BSB Preview: Buccaneers open up 2017 schedule with Delaware State on Friday night

BSB Preview: Buccaneers open up 2017 schedule with Delaware State on Friday night

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern opens up the 2017 season on Friday night at the Ballpark. The Buccaneers will host Delaware State at 6 p.m. in the first matchup in a three-game series with the Hornets. Saturday's first pitch is set for 4 p.m. followed by a 2 p.m. start on Sunday.

Live Stats for the weekend series will be available at CSUSports.com, while in-game updates will be provided on Twitter: @CSUGameDay

Charleston Southern vs. Delaware State Weekend Notes

Probable Pitching Matchups – Charleston Southern vs. Delaware State (2016 Stats)
Friday, 6 p.m.
– RHP Wil Hartsell (1-0, 2.00 ERA) vs. RHP Lane Deleon (2-5, 3.96 ERA)
Saturday, 4 p.m. – RHP Kyle Dyson (1-2, 5.96 ERA) vs. RHP Sean McGrath (4-6, 6.15 ERA)
Sunday, 2 p.m. – RHP Nik Constantakos (0-0, -.—ERA) vs. LHP Garrett Lawson (0-0, -.—ERA)

Leading Off

  • Charleston Southern is slated to have three newcomers in the starting lineup on Opening Day this season as the Buccaneers are projected to start Aaron Miller (1B), Alex Andronica (3B), and Jason Miller (SS) in the infield to open the season.
  • The Bucs return five position players who recorded at-bats in 2016 to the lineup and all five are projected to be in the starting lineup with Mike Sconzo (C), Nate Blanchard (2B), Chris Singleton (CF), Cole German (RF), and Brandon Gragilla (DH).
  • Wil Hartsell will be CSU's Opening Day starter on the mound in the 2017 season. Hartsell will be making his first collegiate start after serving as one of the Bucs' top relief options out of the bullpen in 2016.
  • Chris Singleton makes the shift from right field to center in the 2017 season. Singleton returns as the Bucs' leading hitter at the plate and led the Bucs in doubles, home runs, and RBI in 2016.
  • Nate Blanchard was one of only three CSU players to play in and start all 53 games in the 2016 season. The senior infielder is projected to start the 2017 season at second base this year.
  • Mike Sconzo returns to lead the catching corps this season. The junior backstop started 49 games at catcher for CSU in the 2016 season and was a mainstay in the heart of the Bucs' lineup, hitting .280 from the plate.
  • The Bucs open the season with 11 of their first 12 games at home before traveling to Florida International on March 9-11. Overall, CSU will host 29 games of the 54 game slate at the Ballpark with home series against Delaware State, VCU, Hofstra, Liberty, Gardner-Webb, Radford, Presbyterian and Air Force.

Buccaneers against Delaware State
Charleston Southern as a program has a lifetime 3-0 record against the Hornets dating back to the 2007 season. The Bucs swept the weekend series against DSU, topping the Hornets 6-0, 11-2, and 7-4 over the weekend. CSU has never played Delaware State on the road.

About the Hornets
Delaware State was picked second overall in the MEAC North Preseason Baseball poll with the Hornets collecting one first-place vote and 51 points overall. DSU also placed a trio of players on the MEAC Preseason Second Team with junior pitcher Lane DeLeon, junior outfielder Austin Bentley, and utility player Todd Henry all receiving preseason All-Conference honors. Bentley also earned 2016 All-MEAC Second Team postseason recognition after pacing the Hornets with 32 RBI on the season.Henry was the Hornets' top hitter in 2016 with the sophomore posting a .329 batting average with a team-high 51 hits and 28 runs scored. DeLeon recorded 13 starts and 14 appearances on the mound and posted a 3.96 ERA and a 2-5 overall record on the rubber.

New Faces, New Places
It's a brand new roster for the Bucs in 2017 as CSU returns only five position players and three starters from the 2016 team. The Bucs lost 17 of the 33 man roster from last season, but welcome 17 newcomers to the fold this season. The Bucs will feature a new weekend starting rotation this year with Wil Hartsell and Kyle Dyson toeing the rubber, while incoming freshman Nik Constantakos is slated to garner the start on Sundays. The Bucs will also feature essentially a brand-new starting infield with senior Nate Blanchard the lone holdover from 2016. Transfer Jason Miller and freshmen Alex Andronica and Aaron Miller are expected to join Blanchard around the diamond.

Bucs against the MEAC
Charleston Southern will face off against two MEAC teams in the 2017 with the Bucs taking on Delaware State and Savannah State this season. CSU opens the year with a trio of home games against DSU, while heading to Savannah State on Tuesday, February 21. The Bucs will host Savannah State in a return trip on Wednesday, March 29. The Bucs went 2-0 against the MEAC last season with wins at home against Savannah State (April 13, W, 10-4), and on the road at N.C. Central (May 11, W, 1-0).

Bucs tabbed to finish Ninth in the Big South Preseason Poll
Charleston Southern was selected ninth overall in the Big South Conference Baseball Preseason Coaches' Poll as announced by the conference office on January 26. The Buccaneers received 19 votes overall in the poll and will begin the season under the tutelage of interim head coach Adam Ward. For the first time, High Point University has been voted the Big South Conference's preseason baseball favorite by the league's head coaches. In addition, the coaches voted Gardner-Webb senior infielder Collin Thacker the Conference's Preseason Player of the Year and Winthrop redshirt-junior Matt Crohan the league's Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

TICKETS: All tickets are $10 and general admission.

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