Friday, April 9, 2021

WCU Makes Football Coaching Change

Western Carolina University Director of Athletics Alex Gary announced Friday a leadership change for Catamount football.  Mark Speir will not be returning as head coach.

"After a thorough evaluation of the program, I feel that it is time we move in a different direction," said Gary. "We are grateful for Coach Speir's nine years of dedicated service and efforts on behalf of the Catamount football program."

Courtesy WCU Media Relations

Thursday, April 8, 2021

WCU Baseball - Up Next: VMI





The Cats return to Cullowhee for a Southern Conference series vs. the VMI KeydetsThe three-game series is now scheduled to open on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. with a doubleheader and a scheduled Sunday finale at 3 p.m. This will be the Cats third conference series of the season.  




When: Saturday & Sunday,  April 10 & 11, 2021, at 2 pm
WhereHennon Stadium, Cullowhee, NC  
Radio: none
TV/videoESPN+  
-announcer:  Daniel Hooker
Live StatsWCU Live Stats
VMI Fan Message Board:  Keydet Sportstalk

Head CoachJonathan Hadra - 
Record at VMI:  109-167 (Sixth Season) 
Overall Record: Same

2021 VMI Baseball Record: 16-7 overall, 2-7 conf., 4-8 home, 2-9 away, 0-0 neutral
2020 VMI Baseball Record: 4-13 overall, 0-0 conf., 3-7 home, 1-6 away, 0-0 neutral

The Series: The Cats are 64-22 overall vs. the Keydets, posting a 32-9 record of games played in Cullowhee and 23-11 in games played in Lexington. However, the Keydets have won 5 of the last 6 games played

Bobby Moranda's record vs. VMI: 8-7
Jonathan Hadra's record vs. WCU: 7-8

The Keydets are coming out of this season's blue division and will only play this one this season, all teams in WCU's red division will be played twice. The Keydets are coming off a series sweep by Samford in Birmingham last weekend and currently reside in the cellar of the blue division with a 2-7 conference record.

Probable Starting Pitchers:
Saturday Game 1: WCU – Soph. RHP Zebby Matthews (4-1, 3.19) vs. VMI LHP Nathan Light 
Saturday Game 2: WCU – Jr. RHP Ryan Mitschele (2-1, 3.91) vs. VMI RHP Jacob Menders 
Sunday Game 3: WCU – Fr. RHP Corey Bright (0-0, 5.40) vs. VMI vs. SU RHP Zach Hester



                                                        


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Up Next - Gardner-Webb






The Cats travel to Boiling Springs, NC  to face the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs in John H. Moss Stadium on Wednesday, April 7th in what will be the 26th meeting between the two teams on the diamond. The two teams will play a home & home series this season. 




When
: Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at 6:30 pm 
Where: John H. Moss Stadium  - Boiling Springs, NC
-announcersDanial Hooker on at 4:45 pm
TV/video: none
Live Stats: G-W Live stats
Conference: Big South
Mascot: Runnin' Bulldog
GW Fan Message Board: GW Fans Message Board
TicketsTicket information

Head CoachJim Chester - head coach at GW since 2019 
Record at UT:  18-18  (2nd Year) 
 
2021 UT Baseball Record: 11q-10 overall, 10-4 conf, 5-3 home, 6-7 away, 0-0 neutral
2020 UT Baseball Record: 8-8 overall, 0-0 conf., 6-2 home, 2-6 away, 0-0 neutral

The Series: The Cats are 15-9-1 overall against GWU, but have lost four of the last five games played against the Runnin' Bulldogs. The Cats are 8-4 in games played in Boiling Springs

Bobby Moranda's record vs. GWU:  9-5
Jim Chester's record vs. WCU:  0-0

Gardner-Webb has now swept each of its last two-weekend conference series and has won seven straight league games. The Runnin' Bulldogs return to action Tuesday evening, traveling to Radford for a midweek Big South battle, prior to Wednesday's game with WCU. 

Gardner-Webb is coming into the game riding a 4 game win streak after knocking off Radford on Tuesday night. GWU enters the game batting .249 collectively as a team with three regulars batting above the .300 threshold. Bo Rusher leads the team with a .321 batting average including 18 hits with four doubles and 10 RBI. Keiji Parkhurst paces the Runnin' Bulldogs with 16 RBI, one of five players with double-digit RBI to date.
 
Projected Pitching Match-Up
WCU – R-Jr. RHP Tristen Campbell (0-0. 3.38 ERA) vs. GWU – Jr. RHP Noah Davis (0-1, 12.46)





Monday, April 5, 2021

2021 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #7)

Updated:  The Wofford Terriers dropped out of spring football this morning, so we're doing the same, dropping them from the rankings.





Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2021 SoCon Football Power Rankings after week #7 of conference play.

Each Monday throughout the spring season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.





Here are this week's power rankings after 7 weeks of conference play (last week's ranking in parenthesis):


1. (2) ETSU  (4-1 SoCon, 4-1)
Next: at Mercer

2. (1) VMI ( 5-1 SoCon, 5-1)
Next:  ETSU

3. (5) Mercer (4-2 SoCon, 4-5)
Next:  ETSU

4. (4) Samford (3-3 SoCon, 3-3)
Next:  Bye 

5. (3) Furman (3-3 SoCon, 3-3)
Next: at The Citadel

6. (7) Western Carolina  (1-5 SoCon, 1-8)
Next:  Wofford

7. (8) The Citadel  (1-5 SoCon, 9-9)
Next:  Furman


The Quitters.....

Chattanooga - opted out
Next:  quit the season.

Wofford - opted out
Next:  quit the season.

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Baseball - Up Next: Wofford



 

The Cats will travel to Spartanburg to meet the Wofford Terriers for a three-game series this weekend. The Terriers have a series win in Charleston vs. the Citadel and a series loss in Macon vs. Mercer.  




When: Friday & Saturday, Apr 2 & 3, 2021
Time:  Friday at 5 pm, Sat, DH at 2 pm
Where: Russel King Field, Spartanburg, SC
Radio: None
TV/video: ESPN+  (Friday only)
Live Stats: Wofford Live Stats
Wofford Fan Message Board: Wofford Fans
TicketsTicket information


Head Coach: Todd Interdonato - head coach in his 14th season -
350 career wins
Alma Mater: UNC Asheville
 
2021 UT Baseball Record: 14-10 overall, 3-3 SoCon, 8-2 home, 6-8 away, 0-0 neutral
2020 UT Baseball Record: 14-3 overall, 0-0 SoCon, 13-2 home, 1-1 away, 0-0 neutral

The Series: The Cats are 70-21 overall against Wofford, and have lost five of the last six games played against the Terriers. The Cats are 29-10 in games played in Spartanburg.  

Position Starters Returning/Lost: 4 / 5 
Pitchers Returning/Lost: 13 / 7 
Overall Lettermen Returning/Lost: 26 / 13 
Incoming Players: 17

Wofford was picked to finish 3d in both preseason polls, and Hayes Heinecke, Jr. was selected as the preseason pitcher of the year.  Junior shortstop Matty Brown, senior outfielder Colin Davis, & senior designated hitter Lawson Hill, were 1st team all-conference selections and junior 1st baseman John Dempsey was named to the second team. 

In the 2021 season, the team returns four starters in the field along with 13 pitchers ... Overall 26 players returned to the team with 17 newcomers. Wofford is currently in the top 20 nationally in walks (14th), stolen bases (5th), sacrifice bunts (16th), stolen bases per game (14th) and walked allowed per nine innings (12th). Individually Lawson Hill is ranked in doubles (6th) and Jack Renwick is 17th in stolen bases.

The Terriers are coming off a 6-7 loss to former SoCon member Davidson College on Tuesday. This will be the Terriers' opening conference series in Spartanburg this season, and Wofford is 8-2 at home against non-conference competition.  



Projected Pitching Rotation: 
Fri.: WCU – Soph. RHP Zebby Matthews (4-1, 3.19) vs. WOF – Jr. LHP Hayes Heinecke (2-4, 4.42) Sat., Gm 1: WCU – Jr. RHP Ryan Mitschele (2-1, 3.91) vs. WOF – Fr. LHP Sam Stratton (1-1, 2.25 ERA) 
Sat., Gm 2: WCU – Fr. RHP Corey Bright (0-0, 5.40) vs. WOF – Sr. RHP Elliot Carney (3-2, 3.58) 



Monday, March 29, 2021

2021 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #6)

Updated Power Ranking - With the news that UTC has now "opted out" of the remainder of the spring season, we have updated the Power Ranking to reflect that fact, thus, we have "opted out" the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga from the power rankings to last place. 




Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2021 SoCon Football Power Rankings after week #6 of conference play.

Each Monday throughout the spring season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.






Here are this week's power rankings after 6 weeks of conference play (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1. (1) VMI ( 5-0 SoCon, 5-0)
Next:  ETSU

2. (4) ETSU  (3-1 SoCon, 3-1)
Next: at VMI

3. (3) Furman (3-2 SoCon, 3-2)
Next:  at Mercer

4. (5) Samford (3-3 SoCon, 3-3)
Next:  Bye

5. (7) Mercer (3-2 SoCon, 3-5)
Next:  Furman

6(6) Wofford (1-3 SoCon, 1-3)
Next: The Citadel

7. (8) Western Carolina  (1-5 SoCon, 1-8)
Next:  Chattanooga "opted out: of the game

8. (9) The Citadel  (0-5 SoCon, 0-9)
Next:  at Wofford

9. Chattanooga - opted out
Next:  quit the season.



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Sunday, March 28, 2021

WCU Baseball at #6 Tennessee






The Cats travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to face the #6 nationally ranked Tennessee Volunteers in Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Tuesday, in what will be the 28th meeting between the two teams on the diamond. The Cats and Volunteers last played in March 2018.  




When: Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at 6:30 pm 
Where: Lindsey Nelson Stadium - Knoxville, TN
TV/video: SECN (ESPN)
Live Stats: UT Live stats
Conference: SEC
Mascot: Volunteers
UT Fan Message Board: VolNation
TicketsTicket information


Head Coach: Tony Vitello - head coach at UT since 2017 -
Record at UT: 102-54 (4th Year) 
 Alma Mater: Missouri (‘02) Hometown: St. Louis, Mo. 
 
2021 UT Baseball Record: 19-4 overall, 3-1 SEC, 13-2 home, 6-2 away, 0-0 neutral
2020 UT Baseball Record: 15-2 overall, 0-0 conf., 12-2 home, 0-0 away, 3-0 neutral

The Series: The Cats are 6-21 overall against Tennessee, and have lost the last five games played against the Volunteers. The Cats last win occurred in April 2010 in Knoxville, a 14-9 victory.  The Cats are 4-15 in games played in Knoxville. 

Positional Starters Returning/Lost: 8/2
Pitchers Returning/Lost: 11/3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 21/8
Newcomers: 17

The Vols’ current rankings are as follows: USA Today (#9), NCBWA (#10), D1Baseball.com (#12), Baseball America (#16), Perfect Game (#15), Collegiate Baseball News (#27).  

After finishing 2020 ranked second nationally in home runs with 31, the Vols have continued to hit the long ball at a high rate.  UT is averaging over one homer per game and ranks 26th in the country with 24 this season. Drew Gilbert and Jordan Beck are tied for the team lead with five homers each. Jake Rucker (3), Luc Lipcius (3), Liam Spence (2), and Max Ferguson (2) have also gone yard multiple times. 

The Vols enter this weekend ranked in the top 30 nationally in hits (8th – 206), runs (9th – 161), doubles (20th – 41), triples (4th – 9), home runs (26th - 24) and walks (4th – 126).

Tennessee’s bullpen has been impressive in the early going this season, posting an 11-1 record and 2.42 ERA in 115.1 innings of work.  The bullpen has combined for 125 strikeouts compared to just 30 walks and is holding opposing hitters to a .215 batting average.

The Volunteers have faced two SoCon teams this season, a three-game series vs. UNCG and 1 game vs. ETSU, winning all four games.  

Projected Pitching Match-Up:
WCU – Jr. RHP Ryan Mitschele (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. UT – Soph. RHP Mark McLaughlin (1-0, 2.57 ERA)






Wednesday, March 24, 2021

WCU Baseball: The Citadel









After the postponement of the Mercer series, the Catamounts will now open the conference portion of the schedule against The Citadel in Cullowhee.  




The Citadel

When: Friday & Saturday, March 26 & 27, 2021 - Time: DH starts 2:00 pm Friday & Saturday 1:00 pm
Where:  Hennon Stadium, Cullowhee, NC  
Radio: none
TV/video: ESPN+  (Saturday only)
Live Stats: WCU Live Stats
Citadel Fan Message BoardDogFan

The Series: Western is currently 89-68 overall vs. the Bulldogs on the diamond. The Cats and Dogs first played in 1971, and the Cats are 51-25 vs. the Citadel in games played in Cullowhee and are 78-56 in only conference games vs. the Bulldogs.  The Cats are 6-4 against the dogs in the last 10 games played. 

Head CoachTony Skole,  4th season - 
- Career Record: 611-684-1 (25th year); Record at The Citadel: 45-89-0 (4th year)

Skole's record against WCU:  4-4
Bobby Moranda's record against the Citadel:  27-14

This Season's Record (Citadel):  2021:    8-9 overall, 1-2 SoCon, 7-9 home, 1-0 away
Last Season's Record (Citadel):  2020:  10-6 overall, 0-0 SoCon, 9-4 home, 1-2 away  

The double header was moved to Friday, so only the single Saturday game will be streamed on ESPN+. 

The Bulldogs were picked to finish seventh in the preseason polls by both the head coaches and media and second baseman Tyler Corbitt was selected as a Preseason All-Southern Conference Second Team selection.  The Citadel will play at South Carolina on Wednesday prior to the trip to Cullowhee. 

The Bulldogs have been in a slump since 2013 and have gone without either a winning overall record or winning conference record since the 2013 season, when they were 35-25 overall and  18-12 in the SoCon.  


Probable Pitching Matchups 
Friday, March 26
WCU RHP Zebby Matthews (3-1, 2.08 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Pilarski (2-1, 5.34 ERA)

Friday, March 26
WCU RHP Gavin Mortenson (2-0, 5.12 ERA) vs. RHP Cameron Reeves (2-0, 2.42 ERA)

Saturday, March 27
WCU HP Ryan Mitschele (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. RHP Lathan Todd 1-2, 7.36 ERA)





WCU 2-Deep vs. ETSU

 


                                                             Courtesy WCU Media Relations

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Game #9 - ETSU Bucs





     


For the ninth game of the season, the Cats travel to Johnson City, TN to face the Bucs of East Tennessee State University in the 2020-21 edition of The Blue Ridge Border Battle.

Four seasons ago, Western and the Bucs revived the series that started back in 1932, but abruptly ended in 2003 when the Bucs eliminated football.








Game #9 - ETSU Bucs

When: Saturday, March 27 at 1:00 pm
Where:  William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium, Johnson City, TN
Radio: Catamount Sports Network  
-announcersGary Ayers, PxP, Daniel Hooker - Analyst
Pregame Show:  CSN pregame show starts 1 hr prior to kick-off
TV/video:  ESPN+
-announcers Mike Gallagher PxP & Mark Hutsel -Analyst
-Saturday's game will be broadcast on the Nexstar affiliates with three stations – WYCW (Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville), WMYT (Charlotte), and WWCW (Roanoke, Va.)  WSPA's sports director Pete Yanity and former Wofford All-American lineman Jared Singleton have the call.
Live Stats:  ETSU live stats
Tickets:  ETSUTickets
ETSU Fan Message Board:  Buccaneer Nation  

Game Notes:  Western Carolina   -    ETSU

The Series: This series stretches back to 1932, with the Cats holding a slim 25-23-1 lead. Since the return of football at ETSU, the Cats & Bucs are tied, 2-2 going into the 2020 contest. Adding to the newfound rivalry between the two mountain teams, the Bucs pulled off a 2 point, 3 overtime win, 43-45 in the initial Blue Ridge Border Battle trophy contest held in Johnson City in 2018.  The Cats are 11-13-1 in games played in Johnson City and are 19-10 overall in games played as Southern Conference games. 

Mark Speir holds a 2-2 record vs. ETSU.
Randy Sanders holds a 1-1 record vs. WCU

The last game played vs. ETSU:  September 9, 2019 - Rock Solid! Catamounts Outlast ETSU in Overtime, 23-20 - Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina redshirt senior Nate Mullen plowed in from one-yard out in overtime as the Catamounts celebrated claiming the traveling trophy in the “Blue Ridge Border Battle” for the first time with a 23-20 victory over East Tennessee State in Southern Conference action at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. Trailing by three after Tyler Keltner converted a 42-yard field goal in overtime, WCU used two Caleb Ferguson receptions of 13 and six yards, as well as a five-yard rush to move to the one-yard line. Mullen then rushed off the right side for the game-winning touchdown, setting off the wild on-field celebration.

Head Coach: Randy Sanders - Sanders was named ETSU football head coach on Dec. 17, 2017, becoming the 18th head coach in program history. Sanders, a Morristown, Tenn. native, has spent the last 29 years coaching on the Football Bowl Subdivision level, which includes stints as offensive coordinator at Tennessee, Kentucky and most recently Florida State. 

This Season's Record (ETSU):  2020-21 record - 2-1 overall, 2-1 SoCon, 1-1 home, 1-0 away
Last Season's Record (ETSU):  2019 record -  8-4 overall,  5-1 home,  3-3 away,  6-2 SoCon. 

Offensive Formation: Spread Option
-2019 Offense: 20.1 ppg. (101st in FCS)
Defensive Formation: 3-4
2019 Defense: 26.2 ppg. (46th in FCS)
Starters Returning/Lost: 17/5
Offensive Starters Returning/Lost:  9  / 2
Defensive Starters Returning/Lost:  8 / 3
Special Teams Starters Returning/Lost:  3 / 3


TOP RETURNING OFFENSIVE PLAYERS
-RB Quay Holmes (206 rushes, 1143 yards, 7 TD, 16 rec. 134 yards, 1 TD); -QB Trey Mitchell (148 cmp., 1,616 yards, 11 TD); -RB Jacob Saylors (112 rushes, 653 yards, 4 TD, 16 rec., 150 yards)

TOP RETURNING DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
-LB Zack Yancey (69 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 5 QB hurries, 1 Forced Fumble); -LB Donovan Manuel (64 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 5 PBU, 2 QB hurries, 1.0 sacks, 1 INT); -LB Colton Lakes (59 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 4 PBU, 2 QB hurries, 0.5 sacks)

The Transfer Portal:  The Buccaneers added 11 transfers in the offseason, including five players late in the 2020 calendar year. Six of the 11 transfers came from FBS programs: Charlie Cole (Army), Carson Flake (Western Kentucky), Jay Harrison (Buffalo), Austin Lewis (Liberty), Mike Price (Appalachian State) and Juwan Ross (Old Dominion). The Bucs also added Colby Smith (Erskine) and Garrett Jennings (Eastern Kentucky). Rounding out the transfers are a trio of JUCO competitors: Timmy Dorsey (Laney College), Brock Landis (Blinn College) and Joe Schreiber (Iowa Western CC). 

Six Buccaneers were named to the 2021 Spring Preseason All-SoCon Teams.  Five of the six Bucs were named to the Preseason First Team All-SoCon: Nate Adkins (Offense), Blake Bockrath (Defense), Quay Holmes (Offense), Tyree Robinson (Defense) and Tre’mond Shorts (Offense). Rounding out the preseason accolades is sophomore kicker, Tyler Keltner, who was named to the Preseason Second Team All-SoCon Offense.

Coming off a win in Charleston, the Bucs were able to capitalize on 3 Citadel turnovers, scoring 21 points off those turnovers, enabling the Bucs to pick up a road victory.  The Bucs totaled just 223 yards of offense, as redshirt freshman QB Tyler Riddell threw a couple of touchdown passes finishing the game with 182 yards passing. 


2020-21 ETSU Statistics  (3 games)
Rushing Offense: 265 yards
Yards per game: 88.3yards
Rushing 1st downs: 107
TDs rushing: 4
Passing Offense: 580 yards or 193.3 per game
Passing 1st downs: 20
TDs passing: 3
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 51-87-2
Total Offense: 845 yards or 281.7 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 6 - 3
3d Down Conversions: 14 of 41 (34%)
4th Down Conversions: 0 of 3 (0%)
Field goal attempts  3 - 4
PAT-Attempts: 8 of 8
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 8 of 10 (80%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 5 of 10 (50%)
Punts - Yards: 17 - 686 - Avg per punt: 40.4 yards




Monday, March 22, 2021

2021 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #5)





Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2021 SoCon Football Power Rankings after week #5 of conference play.

Each Monday throughout the spring season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.






Here are this week's power rankings after 5 weeks of conference play (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1. (1) VMI ( 4-0 SoCon, 4-0)
Next:  at Wofford

2. (2) Chattanooga  (3-0 SoCon, 3-1)
Next:  Mercer

3. (3) Furman (3-2 SoCon, 3-2)
Next:  Bye

4. (6) ETSU  (2-1 SoCon, 2-1)
Next: Western Carolina

5. (5) Samford (2-3 SoCon, 2-3)
Next:  at The Citadel

6(4) Wofford (1-2 SoCon, 1-2)
Next: VMI

7. (8) Mercer (2-2 SoCon, 2-5)
Next:  at Chattanooga

8. (7) Western Carolina  (1-4 SoCon, 1-7)
Next:  at ETSU

9. (9) Citadel  (0-4 SoCon, 0-8)
Next:  Samford 



  1.                                         

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

WCU 2-Deep vs. Mercer

 

Courtesy WCU Media Relations

Game #8 - Mercer







In the Catamounts' eighth game of the 2020-21 season and their fifth conference game, the Cats travel to Macon, Ga to face the Mercer Bears

Western will meet the Bears for just the seventh time since Mercer joined the Southern Conference in 2014. The Bears are coming off a 41-14 loss at VMI.  This game will be this week's Ingles SoCon Game of the Week





Game #8 - The Mercer Bears


When: Saturday, March 20 at  4 pm
Where: Five Star Stadium, Macon, GA
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-announcers: Gary Ayers, PxP, Daniel Hooker Analyst
TV/video: ESPN+/Nexstar 
-announcers: PxP - Pete Yanity, Analyst - Jared Singleton 
- Nexstar affiliates are: ECBD (Charleston), WGHP Greensboro/High Point), WJHL (Johnson City), WWCW (Lynchburg/Roanoke) and WYCW (Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville).  WMYT in Charlotte, NC, will carry the entire football package. Although not a Nexstar station, WMUB (Macon), Mercer University Broadcasting, will also air select contests.
Mercer Fan Message Board MU Bear Down

Game Notes:  Western Carolina    -    Mercer

The Series: In only the 7th meeting between the two teams, the Cats own a 2-4 record overall against the Bears, having dropped the last four games played. The Cats have a 1-2 record in games played in Macon.

Last Season's Game vs. Mercer (Aug. 31, 2019) - Big Plays, Missed Opportunities Doom WCU in 49-27 Loss - Cullowhee, N.C. - Big plays turned in by Mercer and missed opportunities by the Catamounts including a pair of turnovers spoiled an otherwise festive afternoon at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field as the Bears handed Western Carolina a 49-27 loss in both the 2019 season and Southern Conference opener.

This Season's Record (Mercer):  1-5 overall, 1-2 SoCon,  1-1 home, 0-4 away
Last Season's Record (Mercer):  4-8 overall, 3-5 SoCon,  2-4 home, 2-4 away,   (SoCon wins: WCU, VMI, Samford)

Head Coach: Drew Cronic was named the 20th head football coach in Mercer University history on December 10, 2019. He spent the previous two seasons as the head coach at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C. A native of Sharpsburg, Ga., Cronic is considered one of the more innovative offensive minds across all levels of college football. 

Drew Cronic's record against WCU:  0-0 (first game)
Mark Speir's record against Mercer:  2-4

Offensive Formation: .Multiple (Spread/Wing)
- 2019 offense:  26.9 ppg. (61th in FCS)
Defensive Formation: Multiple
- 2019 defense:  35.4 ppg. (106th in FCS)
Starters Returning/Lost: 12 /  10
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5

In the spring preseason, the Bears were picked to finish in sixth place in both the media and coaches poll. Two members of the Mercer football team were also recognized by the Phil Steele Magazine by being named to the Preseason All-Southern Conference Team. Senior cornerback Harrison Poole, and sophomore kicker Caleb Dowden all earned third-team honors.

Last season's weakness for the Bears, like for the Cats, was on the defensive side of the ball. Mercer is coming off a 2019 season in which the Bears went 4-8, scoring 323 points on offense (26.9 points per game — pretty good!) but allowing 425 points (35.4 ppg — not good!).  We don't know the status of quarterback Robert Riddle who had a season-ending injury in game 7 last season. If Riddle is able to return, that would give the Bears 7 returning starters.

Of course, we know that Mercer replaced head coach Bobby Lamb with Drew Cronic who had two impressive seasons at Lenoir-Rhyne. Cronic went 25-3 in two years at Lenoir-Rhyne. So, Mercer just hired a guy with a 47-6 career record, that took over a Lenoir-Rhyne squad that went 3-8 the year before he was hired, then went 12-2 and 13-1 in two years. 

Mercer has multiple options who are threats on the receiving front. In only his second game as a Bear, Drake Starks went 75 yards for a touchdown. Not to be outdone, redshirt freshman Ty James had two receptions, one 40-yarder, and a 33-yard touchdown. The touchdown was James’ first of his career. Ethan Dirrim had a touchdown reception and 22-yards receiving against The Citadel. Dirrim is the third leading receiver on the team. Deondre Johnson leads the team in receptions (14) and yards (141) this season. 

The Bears are #6 in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game (ppg) and 7th in scoring defense, giving up29.3 ppg. The Bears come in 7th in rushing with 138 yards per game (3.6 avg. per rush) and 8th in pass offense gaining 134.5 yards per game (6.4 avg.).  

2020-21 Mercer Statistics  (6 games):
Rushing Offense: 958 yards
Yards per game: 138.2
Yards per rush: 3.6 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 47
TDs rushing: 5
Passing Offense: 807 yards or 134.5 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 6.4 yards
Passing 1st downs: 35
Passing: Att-Comp-Int: 126-70-5
TDs Passing: 8
Total Offense: 1636 yards or 272.7 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 13-8
3d Down Conversions: 35 of 82  (42.7%)
4th Down Conversions: 3 of 8  (37.5%)
Field goal attempts: 2 of 4
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 9 of 14
Red Zone Touchdowns: 8 of 14
PAT-Attempts:16 of 16


Monday, March 15, 2021

2021 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #4)





Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2021 SoCon Football Power Rankings after week #4 of conference play.

Each Monday throughout the spring season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.






Here are this week's power rankings after 4 weeks of conference play (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1. (4) VMI (3-0  3-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Samford

2. (1) Chattanooga  (2-1, 2-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Furman

3. (3) Furman (3-1, 3-1 SoCon)
Next:  Chattanooga

4(2) Wofford (1-2, 1-2 SoCon)
Next: Idle

5. (6) Samford (2-2, 2-2 SoCon)
Next:  VMI

6. (5) ETSU  (1-1, 1-1 SoCon)
Next: at Citadel

7. (9) Western Carolina  (1-6, 1-3 SoCon)
Next:  at Mercer

8. (8) Mercer (1-5, 1-2 SoCon)
Next:  Western Carolina

9. (8) Citadel  (0-7, 0-3 SoCon)
Next:  ETSU



  1.                                         

Sunday, March 14, 2021

WCU Baseball: @ Kennesaw State (Game #2)





The #23 ranked Catamounts visit Kennesaw, Ga. on Wednesday for the return trip of a home and home series with Kennesaw State this season. The Owls are coming off a series sweep of ASun foe Bellarmine and are now 10-5 overall on the season.




When
: Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 5 pm 
Where: Stillwell Baseball Stadium - Kennesaw, Ga.  (900)
Radio: none 
TV/video:  KSU Owl Network (YouTube)
Live Stats: KSU Live stats 
Conference: ASun 
Mascot: Owls 
Colors: Black & Gold (Yellow) 
KSU Fan Message Board: KSUOwlHowl 

Head Coach: Mike Sansing - head coach at KSU since 1991 - 
Record at KSU
 -All-Time NCAA Division I: 419-393 (.516)/15 years 
 -All-Time NCAA Division II: 512-208 (.711)/12 years
 -All-Time NAIA Record: 362-244-2 (.595)/12 years 

2021 KSU Baseball Record: 10-5 overall, 3-0 ASun, 7-1 home, 2-3 away, 1-1 neutral 
2020 KSU Baseball Record: 10-8 overall, 0-0 conf., 8-5 home, 1-2 away, 1-1 neutral 

The Series: The Cats are 13-8 overall vs. the Owls, picked up a series win in Cullowhee a week ago, breaking a 4 game skid against the Owls.  The series started back in 2006.

The Owls are coming off a three-game series sweep of ASUN foe Bellarmine since dropping last Wednesday's game to the Catamounts. 

The Owls were picked 7th in the 9 team ASun preseason poll, with two players named to the all-conference team, 1B - Justin Russell, & OF - Terence Norman.  Center fielder for the Kennesaw State baseball team Alex Carballo capped a week to remember by being named the ASUN Player of the Week. . The Owls won three total games while Carballo hit for .357 average, a .500 on-base percentage and a .643 slugging percentage in the four games this week. 


TOP RETURNING PITCHERS (2019 Stats) 
LHP Jared Rine So. 1-1, 5 App/ 4 GS, 3.37 ERA, 13 SO 
RHP Monty Horn Jr. 2-0, 6 App/0 GS, 3.38 ERA, 5 SO 
RHP Brison Finney Jr. 0-0, 5 App/1 GS, 4.50 ERA, 15 SO







Saturday, March 13, 2021

Game #7 - The Citadel






For the Catamount's fourth spring game and seventh of the 2020-21 season, the Cats remain in Cullowhee for the second home game of the season to face the Citadel Bulldogs.

The Cats have lost two straight games to the Bulldogs and lost four of the last five played between the two teams. 










Game #7 - The Citadel

When: Saturday, March 13, 2021- Time: 1:00 pm
Where: E.J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-announcers:  Gary Ayers, Greg McLamb, Jeff Bryson
TV/video: ESPN+
-announcers:  Daniel Hooker (pxp) and Dan Gibson (analyst)
Citadel Fan MessageboardDogFan

The Series: Western is currently 17-26-1 vs. the Bulldogs overall. The Cats and Dogs first played on the gridiron in 1972. The Cats own a 10-12 record vs. the Citadel in games played in Cullowhee. 

Game Notes Western Carolina   -  The Citadel  

The last game played vs. CitadelOctober 12, 2019, Catamount Football Falls at The Citadel, 35-17 -  Charleston, S.C. – Trailing by 25 points, Western Carolina rallied back to within two scores early in the second half at The Citadel on Saturday afternoon. But penalties and a pair of turnovers proved to be too costly as the Bulldogs used an efficient rushing attack and pinpoint passing attack to pull away for the 35-17 victory over the Catamounts in Southern Conference action at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

Head CoachBrent Thompson  5th season  (Norwich, 1998)The architect of one of the top rushing offenses in the FCS, Brent Thompson enters his fifth season as the head coach at The Citadel. Thompson owns an overall record of 26-26, including a program-record 10 wins during his first season in 2016. Under Thompson’s guidance, the Bulldogs have ranked in the top-10 in rushing offense each of the last four seasons. The Citadel ranked sixth nationally in 2019 at 268.2 yards per game, ninth in 2018 at 283.6 yards per game, second in 2017 at 294.6 yards per game, and led the nation in 2016 at 348.2 rushing yards per game.

Thompson's record at the Citadel:  26-26
Thompson's record against WCU:  3-1
Mark Speir's record against the Citadel:  2-6

This Season's Record (Citadel):  2021:  0-6 overall, 0-2 SoCon, 0-2 home, 0-4 away
Last Season's Record (Citadel):  2019:  6-6 overall, 4-4 SoCon, 3-3 home, 3-3 away  

Offensive Formation: Triple Option
-2019 Offensive: 30.8 ppg. (35th in FCS)
Defensive Formation: Multiple
-2019 Defensive: 37.8 ppg. (117th in FCS)
Starters returning/lost:    19   /    7
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  10   /  3
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:   9   /   4

Reaching back to the 2019 season, the Bulldogs come to Cullowhee riding an 8 game losing streak, strangely the same record as the Catamounts reaching back to the 2019 season as well.  

2020 Citadel Statistics 
Rushing Offense: 1528 yards
Yards per game: 220.3
Yards per rush: 3.9 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 70
TDs rushing: 7
Passing Offense: 368 yards
Avg. per pass: 5.3 yards
Passing 1st downs: 17
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 25-69-5
TDs Passing: 3
Total Offense: 1690
Average Per Game:  281.7  
Fumbles-Lost: 16-7
3d Down Conversions: 40 of 96 (42%)
4th Down Conversions: 11 of 16 (69%)
Field goal attempts: 4 of 10
PAT-Attempts: 7 of 8
On-side kicks: 1-2
Red Zone Scores: 10 for 12 (83%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 8 for 12  (67%)
Punts - Yards: 32 for 274 - Avg per punt: 39.1




Thursday, March 11, 2021

WCU Baseball: St. John's





Up next for the Catamounts will be the visiting Red Storm from St. John's University. St. John's brings an undefeated 7-0 record to Cullowhee. The Red Storm swept both UMass Lowell and Sacred Heart at home in Queens, NY, this will be St. John's first road games of the season.


When: Friday-Sunday, March 12-14, 2021, at 5 pm, 5 pm, noon
Where: Childress Field at Hennon Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: none 
TV/video: ESPN+
Live Stats: WCU Live stats
Conference: Big East
Location: Queens, NY
Mascot: Red Storm
Colors: Red, Navy Blue, White
St. John's Fan Message Board: The Knight Report

Head Coach: Mike Hampton -  
Years at St. John’s: 20th Season Overall (2nd as HC)
Record as Head Coach (Yrs.): 8-9 (2)

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 26/9 
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/2 
Pitchers Returning/Lost: 11/2 
Newcomers: 11 

2021 St. John's Baseball Record: 7-0 overall, 0-0 conf., 7-0 home, 0-0 away, 0-0 neutral
2020 St. John's Baseball Record: 5-9 overall, 0-0 conf., 2-0 home, 3-9 away, 0-0 neutral

The Series: The Catamounts and Red Storm have played a total of 6 games, with the Cats holding a 4-2 record in the series. The two teams last met in Feb. 2019 and split a two-game series. 

The Red Storm was predicted to finish fourth in a preseason poll of the BIG EAST’s coaches. Connecticut was picked to win the league in its first year back followed by Creighton and Seton Hall, respectively.  

All three of the Red Storm’s weekend starters from last season are set to return for the Johnnies in 2021. Nick Mondak started the Friday game of all four series for the Red Storm last season, going 0-3 with a 4.29 ERA. In his season opener, he struck out seven, walked one and gave up two unearned runs to take a hard-luck loss against Kennesaw State. Ian Murphy burst onto the scene in his first start of 2020, striking out nine in 5.0 scoreless innings at No. 19 Georgia Tech. On the season, he struck out 18 batters in 17.0 innings of work while surrendering 11 walks.  Joe Joe Rodriguez will likely come out of the bullpen in 2021 after serving as the team’s Saturday starter in 2020. 

David Williams, a two-year standout at Lackawanna Community College, launched seven home runs and tallied 18 RBIs in just 15 games during the shortened 2020 season. He left the yard in each of his last five and seven of his final nine contests as a sophomore. • As a freshman, Williams helped Lackawanna reach the Division II JUCO World Series, hitting .284 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs while earning a place on the all-region second team. • Williams started all three games at first base for the Red Storm opening weekend, going 2-for-10 with a double. • Nick Cirelli helped Sacramento City College start the year off 16-4 before COVID shut things down, hitting .278 with four homers, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored and 14 walks during that span. Cirelli reached base at a .430 clip and slugged .547 during his junior college career. • Cirelli had a standout high school career in California, earning Bay Area Player of the Year honors from the San Jose Mercury News after leading De La Salle to its third consecutive North Coast Section Division I Championship. • In his lone at-bat with the Red Storm so far, Cirelli launched a ball into the opposing bullpen for his first Division I home run.

Catamount Probable starting pitching:
Sophomore RHP Zebby Matthews (2-1) opening the series on Friday followed by freshman RHP Gavin Mortenson (1-0) on Saturday and redshirt junior RHP Ryan Mitschele (1-1) in Sunday's finale.

Red Storm Probable Starting Pitching
Friday starter Nick Mondak, Saturday starter Ian Murphy (2-0 record and a 0.00 ERA), and Brian Hendry, the Red Storm's scheduled Sunday hurler, currently sports the highest ERA of the weekend rotation at 0.93. 

As a staff, the Red Storm's ERA currently sits at 1.03 while opponents are hitting a meager .154. St. John's pitchers have struck out 69 batters in seven games while surrendering just 33 walks.







Tuesday, March 9, 2021

WCU 2 Deep vs. the Citadel

                                                                                                              
                      Courtesy WCU Media Relations



WCU Baseball: Kennesaw State





Kennesaw State visits Cullowhee on Wednesday for the first game of a home and home series this season. The Owls are coming off a series win at UAB and are 7-4 overall.




When
: Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at 4 pm 
Where: Childress Field at Hennon Stadium, Cullowhee, NC 
Radio: none 
TV/video: ESPN+ 
Live Stats: WCU Live stats 
Conference: ASun 
Mascot: Owls 
Colors: Black & Gold (Yellow) 
KSU Fan Message Board: KSUOwlHowl 

Head Coach: Mike Sansing - head coach at KSU since 1991 - 
Record at KSU
 -All-Time NCAA Division I: 419-393 (.516)/15 years 
 -All-Time NCAA Division II: 512-208 (.711)/12 years
 -All-Time NAIA Record: 362-244-2 (.595)/12 years 

2021 KSU Baseball Record: 7-4 overall, 0-0 conf., 4-1 home, 2-2 away, 1-1 neutral 
2020 KSU Baseball Record: 10-8 overall, 0-0 conf., 8-5 home, 1-2 away, 1-1 neutral 

The Series: The Cats are 12-8 overall vs. the Owls, but have lost the last four games to KSU (two in Kennesaw, 1 in Cullowhee, 1 neutral field). The series started in 2006 and was last played in Feb. 2020 in Conway, SC after skipping 2019. 

The Owls come to Cullowhee for the front game of a home and home series, off a loss to UAB, but having won the first two games of that series. The Owls do have a 6-4 win over the then #6 Georgia Bulldogs. 

The Owls were picked 7th in the 9 team ASun preseason poll, with two players named to the all-conference team, 1B - Justin Russell, & OF - Terence Norman.  Center fielder for the Kennesaw State baseball team Alex Carballo capped a week to remember by being named the ASUN Player of the Week. . The Owls won three total games while Carballo hit for .357 average, a .500 on-base percentage and a .643 slugging percentage in the four games this week. 


TOP RETURNING PITCHERS (2019 Stats) 
LHP Jared Rine So. 1-1, 5 App/ 4 GS, 3.37 ERA, 13 SO 
RHP Monty Horn Jr. 2-0, 6 App/0 GS, 3.38 ERA, 5 SO 
RHP Brison Finney Jr. 0-0, 5 App/1 GS, 4.50 ERA, 15 SO

Projected Pitching Match-Up:
WCU – Fr. RHP #43 Dawson Elder   vs.  KSU – Fr. RHP #22 Nathan Holler (0-0, 2.89 ERA)