The ETSU baseball team will face Bowling Green in a three game series beginning on Feb. 19.
This is the first game of the season for the Bucs, who ended last season with an overall record of 21-35 and a conference record of 8-16.
“We are very excited about getting our season underway,” said coach Tony Skole, who just entered his 17th season as head coach of the baseball team.
This is the first time the Bucs and the Falcons have ever met on the field, but that doesn’t cloud the focus of the team as they head into the game.
“We’re more concerned about ourselves, trying to play the game well and controlling the things we can control,” Skole said.
The Falcons had an overall record of 25-29 when the 2015 season concluded.
The Bucs have a lot of returning players this year, including Trey York (Knoxville, Tenn.), Chris Cook (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Kevin Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.), who were recently chosen by College Sports Madness to be members of the SoCon Preseason All-Conference Teams.
At the end of the 2015 season, York led the team with a batting average of 0.355. He was followed by Cook and Phillips with 0.338 and 0.323, respectively.
York began the 2015 season with an 11-game hitting streak, while Cook had two 12-game hitting streaks throughout the season. Phillips led the team in home runs with 10.
The starting pitchers for Friday and Saturday’s games will be juniors Blake Smith (Ninety Six, S.C.) and Victor Gonzalez (Mount Pleasant, S.C.). This will be both Smith and Gonzalez’s first seasons with ETSU.
During his last season with Spartanburg Methodist College, Smith notably pitched 43 innings with 39 strikeouts. Gonzalez accumulated a 4.50 ERA in 66 innings pitched, with 62 strikeouts during his sophomore season with USC Sumter Community College.
“We have a lot of veteran players, seniors and some really talented upperclassmen that understand what it takes to win at this level, so I’m excited to see them compete,” Skole said.