ETSU turns sights to Mercer for weekend clash
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 5, 2019) – The ETSU Buccaneers will settle back in to Betty Basler Field as the softball team will host Southern Conference foe, Mercer, this weekend in a three-game series. The home stand will begin on Saturday, April 6 with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. The series finale will take place on Sunday, April 7 with the first pitch commencing at 1 p.m.
Date: Saturday, April 6 – Sunday, April 7
Location: Johnson City, Tenn. | Betty Basler Field
Teams: ETSU (17-13-2, 3-0) vs. Mercer (16-21, 2-1)
Weather: Saturday - High: 75 Low: 53; Partly Cloudy / Sunday – High: 77 Low: 60; PM Thunderstorms
Live Stats: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3
Twitter Updates: @ETSUSoftball
Battling the Bucs
The Bucs enter the weekend as the only team in the SoCon with an undefeated conference mark. ETSU is 17-13-2 heading into the series, but more importantly a perfect 3-0 in league play. The Bucs picked up three wins against Western Carolina in the league-opening series, earning just their third SoCon sweep since rejoining the league in 2015. The Blue & Gold are led at the dish by Nikki Grupp (Jacksonville, Fla.) with a .356 batting average, complimented by a team-high eight home runs and 33 runs batted in. Kelsey Brown (Advance, N.C.) has taken the season by storm, ranking second on the team in batting with a .314 average. Brown belted her third long ball of the season in Wednesday’s doubleheader split at Radford to go along with two RBIs. Kelly Warren (Mechanicsville, Va.) is the final Buc batting over .300 with a .304 average in the leadoff spot.
ETSU has a strong one-two punch in the circle as Kelly Schmidt (Norcross, Ga.) and Taylor Boling (Jasper, Ga.) have each tallied seven wins on the season. Schmidt leads the team in ERA with a 3.54 mark and ranks third in the SoCon in strikeouts with 76. Boling is 7-4 on the campaign with a 3.73 ERA and a SoCon-leading four saves on the campaign.
Besting the Bears
Mercer enters the contest with a 16-21 record, including 2-1 in conference play. The Bears have won three consecutive games heading into the weekend series, including a 5-4 victory over Florida A&M on Wednesday in Macon, Ga. Mercer is 1-5 in true road games this season and have won just four games away from Sikes Field. The Bears are led at the plate by Danielle Castleberry, posting a league-leading .377 batting average to go along with a .500 on-base percentage. Castleberry (40), Allie Jones (39) and Micayla Rood (37) rank inside the top four in the conference in total hits. Mercer has belted 18 homers and plated 161 RBIs, led by four long balls and 24 runs batted in by Abby Walsh. The Bears are led in the circle by a freshmen duo in Bailey Pattison and Lynn Gardner. Pattison is 8-8 on the season with a 3.95 ERA, while Gardner is 7-7 with a 4.64 ERA and three saves.
ETSU is 13-21 all-time against the Bears, having won the most recent outing against Mercer by the final score of 5-3 in the 2018 SoCon Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. The Bucs were swept in the three-game series earlier that season but had the final laugh with a victory when it mattered most. ETSU is 8-9 all-time against the Bears when playing at Betty Basler Field.
Keeping up with the Bucs
For complete information on ETSU softball, follow the program via social media on Twitter (@ETSUSoftball), Instagram (@etsubucssoftball) and Facebook (@BucSoftball). For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the softball link.