Andrew Green has a chance to break East Tennessee State’s career record for stolen bases, but it’s not at the top of his list of things to do.
Although Green is 10 steals away from becoming the Bucs’ all-time theft king, winning games is all that’s on his mind these days.
“Being a senior now, the reason I steal bases is to get myself in position to score and help us win,” Green said. “The one goal in our seniors’ minds is to win a conference championship. Now we don’t play for ourselves or our stats. We’re all together.”
Tony Martin stole 75 bases for ETSU from 1980-83. Green’s total of 13 this season gives him 66 and has him within striking distance.
“People tell me I’m getting close to the record, but I’d rather have a championship ring than a school record,” Green said. “Getting both would be phenomenal.”â€¨Green’s 13 steals this year have come in 15 attempts. Before Stetson got him once on Saturday, the only team to throw him out was Rhode Island.
“I think that one came on a pitch-out,” the center fielder said.
Green was expected to run wild on the bases this season. He began the year as the team’s leadoff hitter, but showed more pop than expected, so he was moved down in the order to try to bolster a lineup whose power numbers have cooled considerably since a torrid start.
With a .338 batting average, Green ranks 12th in the Atlantic Sun Conference. He’s second in the league in steals, but vows to pick up the pace down the home stretch.
“Hopefully here soon, I’ll get more opportunities,” he said. “ I’m trying to run a little more than I have been lately. It helps the team. It opens some gaps and the hitters get more fastballs.”
The Bucs (22-15 overall, 11-7 A-Sun) have at least 19 games remaining. That includes the A-Sun tournament, for which they didn’t qualify last year. This year they’re a lock to be in the A-Sun field, which has been expanded to eight teams.
ETSU is a game out of second place and a game and a half out of first.
“It’s great,” Green said. “It makes us focus more. It’s a lot better playing with a purpose. Last year, at some point we knew we weren’t going to make the (A-Sun) tournament. It was hard to go out knowing you wouldn’t make it no matter what you did. It’s a lot more fun playing with a purpose.”
After losing two of three to Stetson over the weekend, the Bucs return to action tonight with a non-conference game at Radford. They also play host to Appalachian State on Wednesday night before playing host to Kennesaw State for a three-game A-Sun series beginning Friday.