MAY 2, 2012 • 7 P.M. • JOHNSON CITY, TENN.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
ASU Fr. RHP Jamie Nunn (4-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. ETSU So. RHP Jake Long (2-6, 4.46 ERA)
Appalachian State University baseball puts a seven-game winning streak on the line on Wednesday when it makes the short trip across the state line to renew its longstanding rivalry with East Tennessee State. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at ETSU's brand-new Thomas Stadium.
The traditional home-and-home series between Appalachian and East Tennessee State was originally scheduled to be played at ETSU on April 3 and at ASU this week. However, the lights at newly constructed Thomas Stadium were not operational early last month and the clubs flip-flopped home dates.
The Bucs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead over the Mountaineers on April 3 at Smith Stadium but rain washed out the contest in the third inning. Unfortunately, that game is now officially cancelled, as the teams could not find a mutually agreeable date to make up the contest in Boone and ETSU is in final exams this week, which precludes it from playing a doubleheader on Wednesday.
Appalachian (32-9, 16-5 SoCon) extended its winning streak to seven games by sweeping a three-game series at Wofford this past weekend. The three-game sweep at Wofford was only the sixth series sweep by a road team in Southern Conference play this season. In all, road teams are just 46-77 in SoCon action on the campaign.
Thanks to the road sweep, the Mountaineers not only maintained their season-long grip on first place in the SoCon standings but also re-entered the national rankings at No. 28 in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll. The Apps also jumped to No. 24 out of 297 NCAA Division I teams in the latest all-important Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) projections at WarrenNolan.com.
Appalachian, which is 16-4 in non-conference affairs this season, can attribute much of that success to mid-week pitching of true freshman Jamie Nunn. Nunn is a perfect 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his first 13 collegiate appearances. In five starts, the rookie has surrendered only 18 hits and five earned runs while striking out 23 over 26 innings.
Offensively, the Mountaineers rank among the nation's top 25 in nearly every major offensive category, including scoring (fifth - 7.7 runs per game), batting (11th - .315), slugging (second - .484) and on-base percentage (23rd - .396).
ETSU (21-27, 6-12 A-Sun) will look to counter ASU's high-powered attack by sending its usual Friday night starter, Jake Long, to the mound on Wednesday night. Long, a right-handed sophomore that has worked out of the No. 1 spot in the Bucs' rotation the last two weekends, is available to pitch on short rest after lasting just three innings in a 24-7 loss at No. 11 Arizona last Friday. Long (2-6) was torched for 11 runs on 14 hits in his three innings of work last Friday to see his ERA balloon from 3.11 to 4.46.
Appalachian is squaring off with its longtime local rival for the 128th time since 1955. Since 1955, the only opponent that the Mountaineers have faced more than ETSU is Western Carolina (141 meetings). ASU leads the series, 73-53-1, but dropped both meetings last season, losing 9-4 on April 6 in Johnson City, Tenn. and 5-3 on May 4 in Boone. The Bucs hold a slim 6-5 advantage in the series since they departed the Southern Conference following the 2005 campaign.