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Catamounts Meet Blue Hose in Midweek Road Game



Western Carolina concludes its string of eight-straight games away from home on Tuesday night as the Catamounts travel to Clinton, S.C., to face the Presbyterian Blue Hose out of the Big South Conference in the front end of a nonconference home and home. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the PC Baseball Complex.

 

Tuesday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live stats through StatBroadcast available through a link online at CatamountSports.com.

 

Western Carolina (17-12) has won six of its last seven games overall and seven of its last eight played away from Cullowhee dating back to the neutral-field loss to VCU at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. on March 7. All told the Catamounts have won 13 of their last 16 games entering the week.

 

WCU posted a 3-1 record last week, downing another Big South foe in Gardner-Webb last Tuesday before taking 2-of-3 from the Akron Zips in a trio of neutral field contests at Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio. Sunday’s loss in the series finale snapped a six-game winning streak for the Catamounts.

 

Infielders Zach Ketterman (7-for-14) and Mason Holton (6-for-12) had strong weekends for the Catamounts in Ohio. Ketterman collected six extra-base hits with three doubles, two triples, and a home run, driving in six during the trip to Prasco while Holton doubled three times with four RBI.

 

WCU enters the week batting .288 as a team with 289 hits including 119 for extra bases – 73 doubles to rank second in the SoCon, five triples, and 41 home runs that pegs the Catamounts fourth in the league. The Purple & Gold are averaging 7.9 runs on nearly 10 hits per game while surrendering 7.0 runs on nine base hits per contest.

 

Six Catamounts are batting over .300 with Hayden Friese leading the way with a .369 mark (24-of-65) with five doubles and a pair of home runs. Infielders Trent Turner (.331), Mason Holton (.313), and Zach Ketterman (.306) are joined by outfielder Nate Stocum (.312) as the team leaders in average. Turner has a team-best 43 base hits including a team-best 10 doubles that rank him inside the Top 10 in the SoCon, while Stocum has a team-best 13 home runs – second in the league – while leading the team with 36 RBI.

 

Western Carolina is expected to start senior RHP Dante Visconti (1-0, 7.20 ERA) on Tuesday at Presbyterian in what will likely be a staff day. Visconti, who has tossed 20.0 innings over 13 appearances to date, makes his second start of the season and his fifth as a Catamount. He has struck out 14 while walking the same number this spring.

 

The Blue Hose (16-16) completed a three-game series sweep of Big South foe Presbyterian over the weekend to move into second place in their conference standings amidst a three-game win streak. PC capped the weekend with a 9-2 win that included the Blue Hose legging out a season-high eight doubles.

 

Presbyterian enters the week averaging 6.0 runs on 7.6 hits per game over its first 32 games while allowing just 5.2 runs on 8.5 hits per outing.

 

Two Blue Hose regulars – Joel Dragoo (.387) and Brody Fahr (.358) – are batting over the .300 threshold. Dragoo, who collected Big South Player of the Week honors on Monday, has a team-best 12 doubles, eight home runs, and 42 RBI. Infielder Brody Fahr – a second-team All-Big South selection a season ago – and RHP Tanner Smith landed on the preseason all-league team.

 

Presbyterian has played a tough midweek schedule including four against Power Five conference opponents – Clemson in a home-and-home and visiting Georgia, South Carolina, and Georgia Tech, nearly upending the Yellow Jackets last week with a one-run, 9-8 loss.

 

WCU and PC have three common opponents this season – Gardner-Webb, The Citadel, and Western Michigan. WCU has posted a 5-0 record against that trio while PC is 2-3 with both victories coming against Gardner-Webb.

 

Western Carolina vs. Presbyterian – The Series:

The Catamounts and Blue Hose have met 11 times previously on the baseball diamond with WCU leading the series, 7-4. Nine of the 11 meetings have come since PC made the move to the NCAA Division I ranks in 2008.

 

Five of WCU’s seven series wins have come at home as the series is tied at 2-2 in Clinton, S.C. The two teams have split the last four meetings, playing nonconference home-and-home series the past two seasons. In splitting the meetings in 2022, both teams won on the road; a year later, the home squads prevailed.

 

The two teams will meet in Cullowhee on May 14 in the backend of the home-and-home series.

 

On Deck for Western Carolina:

Following Tuesday’s nonconference road game, Western Carolina opens a seven-game homestand this weekend by hosting in-state Southern Conference rival UNCG for a three-game league set at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. Friday’s opener is scheduled for 5 p.m. with a special 3 p.m. first pitch on Saturday after the WCU football Spring Game. The series wraps on Sunday with a 1 p.m. start.

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