Thursday, March 11, 2004JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Mar. 11, 2004) - East Tennessee State baseball begins a three-game series Friday night at 7 p.m. against Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern from J.I. Clements Stadium in Statesboro, Ga. ETSU (9-8, 1-2 SoCon) goes into the series on a winning note, having defeated Radford, 5-2, Wednesday afternoon from Cardinal Park in Johnson City. Last weekend, the Bucs lost two of three games in their SoCon opening series against Davidson. Even with those losses against the Wildcats, East Tennessee State has still won nine of its last 12 games. The Bucs are led at the plate by junior catcher Caleb Moore (Knoxville, Tenn.), sophomore right fielder Shane Byrne (Johnson City, Tenn.) and sophomore first baseman Blake Church (Roswell, Ga.). Moore is leading the team with a .404 batting average and four home runs while Byrne is hitting .388. Church currently boasts a .349 average and paces the Bucs with 18 RBIs. Church currently has an 11-game hitting streak while Byrne has a 10-game streak going into this weekend's series with GSU. Senior All-SoCon shortstop Andy Howdeshell (Maryville, Tenn.) has also been heating up recently, hitting in eight of his last nine games to raise his batting average to .333. Howdeshell also has two homers and 14 RBIS and leads the club with 15 walks and nine stolen bases. Senior lefty Tim Turner (Marietta, Ga.) and sophomore righty Jeremy Hall (Gray, Tenn.) have each been pitching well recently, with Hall winning each of his last three starts and Turner winning two of three. Turner leads all Buccaneer starters with a 3.46 ERA on the season while Hall has a 3.71 ERA. The Buccaneer bullpen has also been a strength this season, led by freshman David Yates (Douglasville, Ga.), junior Trevor Smith (Newport, Tenn.) and freshman Brandon Summey (Kingsport, Tenn.). Yates has allowed just one run in nine innings pitched while Smith has only allowed two this season. Summey has only allowed one run in his last 8.1 innings pitched and is coming off a great performance against Davidson on Mar. 7 where he did not allow any baserunners in 2.1 innings while striking out four. Georgia Southern comes into the series with a 7-10 record, 2-1 against SoCon opposition. The Eagles took two out of three last weekend against Appalachian State in their first SoCon series of the season. Friday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m., Saturday's game will be played at 4 p.m. and Sunday's first pitch will be at 1:30 p.m. Live stats will not be available for this weekend's games, but the radio broadcast can be heard on the Georgia Southern Sports Network at www.wmcdfm100.com.
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