MACON, Ga. (May 9, 2013) – The ETSU baseball team returns to conference play this weekend as the Bucs take on No. 21 Mercer beginning Friday night at 6 p.m., from Claude Smith Field.
ETSU – who has won back-to-back weekend series and six of its last eight games – enter the key Atlantic Sun series at 28-20, 13-8 in conference play. Mercer and North Florida hold a share of the A-Sun lead at 15-6 and Florida Gulf Coast sits 14-7. Ironically, UNF and FGCU play a three-game series this weekend in Jacksonville.
PITCHING ROTATION / GAME TIMES
Friday – 6 p.m. – Game No. 49
RHP Kerry Doane (10-1, 2.34) vs. RHP Brandon Barker (6-0, 2.27)
Saturday – 7 p.m. – Game No. 50
RHP Logan Rice (5-2, 2.48) vs. LHP David Randall (2-0, 5.21)
Sunday – 1 p.m. – Game No. 51
TBA vs. RHP DJ Johnson (5-2, 2.98)
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE BUCS
- The Blue and Gold wrapped up non-conference play with a 9-3 win over UNC Asheville on Wednesday night at Thomas Stadium.
- Sophomore Jimmy Nesselt (Plantation, Fla.) made his first start since March 3 and picked up the win after tossing three innings of no-hit ball, while Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.), Dylan Tritsch (Boca Raton, Fla.), and Daniel Tucker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) finished with multi-hit games. Freeman reached base in all four plate appearances after going 3-for-3 with one triple, one walk, two runs scored and four RBI, Tritsch went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and Tucker provided a pair of hits and drove in his first two runs in an ETSU uniform.
- Along with Nesselt, Kameron Miller (Crestview, Fla.), Will Chesney (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Freeman combined for three no-hit innings with four strikeouts to close out the game. Miller walked and struck out one hitter in the seventh, Chesney extended his scoreless innings streak to 7.1 by tossing a perfect eighth, and Freeman fanned two of the three hitters he faced in the ninth.
- With the win, the Bucs improved to 29-20 all-time against the Bulldogs, while ETSU has now won 15 of the last 17 meetings against the Big South foe.
- Mercer has won 12 of its last 15 and enters Friday’s game with a record of 37-13, 15-6. The Bears are coming off a split over Belmont as Mercer defeated the Bruins 11-1 in seven innings on Tuesday, but Belmont rallied for a 6-4 10-inning victory on Wednesday afternoon at Claude Smith Field.
- The Bears are one of the top offensive teams in the country as Mercer ranks seventh in the NCAA in total home runs (51) and runs scored (377), eighth in scoring (7.5), 17th in hits (522), and 19th in slugging percentage (.451). In addition, the Bears rank second in fielding percentage (.983), fourth in walks (274), and 30th in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (7.9).
- Individually, junior first baseman Nick Backlund – who was named Louisville Slugger Preseason First Team All-American – ranks fifth nationally in RBI (62), 19th in doubles (18), and 22nd in home runs (12). Meanwhile, sophomore infielder Chesny Young – the 2012 A-Sun Freshman of the Year – ranks eighth in the NCAA in hits (81) and 30th in runs scored (49), while his .373 batting average ranks second in the A-Sun.
SERIES VS. MERCER
- Since joining the A-Sun, Mercer leads the all-time series, 17-7, but the Bucs won the season series in 2012 at Thomas Stadium.
- Kerry Doane tossed the first of his 10 career complete games against the Bears last season in the 7-2 series-clinching victory back on April 22 in Johnson City. The right-handed pitcher held Mercer to two runs (one earned) on six hits and struck out five in the complete game effort.
- Senior Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) is hitting .333 (16-48) with nine runs scored and five RBI in 11 career games versus Mercer. Green is also 8-for-12 in stolen base opportunities in the series. In addition, sophomore Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) hit .462 (6-13) with one double, one RBI, and four runs scored against the Bears last season.
- ETSU won the series at Mercer back in 2009.
- All three games will be aired live on WXSM-AM 640. Fans outside the Tri-Cities region can access WXSM online at http://www.640wxsm.com/ or you can listen to the games via your mobile device(s) by downloading the iHeart Radio application.
- The games this weekend will also air live on A-Sun.TV for free.
- Live stats will be available for all three games this weekend via StatBroadcast by visiting ETSUBucs.com. Fans can access live stats on their computers, mobile devices or tablets.
- Live updates will also be posted on Twitter by following @ETSUAthletics and @ETSU_Baseball.
ETSU fans wanting to receive Buccaneer news, score updates, in-game promotions and much more sent to their mobile device can do so by signing up for “Buc Updates.” Click here to sign up today!
For more information on Buccaneer baseball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.