While the school year comes to an end, ETSU’s baseball team is preparing to take on the rest of its 2015-2016 season.

The team will play at least 15 more games, including four in the Southern Conference tournament. Ranked eighth in the conference, ETSU still has championship hopes.

This year, the SoCon Tournament is being held in Greenville, South Carolina. ETSU, along with its other eight conference partners, will be competing for the championship title.

The Bucs currently have a record of 16-23, and they are 3-9 in their conference. The Bucs’ next few weeks are pivotal and will determine their conference standing and place in the SoCon Tournament.

They have four conference games left and will play the Virginia Military Institute and The Citadel at home. Another big game for the Bucs is their second matchup with the University of Tennessee Volunteers on May 17. Earlier in the season, the Bucs fell to the Vols, 11-2.

“We are disappointed we haven’t played better,” said assistant couch Chris Gordon. “But we have a very talented team, and we can finish strong and give ourselves a lot of momentum going into the conference tournament.”

While the Bucs are losing 10 seniors this season, they have hopes to end on a high note for one last run together.

This year’s seniors are Nathan Millsap, Jeremy Taylor, Kevin Phillips, Trey York, Danny Carrier, Robbie McCabe, Andrew Lasure, Lee Haeberle, Josh Jacques and Griffin Krieg.

Throughout the season, the Bucs played well offensively, but struggled defensively. They also struggled with their pitching.

“We are a really good offensive team,” Gordon said. “We can score runs with anyone. We have to play better defense and pitch it better.”

Gordon said that on the days when the team does all three things well, it can successfully play against anyone in the league and beyond.

Earlier this year, coach Tony Skole announced five early commits for ETSU for the 2016-2017 season. Along with his assistant coaches Gordon, Aaron Gershenfeld and Zach Lucas, Skole spent time combing through recruits all over the country.

This new class of Bucs includes two pitches, a center and two infield players.

Four out of five commits are high school seniors, with one being a transfer from Jackson State Community College in Memphis.

While the loss of 10 players would scare most, the Bucs are excited to tackle the upcoming season.

“We have a lot of talented guys coming back, so we expect to compete for a SoCon Championship in 2017,” Gordon said. “We like our recruiting class and the young players in our program.”

The Bucs will continue this season hoping to end strong at the SoCon Tournament.