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Catamounts Open Five-Game Homestand Tuesday



Daniel Hooker

Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations


Western Carolina baseball opens its final five-game homestand of the regular season on Tuesday evening as the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs visit Childress Field / Hennon Stadium in the backend of a nonconference home-and-home that was originally scheduled for late March. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

 

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

 

About Western Carolina:

The Catamounts look to snap a four-game seasonal slide with WCU having dropped seven of its last nine games overall – though four came against nationally-ranked opposition including No. 3 Tennessee and 13th-ranked Wake Forest over the weekend.

 

After facing one of the nation’s top pitching staffs including the NCAA leader for strikeouts over the weekend, WCU is batting .283 collectively as a team with 438 hits including 103 doubles (tied for second in the SoCon and tied for 29th nationally), five triples, and 70 home runs, third in the league. WCU is averaging 7.5 runs on 9.7 hits per game while now surrendering 7.7 runs on 9.6 base hits.

 

Senior Zach Ketterman is batting .354 to lead four Catamount regulars batting over the .300 threshold – with a fifth in Trent Turner just below at .297. WCU has three players with double-digit home runs with Nate Stocum pacing the squad with 17 – tied for second in the SoCon – with Ketterman with a dozen and Drew Needham joining the club over the weekend now with 10. Five Catamounts have double-digit doubles with Stocum in the conference’s Top 10 with a team-best 14.

 

Stocum stretched his season-long hitting streak to 19 games at Wake before it was snapped in the series finale. Ketterman owns the squad’s longest reached base safely streak at 19 in a row with Mason Holton having reached in seven-straight.

 

About Gardner-Webb:

The Runnin’ Bulldogs come to Cullowhee with a 19-27 seasonal record with just five wins (5-13) away from Boiling Springs on the year. Gardner-Webb has won four of its last six games on the season, taking 2-of-3 from SoCon-foe Wofford last weekend at home with a 10-inning 6-5 victory and a scheduled 8-4 loss in seven innings.

 

Gardner-Webb is batting .253 as a squad with 377 base hits including 69 doubles, eight triples, and 47 home runs. The Runnin’ Bulldogs average 4.9 runs on 8.2 hits per game while surrendering an average of 6.6 runs on 8.6 hits per game to date. Alex Burns paces GWU with a .315 batting average including 20 extra-base hits – nine doubles, a triple, and one of two Runnin’ Bulldogs with double-digit home runs, joined by Peter Capobianco (.244) who has 21 combined hits for extra bases.

 

The Runnin’ Bulldogs were picked second in the Big South Conference’s preseason poll just behind the favorite USC Upstate Spartans. Burns was a lone preseason All-Big South selection as voted on by the league’s head coaches for the first time in conference history.

 

Last Time We Met – Western Carolina 9, Gardner-Webb 5:

Tied at two through four complete, Kyle Riesselmann sparked a four-run fifth inning with a two-run home run to right field as Western Carolina held off the Runnin’ Bulldogs for a 6-4 win at Bill Masters Field at John Henry Moss Stadium.

 

Riesselmann (2-for-5) and Jack Spyke (3-for-5) both posted multi-hit games with Spyke recording a double. Humberto Torres (2-for-3) led Gardner-Webb with a pair of hits including a bloop triple. Three players – Nick Capozzi, Ryan Kennell, and Max Smyley – each drew three walks apiece.

 

Projected Starting Pitchers:

GAWB: Fr. RHP #36 Noah Arnett – (11 app., 6 GS – 0-2, 8.82 ERA, 16.1 IP, 10 K, 8 BB)

WCU: Jr. RHP #18 Spenser Hamblen – (11 app., 8 GS – 2-5, 9.68 ERA, 30.2 IP, 22 K, 23 BB)

 

Western Carolina vs. Gardner-Webb – The Series:

WCU and Gardner-Webb meet for the 33rd time on the baseball diamond on Tuesday with the Catamounts leading the series 19-12-1 that includes a 9-6-1 mark in games played in Cullowhee. WCU halted Gardner-Webb’s three-game series win streak earlier this season and has scored victory in five of the last eight series meetings.

 

On Deck for Western Carolina:

Following Tuesday’s nonconference meeting with Gardner-Webb, the Catamounts play a key three-game Southern Conference series against the Mercer Bears (5-9, .357) in Cullowhee this weekend. Game times are 5 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday as Catamount baseball welcomes home its alumni for a special weekend.

 

All three games of the SoCon series will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live stats available online at CatamountSports.com. Friday’s series opener will be broadcast locally on TheCW 62 (Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville) and simulcast on E+.

 

WCU (8-7, .533) enters the week in fifth place in the SoCon standings with the Bears and VMI Keydets remaining on the schedule. Those three trail the final first-round bye slot at fourth-place, currently occupied by Wofford (8-6, .571). The Terriers finish the SoCon slate against third-place ETSU (12-6) and visit league-leading Samford (12-3). Of note, both Wofford and Mercer have one fewer game as they played just two of the three scheduled in their regular-season meeting.

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