The Rhode Island Rams baseball team gets set to go for their third win in a row this afternoon as they take on the East Tennessee State Buccaneers. After starting the season 0-9, Rhody has bounced back to win two straight as they have hopefully found their groove. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that their schedule is about to get a little more bearable. Rhody begins the first of a two-game set in Johnson City, Tennessee at 2:00 today.
The Bucs come into today’s action with a respectable 8-3 record. After opening the season with a loss to Penn State, ETSU rattled off six wins in a row, with two wins over the Nittany Lions, one over Wofford, and an impressive three-game sweep of the Seton Hall Pirates. After a road loss to Tennessee, the Buccaneers took two of three from Marist at home last weekend. Also of note – apparently they’ve gotten some snow down in the Volunteer State (who knew?), causing a mid-week match-up versus Appalachian State this week to be postponed. Things appear to be clear and ready to go this afternoon, but it’s good to know that at least we’re not the only ones dealing with a rough winter.
ETSU is led on offense by junior Clinton Freeman, who has an impressive .463 average in the first 11 games. Freeman is an absolute stud from the left side of the plate, racking up 19 hits, five doubles, three triples, and six homers in just 41 ABs. The URI staff might be better served just pitching around him; a 1.171 slugging percentage is nothing to mess around with. The Bucs pitching staff is led by… guess who? Yes, Freeman can also pitch – he’s 3-0 on the season in relief, tallying 10 strikeouts in 7 and 2/3 innings pitched. He’s a one-man wrecking machine. In terms of starting pitching, senior Kerry Doane anchors the staff, sitting at 2-0 with a pair of complete games and a 1.50 ERA.
This two-game series will not be easy for the Rams, for sure. But they’ll be well rested and they have momentum on their side after finally getting in the win column last week. The game start coming fast and furious now, so let’s see if Rhody can continue to play well as they try to inch closer to the .500 mark.