JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 15, 2012) – After earning its first road win of the season against Wofford on Wednesday, the ETSU baseball team returns home to open Atlantic Sun play in a three-game series against Belmont beginning on Friday at Thomas Stadium.
Friday’s game will begin at 2:05 p.m. with a 1:05 p.m. first pitch set for Saturday and Sunday. Live stats will be available through Gametracker at ETSUBucs.com.
The Bucs are coming off a 5-3 win at Wofford on Wednesday and a 7-3 loss to Furman on Tuesday. ETSU won two out of three games against La Salle at home over the weekend. The Bucs defeated the Explorers 9-6 in the series opener on Friday and won the finale on Sunday 15-3. La Salle took game two 6-3 on Saturday.
Sophomore Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) leads the Bucs at the plate with a .414 average to along with two home runs and 14 RBI. Meanwhile, Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) is tops in the nation in home runs per game. He has eight homers on the year, while batting .361 with a team-high 17 RBI. Dylan Pratt (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) are each batting .327 on the season. Pratt has four home runs and 10 RBI, while safely reaching base in each of the 15 contests this season. Niesman has added two home runs and 11 RBI.
The ETSU pitching rotation is led by John Long (Anderson, S.C.) (4-0, 3.41 ERA) as he leads the A-Sun with four wins. Long has recorded his four wins in four starts. Derek Bushey (Richmond, Va.) (1-1, 4.50 ERA) and Jake Long (Anderson, S.C.) (1-1, 2.49 ERA) will also be in the starting rotation for the weekend.
Belmont enters the weekend with an 11-7 overall record and the Bruins have won three straight. The Bruins picked up a pair of midweek wins against Middle Tennessee State and Valparaiso, while taking one of three against Auburn last weekend.
The Bruins will go with a pitching rotation of Chase Brookshire (1-1, 2.38 ERA) on Friday, Matt Hamann (0-2, 4.56 ERA) on Saturday and James Buckelew (3-0, 0.74 ERA) on Sunday. Belmont is fourth in the Atlantic Sun with a team ERA of 3.18, but the Bruins are hitting just .238 as a team. Zac Mitchell leads the squad at the plate with a .414 average to along with a home run and 10 RBI, while Dylan Craig is the only member of the team hitting above .300. Craig owns a .333 average with 14 RBI.
Belmont has owned the series against the Bucs especially lately. The Bruins have won the last seven meetings between the two schools, which includes a sweep of the Bucs in Nashville last season. Belmont leads the all-time series against ETSU, 20-7.
ETSU will not be providing shuttle service for this weekend’s games.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.