Western Carolina baseball closed its first week of preseason practice on Thursday ahead of the 2024 season under second-year head coach Alan Beck.
The squad officially opened practice on Friday, Jan. 26, and battled through seasonably cold temperatures and dodged rain showers through the first weekend. Most of this week, though, has been greeted with early spring-like conditions.
“Our guys put in a lot of work last fall and came back to campus after the break in great shape,” said Beck about his 2024 Catamounts. “This first week has been all about getting back into baseball playing form after the fall and the layover. But I’ve been impressed with the condition in which they returned to campus here in January."
The Catamounts have held four intrasquad scrimmages to date this spring with the first held as a part of last Friday’s opening day of practice. Many of the starting positions heading into the season opener remain up for grabs with competition across the field as Beck and his staff flesh out the projected lineup.
“We’ve looked good early,” Beck said. “I’ve been excited about the newcomers to our program, but even more impressed with the improvements made by our returners.”
Western Carolina returns a combined 21 letter winners including seven players who saw multiple starts a season ago and four pitchers who made four or more starts on the mound. The roster includes 12 seniors – five of whom were named team captains including Kyle Harbison, Zach Ketterman, Kyle Riesselman, Nate Stocum, and Jonathan Todd. The quintet was joined by junior outfielder Cole Jones.
Beck said that he is looking to the seniors and upperclassmen to take control and for this year’s squad to be a “player-led team.”
Western Carolina is scheduled for an extensive intrasquad scrimmage this Sunday, Feb. 4, at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium with an 11 am first pitch. The clinic – open for kids ages 6-12 – follows the action on the field at 2:30 p.m., with a post-clinic autograph session with the Catamount baseball team. For questions or to register, contact Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing & Promotions Tyler Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Season tickets for the 26-game 2024 home baseball schedule at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium are on sale now through the first-floor Athletics Ticket Office in the Ramsey Center, by phone at (828) 227-2401, or online at CatamountSports.com/BuyTickets. Season ticket prices start at just $51 for adult general admission or $26 for youth general admission. Additional seating options include field-level chair back seats and upper-reserved chair backs under cover beneath the press box.
Single-game tickets are slated to go on sale to the public on Friday, Feb. 2, ahead of the opening weekend against Iona Feb. 16-18 in Cullowhee.