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Buccaneer Baseball opens 2005 season Friday vs. Niagara
Tony Skole begins his sixth season at ETSU Friday against Niagara
Tony Skole begins his sixth season at ETSU Friday against Niagara

Thursday, February 17, 2005

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Feb. 17, 2005) - The East Tennessee State baseball team will open their 2005 campaign Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. in the first of a three-game weekend series against the Niagara Purple Eagles from Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tenn.

            The Bucs finished sixth in the Southern Conference last season after going 28-30, 15-15 in SoCon games. ETSU will have a potent offense once again this season, led by preseason All-American senior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.) and junior preseason all-conference first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.). Junior righty Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) will anchor the pitching staff after winning nine games last season while Moore and senior Trevor Smith (Newport, Tenn.) will lead the Buccaneer bullpen.

            Niagara finished second in the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference in 2004 after 27-27, 16-9 in MAAC games. Shortstop Reed Eastley is preseason MAAC player of the year while the Purple Eagles feature a strong pitching staff. Junior righty James Avery went 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA last season and Josh Sawatzky earned conference newcomer of the year honors after going 6-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 2004.

            The second game of the series between ETSU and Niagara is scheduled for Saturday at noon and Sunday's finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.