It may be easier to list the things that we know for certain does not faze ETSU this week. Here’s a quick summary:
For other teams, those might cause distractions that de-rail their tournament run. So far for the Bucs, it has been part of a recipe for success.
“There is not a lot of panic in our dugout. We have really stressed to our kids this year toughness, both mentally and physically,” said head coach Tony Skole. “These guys have a nice steady resolve in them.”
After winning their second straight extra-inning game at the A-Sun Tournament 7-4 versus top-seeded Mercer, the Bucs become the only undefeated team left in bracket one and stand one win away from championship day.
“We don’t quit and we know we have a good bullpen in the back. It’s just confidence that we can come back to win any game,” reflected junior Clinton Freeman.
The Buccaneers are the first team in A-Sun Baseball Championship history to record two extra-inning victories. Freeman anchored the win for the Bucs. The southpaw fired three innings of scoreless relief, but they were far from stress free.
In the ninth inning, a lead-off single put the winning run on first for the Bears and in the next frame, A-Sun home run champion Nick Backlund came to the plate as the tying run.
“I was just thinking about doing whatever I had to do to get three outs. I played summer ball with Nick and he battles. He is a very good hitter,” said Freeman.
“This Mercer ball club is one of the best I have seen them have and obviously one of the best in the country right now. They are fun to compete against but so difficult to beat,” stated Skole.
The Buccaneers won their seventh straight extra inning contest and rallied for the win for the 19th time this year.
“We knew it wasn’t going to come easy but we did not come down here to lose. We are 2-0 right now, but it won’t make much difference if we lose the very next game,” Freeman said.
ETSU returns to the field against either Mercer or USC Upstate tomorrow morning at 1:15pm.