JOHNSON CITY — Coming off one of its most successful seasons in school history, the East Tennessee State baseball team was back on the field this past week.
The Buccaneers wrapped up the first week of fall practice with scrimmages on Friday and Sunday at Thomas Stadium.
Jonesborough’s Clinton Freeman, coming off a productive summer in the Cape Cod League, pulled double-duty. The All-American hit .375 with a triple, a home run and five RBIs, and was also one of three pitchers to toss two scoreless innings.
Jeremy Taylor led the charge at the plate, going 6-for-8 with five runs scored and three stolen bases. Freshman Chris Cook went 4-for-5 in his first taste of collegiate baseball. The former Dobyns-Bennett star also stole a pair of bases. Andrew Lasure was 3-for-6 and drove in a pair of runs and Chris Riopedre finished the weekend with a 3-for-5 effort that included a home run and three RBIs.
Bucs coach Tony Skole got the chance to see his team back on the diamond for the first time since winning the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament championship and making their first appearance in the NCAA Regionals since 1981.
“I was very pleased with our first weekend of scrimmages, Skole said. “It was great to see this ball club in a game environment. I thought the tempo of our play was outstanding, and for the most part, our actions were very crisp and decisive. We had some strong performances and I saw some impressive efforts.
“A big key for our program is our returning players need to be better and improved from a year ago. You can tell with some of our returning guys their level of play has been elevated — just by the way they go about their business. There is a lot of poise and confidence in many of our returning players.”
Skole was also impressed with his freshmen crop. “...We had a few guys who did some nice things this weekend. There is a huge learning curve for these young guys, but it was very encouraging to see many of them jump right in and compete at a high level.”
ETSU has 45 days since last Monday to get their fall practice schedule completed.