Baseball off to hot start
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 22:03
Just 17 games into the season the ETSU baseball team is sitting pretty high. The Bucs have started the season 12-5 overall and just this past weekend won their first conference series of the year against USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C, 2-1. With the bulk of the remaining schedule being conference games, the Bucs hope to continue their early season success.
While the team as a whole deserves credit for all of this success, especially in Sunday’s 10-4 victory over the Spartans in which six players had multi-hits, junior Clinton Freeman’s impact cannot be denied.
Freeman is leading his team and the conference in nearly every statistical batting category. Freeman is hitting a conference-leading .455 while starting in all 17 games. He leads the team with 21 RBIs and the Atlantic Sun Conference with seven home runs. His .543 on-base percentage and .955 slugging percentage also tops the list in the A-Sun. But that’s certainly not all the Jonesborough, Tenn., native is contributing.
While he is definitely a powerhouse standing in the batter’s box, Freeman’s talents on the mound may be an even bigger contributing factor to this Buccaneers team success.
Freeman has racked up a team-leading four wins so far this season and won his first start in Sunday’s match-up against USC Upstate, pitching seven innings. His other three victories have come in relief situations where he has stacked a strong 2.08 ERA, just behind fellow pitcher Will Chesney’s 1.00 ERA.
Freshmen right-handed pitcher Griffin Krieg and outfielder Jeremy Taylor have also made their names known in this past weekend’s series. The duo took the Atlantic Sun weekly awards, the league announced on Monday. Taylor won the A-Sun player of the week while Krieg earned A-Sun pitcher of the week honors.
Krieg went 11.0 innings in one start and two appearances without allowing a run. Taylor, on the other hand, was giving USC Upstate and UNC Asheville’s pitching staffs a headache by posting a .458 batting average with three doubles, eight runs scored and five RBIs. The two young-guns were the third ETSU combo to sweep the A-Sun honors in program history.
Despite their success, ETSU may have a major bump in the road approaching with the arrival of Florida Gulf Coast University to Thomas Stadium. The Bucs will host No. 25-ranked FGCU in a three-game series this weekend.
FGCU currently holds a 13-4 record, but the ETSU meeting will be the Dolphins’ first A-Sun matchup of the season. FGCU has already garnered some attention by sweeping No. 13 Florida in Gainesville, Fla., in late February and nearly defeating Notre Dame in a 6-5 10-inning marathon.
Friday’s contest is slated for 7 p.m. with the Saturday and Sunday games scheduled for 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. respectively