the Bucs went on to defeat the Paladins 6-3 and 13-9 in the remaining two games of this year’s series. 

Robby McCabe was 8-for-11 with one double, five runs scored, and three RBI in the three-game series, while Hagen Owenby hit .417 (5-for-12) with three doubles and three RBI … Blake Rowlett had four hits and drove in three runs in the series. 

For their careers, Jeremy Taylor is hitting .314 (11-for-35) with two doubles, two triples, eight runs and four RBI in eight games against Furman … Meanwhile, Trey York is 13-for-34 (.382) with two doubles, one triple, one home rum, six runs and eight RBI in eight games versus the Paladins. 

COVERAGE

Wednesday’s game will be video streamed on the SoCon Digital Network, while live stats will be offered via StatBroadcast on SoConSports.com. 

WHAT’S NEXT

The winner of ETSU-Furman will play Thursday at 4 p.m., while the losing team plays an elimination game on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. The other teams on ETSU’s side of the bracket are top-seeded Mercer and No. 8 The Citadel and No. 9 VMI. Mercer, the regular season champion, gets the winner of the play-in game which features The Citadel and VMI. 

TEXTCASTER

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