JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (March 2, 2015) – Coming off its third straight winning weekend, the ETSU baseball team now turns midweek play as the Bucs host Radford Tuesday afternoon, while heading to Asheville on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s first pitch is set for 3:05 p.m. at Thomas Stadium, while Wednesday’s game at Asheville is slated for 4 p.m. at Greenwood Field.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
ETSU took two of three from BIG EAST foe Butler over the weekend at Thomas Stadium. The Bucs split a doubleheader on Saturday, while rallying for a 12-6 win Sunday to clinch the series.
Senior Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) held the Bulldogs to one run and struck out nine in eight innings to earn the 4-1 win on Saturday, while freshman right-hander Kain Hewitt (Gainesville, Ga.) tossed five scoreless innings out of the pen and junior Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.) helped ignite ETSU’s late rally with a three-run home run on Sunday.
For the weekend, York hit .455 (5-11) with two doubles, one home run, three runs scored and six RBI against Butler en route to receiving SoCon Player of the Week honors on Monday. Meanwhile, senior Zach Thompson (Johnson City, Tenn.) hit .545 (6-11) with one double and scored two runs, while Jordan Sanford (Powell, Tenn.) and Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) each hit .400 in the weekend series.
Hewitt earned his first collegiate win following the impressive five shutout innings on Sunday and red-shirt freshman Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) collected his first collegiate save after pitching the ninth inning on Saturday.
As a team, ETSU hit .350 (36-103) with 12 doubles, one triple and two home runs, while the Buccaneer pitching staff held Butler to a .230 clip (23-100).
Radford (5-4) is coming off a weekend sweep over Binghamton as the Highlanders outscored the Bearcats, 31-8.
The Highlanders have a pair of hitters batting over .400 as red-shirt junior outfielder Brad Keen is hitting .455 (5-11) with three runs scored and fellow junior outfielder Shane Johnsonbaugh is 14 for 34 (.412) with two doubles, two triples and nine runs scored. Meanwhile, red-shirt senior Josh Reavis leads the club with five doubles and 11 RBI.
As a team, Radford leads the Big South in triples (3), rank second in doubles (18) and fourth in stolen bases (16).
Radford is coming off back-to-back 30-win seasons, including a school-record 33 wins in 2014.
Each team is sending a freshman to the mound, marking the first collegiate start for both pitchers.
Right-hander Ryan Simpler (Lewes, Del.) will get the ball for the Bucs, while Radford counters with left-hander Zack Ridgely.
Simpler, who struck out the first six hitters he faced to start his collegiate career, in 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA (1 ER/4.0 IP) in three appearances for the Blue and Gold. In total, the right-hander has eight strikeouts on the campaign.
Ridgely has not allowed a run in each of his two appearances and has one strikeout.
ETSU leads the all-time series, 22-17, after splitting the season series in 2014.
Last year, Radford won the first meeting, 7-6, while Chris Riopedre’s (Miami, Fla.) walk-off triple capped off a 5-4 comeback in the second meeting.
Jeremy Taylor is 6 for 18 (.333) with one double, two runs, two RBI and 3 for 3 in stolen bases against Radford, while Jordan Sanford went 3 for 5 with one triple and two RBI in the two games last season. Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) hit his first collegiate home run for one of his three hits versus the Highlanders a year ago.
ABOUT UNC ASHEVILLE
After dropping its first three games to start the season, UNC Asheville has won four of its last seven games and sit 4-6 overall.
The Bulldogs are led by junior catcher Lucas Owens as he’s hitting .444 (12-27) with two doubles, one home run, eight runs and six RBI. Sophomore utility player Joe Tietjen (.314), red-shirt senior Tommy Houmard (.308) and red-shirt senior infielder Kyle Towles (.306) are all hitting above .300 for UNCA.
As a team, the Bulldogs are only hitting .236 (78-330) and being outscored, 67-48.
Despite dropping its last two games to UNCA, the Bucs lead the all-time series, 30-22, and have won 16 of the last 20 meetings.
ETSU dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to the Bulldogs at last month’s Upstate Classic in Spartanburg, S.C. Jimmy Nesselt struck out a career-high 10 hitters but picked up a no-decision as UNCA scored the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice RBI in the eighth inning.
Live stats will be available for Tuesday’s game via StatBroadcast by visiting ETSUBucs.com. Fans can access live stats on their computers, mobile devices or tablets.
UNC Asheville will provide live stats on Wednesday, courtesy of UNCABulldogs.com.
Live updates will also be posted on Twitter by following @ETSUAthletics and @ETSU_Baseball.
Trey York has hit safely in all eight games to start the season, while Hagen Owenby (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Zach Thompson carry five-game hit streaks into Tuesday’s game with Radford.
As a team, ETSU ranks fourth nationally in doubles per game (2.75), fifth in slugging percentage (.527), 11th in triples (6), 14th in home runs per game (1.00), 19th in batting average (.318), 21st in WHIP (1.07), 31st in walks allowed per nine innings (2.54) and 32nd in scoring (7.4).
Individually, Trey York leads the country in home runs per game (0.50), ranks second in slugging percentage (1.100), fifth in home runs (4), 12th in total bases (33), and 16th in batting average (.500) and RBI (14). York and Chris Cook both rank 12th in triples (2), while Jimmy Nesselt and Lee Haeberle (Hendersonville, Tenn.) are 32nd in wins (2).
Since 2013, the Blue and Gold have won 45 games at Thomas Stadium, resulting in a .662 winning percentage during this span.
Coach Skole is one win shy of his 400th career win at ETSU and six 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
Following the pair of midweek games, ETSU returns home to host Big 12 foe West Virginia in a three-game weekend series beginning Friday at 4:05 p.m. at Thomas 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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