JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 8, 2012) – After traveling to Western Carolina on Wednesday for its first road contest of the season, the ETSU (6-4) baseball returns home to the friendly confines of Thomas Stadium for a weekend series against Atlantic 10 opponent La Salle.
First pitch will begin at 1:05 p.m. for each game and admission is free. For fans unable to attend this weekend’s games, live stats will be available through Gametracker at ETSUBucs.com.
John Long (Anderson, S.C.), who has been phenomenal on the hill through three games, will make his fourth start of the season on Friday and will oppose La Salle senior Eric Van Wyk. Long is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA and is coming off a complete game victory over Indiana last Friday. Meanwhile, Van Wyk is 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts for the Explorers this season. In 17.2 innings, Van Wyk has given up 17 hits, four earned runs, and three walks, while striking out 14.
Kevin Christy will get the ball for La Salle on Saturday. Christy has earned three no decisions in his first three starts, but owns a solid 3.08 ERA in 17 innings of work.
ETSU will start sophomore Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) on Sunday for his fourth start of the season. Long is 0-1, but owns a miniscule 1.72 ERA in 15.2 innings of work. Long earned a no decision in the team’s 2-1 victory over Indiana on Sunday.
Sophomore Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) continues to pace the ETSU offense as he leads the squad with a .395 average. Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) are both hitting at .353 clips, while adding a pair of homers each. Senior outfielder Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) is batting .325 and leads the team with five home runs and 10 RBI. Freeman and Pratt paced the Bucs at the plate last weekend in the series win over Indiana. Freeman was 6-for-11 (.545) at the dish with a homer and two RBI, while Pratt was 4-for-9 (.444) with a pair of home runs and three RBI.
Pratt and Alex Reynolds (Johnson City, Tenn.) were each 2-for-4 on the afternoon to lead the Bucs at the plate against Western Carolina on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.), Niesman and John Long each had a hit and an RBI on the day. The Bucs used five pitchers in the contest with starter Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) earning the loss in two innings of work.
La Salle currently sits at 5-6 after most recently dropping a pair of games at Radford during the midweek. Last season, the Explorers finished the season with a 28-26 overall record and a 13-11 mark in the Atlantic 10.
So far this season, George Smith Jr. leads the squad at the plate with a .410 average to go along with four RBI. Jeff Flax is just behind Smith with a .389 average, while also chipping in six RBI. Joe Bennie has been the main power threat as he leads the squad with three home runs and eight RBI.
La Salle leads the all-time series against ETSU with a mark of 1-0. The only meeting between the two schools came back in 1985 with La Salle coming away with a 13-5 victory. This is the second Atlantic 10 squad the Bucs have faced already this season after sweeping a three-game set against Saint Joseph’s just two weeks ago.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.