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Skole releases 2014 schedule

Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 23:12

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ETSU Bucs

Coming off its first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference Championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance in 32 years, ETSU head baseball coach Tony Skole released the 2014 Buccaneer schedule on Wednesday afternoon.

Thirty-five home games, a trip to Auburn for the Tiger Classic, and a home-and-home with Tennessee highlight the slate for the Blue and Gold.

“The 2014 schedule will present our team with a tremendous challenge,” said Skole, whose team finished 20-9 at home en route to a 36-win campaign a year ago. “We feel the non-conference portion will prepare us very well for the difficult conference slate. It will challenge our team and complement the competition we will face in the A-Sun.”

The Buccaneer faithful get the chance to see the Blue and Gold early and often as ETSU plays 22 of its first 29 at the friendly confines of Thomas Stadium, beginning with a four-game home stint to open the campaign.

ETSU starts the 2014 season with a weekend series against Longwood on Feb. 14-16, before taking on Furman on Feb. 18. From there, the Bucs head to Auburn for the Tiger Classic, which pins ETSU with Pac-12 power California, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and SEC contender Auburn the weekend of Feb. 21-23.

Following their lone weekend road trip until early April, the Bucs return home for eight consecutive games as ETSU hosts UNC Asheville, 2013 NCAA Tournament participant Canisius, Eastern Kentucky and Hartford.

Sandwiched between midweek road games to Asheville, Eastern Kentucky and reigning Southern Conference regular season champion Western Carolina, is a weekend home series with Bryant — the reigning Northeast Conference champion — on March 14-16.

The Bucs then turn their attention to conference play come mid-March as the Blue and Gold open the A-Sun slate with back-to-back home series. ETSU begins conference action March 21-23 when Stetson visits Thomas Stadium, while Northern Kentucky makes its first-ever trip to Johnson City the following weekend.

After playing a plethora of home games to kick off the season, the Bucs play 15 of their final 28 contests on the road, beginning with a trip to Tennessee on April 1. The Vols make the return trip to Thomas Stadium on Tuesday, April 22.

The remaining 14 road games send the Bucs to Lipscomb, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Radford, Furman, and Florida Gulf Coast.

Other home conference series include North Florida, USC Upstate, and defending regular season champion and 2013 NCAA Tournament participant, Mercer. Meanwhile, ETSU brings in Western Carolina, The Citadel, Radford, and Appalachian State for midweek home games.

“We’re excited about our schedule as we will face many challenges, while giving our fan base a lot of opportunities to see some strong clubs visit Johnson City,” Skole said. “Our fans played a big part in our success last season at Thomas Stadium, and we are looking forward to having a great home field advantage this spring. I know season tickets will go fast, so it should be another great atmosphere this spring.”

Overall, the Bucs’ 2014 schedule features three teams who advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, along with 12 programs that posted 30-plus win seasons in 2013.

After concluding regular season play with Mercer, the A-Sun Tournament will be hosted by FGCU from May 21-25.

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