February 14th , 2013 4:35 am Leave a comment

New stadium, new approach for Skole’s Buccaneers

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JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State’s baseball team has a more-positive outlook for 2013.

Last year, the Buccaneers made their debut inside of its brand-new facility, but there were no bleachers and the facility was largely still a construction zone.

On the field, after a successful 2011 campaign, the Buccaneers struggled to a 23-32 mark despite lofty preseason expectations.

Friday, however, marks a new day for ETSU baseball as Penn State visits a completed Thomas Stadium to open the collegiate baseball season.

One year after combining for 53 home runs, Head Coach Tony Skole says the team will transition from a power hitting team to that of a more finesse, aggressive team that utilizes its speed.

“We have a different ball club this year than we’ve had in the past,” Skole said during the team’s media event Wednesday. “For years we built our program around that three-run homer. Hitting it and defending it. At Cardinal Park, that’s what you’ve got to do. We had that kind of team last year, but it didn’t really play well in our new facility.

“We had to go back to the drawing board and sort of change the dynamics of our team a little bit. This is one of the fastest, as far as team speed goes, ball clubs I’ve ever been around. We can really run. Our guys like to bunt. It’s going to be a very, very aggressive style of offense. We’ve got to generate offense rather than sit back on the long ball.”

The Buccaneers return 13 lettermen to the team, losing 10 including three starting position players and two pitchers from the rotation. Skole signed 19 newcomers to the squad this season, but the senior experience will shine through in the starting lineup.

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