Thursday, February 27, 2014

SoCon to have channel on Watch ESPN

Today, ESPN announced it is launching over a dozen college conference channels (including one for the Southern Confernce) on WatchESPN, aggregating conference-related programming from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPNEWS.

A total of 15 branded destinations can now be streamed on televisions through WatchESPN via Apple TV and Roku, delivering live men’s and women’s college basketball events from across ESPN networks in time for Championship Week as well as replays of college football games.

Conference channels at launch include: ACC, America East, Atlantic Sun, Big South, Big West, HBCUs (Mid-Eastern Athletic, Southwestern Athletic and Central Intercollegiate Athletic), Horizon, Mid-American, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Southern, Sun Belt and Southland.

“With the rapid adoption of connected devices and the rising popularity of WatchESPN, we are able to offer college conferences the opportunity to have their own branded destinations for live events and on-demand video on a nationwide level,” said Damon Phillips, Vice President, WatchESPN & ESPN3. “ESPN provides scale and discoverability to deliver these channels in a way that would not have been possible without WatchESPN.”

“These new conference channels on WatchESPN will showcase the breadth and depth of our college sports coverage,” said Rosalyn Durant, Vice President, College Sports Programming, ESPN. “But most importantly, they will allow us to better serve the fans.”

Article Courtesy ESPN

Basketball: Today is Senior Day

Photo Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations
Seniors Josh MendenhallBrandon BoggsTawaski KingTom Tankelewicz, and Trey Sumler - Another Catamount "Point of Pride"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Clemson at WCU - First televised home WCU Baseball Game

Western Carolina's home baseball game in Hennon Stadium against the #11 nationally-ranked  Clemson Tigers on Tuesday, March 4 will be one for the history books.  It will be first ever game televised from Hennon Stadium.  The game will be broadcast on WMYA-TV (My40), WTVC-TV.2 (THIS TV) in Chattanooga and nationally on ESPN3.

"We are really looking forward to the first live television broadcast from our home venue in our program's history," said WCU head coach Bobby Moranda. "It is an honor and somewhat fitting that the first live home TV game comes against former WCU head coach, Jack Leggett, and his perennial power, the Clemson Tigers. We greatly appreciate all of our  sponsors - especially Ingles - for helping to make this possible."

The broadcast is made possible through WCU athletics' partnership with Ingles and a special thanks to both Andy Shaw Ford and the Cullowhee River Club on the Tuckasegee.

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2014 Southern Conference Basketball Tournament

When: Friday, March 7th – Monday, March 10th
Where: US Cellular Center: Asheville NC
Tickets: All Sessions GA Book - $90 Single Game Session - $18

To purchase tickets, please contact the WCU Ticket office at 828.227.2401

WCU Basketball Tournament Tip Off Party:

Scully’s---Friday, March 7th

6:00 PM Catamounts Tip-Off Party
Join Head Men’s Basketball Coach - Larry Hunter and Head Women’s Basketball Coach - Karen Middleton, and their teams, as we kick-off the 2014 Southern Conference Basketball Championships at 6:00pm on Friday, March 7th at Scully’s (13 Walnut St).

8:00 PM Rock out with TLQ + 2 featuring Vinyl Brothers horns & Mike “Biscuit” Neal

Enjoy an evening with your Catamount alumni and listen to great music by our own, Terri Lynn Queen ’89, Tim Gillespie ’86, and Mike Neal ’86!

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Game #30: Chattanooga

UPDATE:  Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina men's basketball game against Chattanooga scheduled for Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m. in the Ramsey Center will be televised on WMYA-TV, My40. The matchup will also be streamed on ESPN3.

The tables are turned.  This time, Chattanooga (16-12, 10-4 SoCon) will have to make the trip over the mountains and into the Ramsey Center, a place that has become very difficult for Southern Conference members to win basketball games.

The Catamounts (17-12, 10-4 SoCon) are 10-1 this season in games played in the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center, with their only loss coming at the hands of Davidson, in a 82-77 loss back on January 23.  The Cats will be looking to return the favor to the Mocs, for that 83-73 loss in the first game of the series back on February 14 in the Round House.

This game is just as important to both teams as the first game was, as both teams are fighting for a chance at that 2d or 3d seed in the conference tournament next week.  Both teams are tied  for third place in the standing at 10-4, along with Wofford at 10-4 also and just behind Elon at 10-3.  However, the Cats are 5-1 overall during the month of February, while the Mocs are 2-4 during February, and have lost 4 of the last 5 games and bring a 2 game losing streak to the Ramsey Center.

Chattanooga is currently second in the SoCon in scoring offense at 76.6 ppg, and are 9th overall in scoring defense, giving up an average of 74.0 points per game.  In three point shooting, the Mocs are hitting 33.5 % of their shots placing them in 10th place.  Chattanooga currently has 4 players averaging double figures. Redshirt senior forward Z. Mason (6-6, 235) leads the scoring with 18.1 point per game, followed by sophomore guard Casey Jones (6-5, 200) with 12.2 ppg, then junior guard Ronrico White (6-3, 170) with 12.2 ppg, and finally sophomore guard Gee McGhee (66-4, 205) with 10.2 ppp.  Mason leads the Mocs in rebounds with 9.5 per game

Chattanooga Probable Starters
Sophomore - Casey Jones, 6-5 200 lbs, 12 ppg - 5.9 rebs
Junior - Martynas Bareika, 6-5 215 lbs, 9.8 ppg - 2.8 rebs
Senior - Z. Mason, 6-6 235 lbs, 18.1 ppg - 9.6 rebs
Freshman - Greg Pryor, 6-1 195 lbs, 6.0 ppg - 2.6 rebs
Sophomore - Gee McGhee, 6-4 205 lbs, 10.1 ppg - 4.3 rebs

RealTime RPI projects a 11 point win for the Catamounts, 80-69

RPI:                       Sagarin:                     Pomeroy:                    Massey:                                              WCU 214                WCU 226                   WCU 229                      WCU 224                                             UTC 226                  UTC 274                    UTC 269                        UTC 257

Courtesy Daily Catamount

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Scanning the SoCon - Week Seventeen

Each week, our SoCon bloggers/message boarders (one representing each team) will vote on Power Rankings, a Game of the Week, and Player of the Week. At least three will answer a series of questions on their team and things of interest around the SoCon.

Scanning the SoCon - Week Seventeen

The following is my submission to week sixteen of Scanning the SoCon. You can read the entire consolidated article and see everyone's Power Ranking, Player and Game of the Week, as well as, all of the answers to this week's questions at MocsMania.

Power Rankings
5-Western Carolina
8-Georgia Southern
10-Appalachian State
11-The Citadel

Player of the Week
Trey Sumler, WCU

Game of the Week
Davidson at Elon

Sum up your team
Western Carolina is now 5-1 during the month of February, and seems to show signs of coming together down the stretch. at 17-12 with two regular season games to go (one home and one on the road) the Cats have a valid chance of hitting the 20 game win mark this season. The Cats will face Chattanooga on Thursday, in Cullowhee where the Cats are 10-1 this season, playing a Chattanooga team that has lost 5 of their last 7, and four of their last 5 games. Then ending the season on the road at Samford.

Dean Keener talks about the NLI. What are your thoughts on this? 
 I don't think the NLI process will change anytime soon. There will be problems with any procedure and the current process works fine in my opinion.

Tournament style play is different. How you do think your teams style will play in Asheville? Why? 
The Cats play an aggressive style defense, which can result in high personal foul numbers. If the Cats can control their fouls, and continue with their offensive scoring capability, they have a legit chance to go deep in the tournament. This group of seniors wants a championship, I guess we'll see how bad they want it.

In honor of the Big Three in the NBA, name the top trio on a team in the SoCon. Why?
My selection for the "Big Three" in a SoCon team is Lucas Troutman, Ryley Beaumont, and Jack Isenbarger of Elon. These three seniors were named to the SoCon preseason all conference team and are major reason why Elon was selected by both the coaches and media as favorites to win the conference title. All three are 1,000+ scorers and Elon is currenlty sitting in second place in the conference standing with one week to go in the season.

If the SoCon Tournament started today (2-23-2014)

Includes games played on 2-23-2014

Cats break shot blocking record

If you've been thinking the Cats have blocked a lot of shot this season, you're right.

Junior forward Kenneth Hall has led the way this season with a total of 54 blocks himself, but Hall has had help.  Both the 2000-01 & 2004-05 teams held the old WCU single season shot blocking record of 137 blocks in a season.  But as I said, Kenneth Hall has had some help from his team-mates, help to the tune of 88 additional blocks.

Thats right, the new WCU record now sits at 142 blocks, coming after the 9 blocked shots against The Citadel on Saturday.  But that record will not stand long, as the Catamounts still have two regular season games, and at least one Southern Conference tournament game remaining on their schedule.

With Kenneth Hall leading the way, the new single season shot blocking record will be another Catamount "Point of Pride"  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Baseball: Cats take game two over Washington State

Western Carolina scored three runs in the top of the 1st inning only to be tied in the bottom of the 1st by a determined Washington State team.

Holding the Cats scoreless in the second, the Cougars took a short lived two run lead in the home half of the inning, upping the score to 5-3.

However the Cats weren't behind long, as they scored 4 runs in the next two innings while holding WSU runless for the next 5 innings before giving up one run in the 8th inning. The final score of 8-6 gives the Catamounts a two game lead in the four game series.

Both teams had nine hits in the game. Jordan Smith pitched 6 innings and was the winning pitcher,  while Tanner Chleborad picked up the loss for the Cougars, giving up 7 hits, 7 runs and walking three.  All told, the Cats used 5 pitchers in relief

Game three of the four-game series is scheduled for 3:00 pm ET on Sunday afternoon.

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Basketball: Cats sweep The Citadel

For the second time in two day, the Catamount men's basketball team picks up a seasonal sweep of a Southern Conference foe, as the Cats pound out their second win of the season against The Citadel, 70-52. 

Trey Sumler had another solid game,  leading all scores with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, James Sinclair added 13 points while Brandon Boggs put up 12 points.  Overall the Cats hit 44.4% (24 of 54) while the Bulldogs were held to 31.5% shooting.  The Cats also shot 73.9% from the charity line, hitting 17 of 23 attempts.

Today's win ups the Catamount record to 17-12, 10-4 in the Southern Conference.

Baseball: Cats pound the Cougars, 13-1

The Catamounts spoiled the home opener for the Washington State Cougars, pounding out the runs to a 13-1 final score.  This was game one of 4 games scheduled in the series.

National Player of the Week Jeremy Null was the starting pitcher for the Catamounts and picked up the win.  Null is now 2-0 on the season. Null pitched 7 inning, facing 27 batters striking out 6 and had only one walk and give up one run.

The Catamounts scored 13 runs off 14 hits, scoring 3 runs in the second, 5 runs in the sixth inning, 3 runs in the seventh inning and 2 runs in the ninth inning.  The score could have been much worse for the Cougars as the Cats left a total of 13 runners stranded on base.

“We were not competitive tonight,” Cougar Head Coach Donnie Marbut said after the game. “At some point pride has to set in so this does not happen again.”  View Marbut's post game interview here.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Video: Baseball - Catamount Defeats WInthrop

Video Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Game #29 - The Citadel

Back on January 25, the Cats traveled to Charleston to play the Bulldogs, and came away with a big road win.  The Catamounts are now coming off probably their biggest road win of the season for Catamount fans, sweeping the hated Appalachian State Mountaineers in Boone.  Have no doubt, game number 2 against The Citadel is a trap game for the Catamounts.

This game will make the 67th all-time meeting between the two teams, and the Bulldogs have won only 13 time in Cullowhee during that period. Western Carolina has now won five of their last six games and is 4-1 in the month of February. The Catamounts are led by Trey Sumler (17.7 ppg), Brandon Boggs (11.5) and James Sinclair (11.2).

Currently sitting in 5th place and just securing at least the #5 seed and bye in the upcoming SoCon tournament, the Cats need to win out in their attempt to secure either a 2 or 3 seed in the tournament.  Should the Cats remain a four or five seed, they will probably play Elon in their first game, and the Cats just do not match up well with the Elon.  Also, as a four or five seed, the Cats would also face Davidson in the quarterfinals.  I'd much rather face the Wildcats in the finals, for a little pay back.

When the Cats first played the Bulldogs, they were 4-17, 0-6 SoCon. They are now 4-24, and 0-13 in conference play and more frustrated than ever. The Citadel has been competitive in their conference games this season, but just have not been able to get over the hump for one reason or another.  I'm expecting them to pick up that win, they have WCU on the road and both Samford and Georgia Southern at home to conclude the regular season.  I'm sure the Bulldogs will be more than ready to avenge their 18 point home loss to the Catamounts.

Currently the Citadel sits in 10th place in conference play in scoring offense with 66.5 points per game, and in 10th place in scoring defense as well, giving up 75.2 points per game.  A stat that will be in the Citadel's favor, they are in second place in free throw percentages, hitting 71.9% at the charity strip as a team.  This is big, as the Cats sent the Mountaineers to the charity strip for 33 attempts, off 25 personal fouls, however ASU only converted on 16 of those attempts.

The Bulldogs have three players scoring in double figures, Matt Van Scyoc leads with 14.2 ppg, current SoCon player of the week Ashton Moore is averaging 12.9, followed by Brian White with 12.0 ppg. Moore scored a career-high 35-point outing against Davidson last Monday night. he averaged 28.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals while shooting 53 percent from the field as the Bulldogs suffered losses to Furman and Davidson last week.

Charts Courtesy Daily Catamount 

RealTime RPI projects a 19 point Catamount win, 85-66

RPI:                              Sagarin:                            Pomeroy:                     Massey:
WCU - 214                      WCU  -  234                      WCU -  231                   WCU -  223
Citadel - 345                    Citadel -  348                    Citadel - 350                  Citadel - 351

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

If the SoCon Tournament started today (2-21-2014)

Western Carolina beats App State in Boone

Western Carolina defeated Appalachian State 74-61 Thursday night at the Holmes Center in Boone, NC for the last ever regular season meeting between the two schools as Southern Conference members.

James Sinclair put up 17 points and seven rebounds, while Trey Sumler added 14 points with six assists and five steals as the Catamounts shot 49 percent from the field and were 19 of 22 at the free throw line.

The Cats jumped out to an early 9-0 lead and never fell behind the entire game.  App State did  pull within three points midway through the second half, but the Cats added a quick 6 points to end the challenge.

The Cats return home to the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center for a trap game with The Citadel on Saturday at 2 pm.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SoCon Broadcast Survey

The Southern Conference is conducting a survey of how Southern Conference fans view athletic events.  Hopefully this effort will lead to the SoCon developing a conference wide web streaming capability for all the member schools.  Please add your views to the important survey.

SoCon Broadcast Survey:  CLICK HERE!

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Cats shut out Winthrop, 8-0

The Catamounts broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the fifth, with a five-run inning. The first two runs were charged to the Eagle's Josh Strong who left the game with the bases loaded. The first run scored when WCU's  Bradley Strong was hit by a pitch from reliever Michael Gilroy to force in the first run. Cody Jones then lined a double down the right field line that scored two more runs. The final two runs of the inning scored on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly.

Western Carolina has now won 13 out of 16 games in their overall series with Winthrop and is 7-1 at Hennon Stadium against the Eagles.

The Catamounts evened their record with the win to 2-2, while the Eagles fall to 2-1 overall.

Score by Innings123456789|RHE
Western Carolina00005201X8101
W: Sammons (1-0) LSTRONG, J. (0-1)

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Null Named National Player of the Week

Jeremy Null was named today the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week from Collegiate Baseball following his performance in the 2014 season-opening victory over No. 2 Mississippi State. Along with the national award, the Southern Conference also named Null the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week.

Null lived up to his preseason billing as the Southern Conference's Preseason Pitcher of the Year, by dominating No. 2 Mississippi State on the road at Dudy Noble Field. Null struck out 12 Bulldogs, allowing just three hits and one walk - with no runs - in eight innings.

This was Nulls third National Player of the Week honor from Collegiate Baseball and the second SoCon Pitcher of the Week honors.

Career:  Through his first two seasons, Null has 172 career strikeouts to rank 20th in WCU's career record book ... Enters his junior season just 42 K's shy of WCU's all-time top 10 and is poised to make a run at the program's top five ... Null has thrown 164.0 career innings through 31 appearances, 28 of which have come in a starting role.

Courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Game #28 - Appalachian State

The App State logo redesign
Having first played in 1928, Western Carolina and Appalachian State are each other's longest running basketball opponents, this is a series that will come to an abrupt ending on Thursday, February 20th, 2014.

On that day, the Catamount basketball team will play in Boone for their final Southern Conference regular season game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers.  The Cats are 68-112 overall against App State in the series. The two teams split last season, each winning on their home court, and the stage is set for a similar ending this season, as the Catamounts just edged the Mountaineers in overtime in Cullowhee by a final score of 84-74,

Since that game in Cullowhee, the Mountaineers are 1-1, losing to Wofford and beating Samford, both games were in the Homes Center, while the Cats have gone 2-1, losing to Chattanooga and beating both Furman and UNCG. While ASU has an overall 7-6 home record this season, the Mountaineers are actually just 3-6 in Division I games at the Holmes Center, but the Cats are just 4-10 in away games.

ASU is currently in 8th place in scoring in the SoCon, putting up 70.3 points per game and are in 5th place in scoring defense, giving up 72.8 points per game. The Mountaineers have three players scoring double figures. junior guard Tab Hamilton (6-3, 180) leads ASU in scoring with 13.6 ppg, Jay Canty with 13.1 ppg and junior guard Mike Neal (6-2, 185 lbs) is averaging 10.1 ppg.

Charts Courtesy Daily Catamount

RealTime RPI projects a one point WCU win, 77-76.

RPI:                                 Sagarin:                                 Pomeroy:                               Massey:
WCU - 224                        WCU - 238                              WCU - 243                              WCU - 233
ASU - 338                         ASU -  327                              ASU - 326                               ASU -  333

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Jordan Garrett - new Catamount strikeout leader

Congratulations to Jordan Garrett

Photo Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Scanning the SoCon - Week Sixteen

Each week, our SoCon bloggers/message boarders (one representing each team) will vote on Power Rankings, a Game of the Week, and Player of the Week. At least three will answer a series of questions on their team and things of interest around the SoCon.

Scanning the SoCon - Week Sixteen

The following is my submission to week sixteen of Scanning the SoCon. You can read the entire consolidated article and see everyone's Power Ranking, Player and Game of the Week, as well as, all of the answers to this week's questions at MocsMania.

Power Ranking
6-Georgia Southern
8-Western Carolina
9-App State
11-The Citadel

Player of the Week
Z. Mason, UTC

Game of the Week
Western Carolina at Appalachian State

Sum up your team.
Western Carolina was 1-1 for the week, winning at home (barely) and losing on the road to Chattanooga, with very uninspired play in both games. Lack of offensive consistency and committing a fouls each and every time the opponent takes the ball inside continues to plague the Catamounts.

Name one team that you don't want your team to face in Asheville (for match up reasons). Why?
The Cats have the capability to lose or win against any team in the conference, from top to bottom, therefore I do not have a good feeling about WCU's first game in the tournament, be it Friday or with a bye, Saturday. This team is just too inconsistent o predict.

Would you like to see a conference run SoCon TV?
Yes, this is needed very much, we're behind most other mid-major conferences in this area, even the Big South. No charges, this is the way you get people to watch and follow SoCon athletics. It should be well publicized and free.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Game #27 - at UNCG

Western Carolina opened the SoCon season back on January 2d against the UNCG Spartans in the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center, where the Cats easily retired the Spartans by a final score of 72-51. The Catamounts are 10-1 against the Spartans in the last eleven games played, however this will not be a "give me" for the Cats.  The Spartans have played well in most of their games,despite their 12-14 record and will give Western a run for their money at home.

Third year head coach Wes Miller's Spartans are currently in 6th place in the SoCon and are 12-14 overall, 5-5 at home, and 5-6 in the SoCon.

On Thursday, the Spartans ended a 2 game losing streak at Georgia Southern, however, they are losers of 5 of their last 7 games. The Spartans are in 7th place in scoring offense in the SoCon with 70.8 points per game, but are in 5th place in scoring defense, giving up 73.4 points per game. In a somewhat fortunate stat for the Cats, the Spartans rank 8th in the conference in free throw shooting, hitting 67.8% of their attempts, however the Spartans lead the conference in defensive rebounding, which won't change in the WCU game.

Forward Kyle Cain leads the Spartans in scoring at 15.7 ppg while scoring in double figures in 23 out of 25 games this season.  Freshman Tevon Saddler is scoring 12.7 ppg and Kayel Locke puts up 12.o ppg.

UNCG probable starters- 
#0 Tevon Saddler, 6-4, 207 lbs, Freshman, guard
#1 Drew Parker, 6-1 207 lbs, Sr, guard
#13 Kayle Locke, 6-5 240 lbs, So, forward
#14 Kyle Cain, 6-7 210 lbs, Jr, forward
#31 Nicholas Paulos, 6-7 185 lbs, Jr, forward

After the Cats' lack luster play, inconsistent offense, and poor defensive play against Chattanooga on Friday night, expect more problems in Greensboro against UNCG, as the Cats drop this game to the Spartans, 73-77, and a tournament bye slips slowly out of their grasp.

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Cats stun Mississippi State

Western Carolina gave MSU their first opening-day loss since the 2003 season with a 3-2 victory over the Bulldogs.

Starter Jeremy Null held the Bulldogs in check as he allowed just three hits and no runs through eight innings. The opening day loss was Bulldogs coach John Cohen first time in 15 tries as a head coach.

The Bulldogs scored twice in the ninth inning against three WCU relievers but stranded runners on the corners to end the contest.

Living up to expectations against #4 ranked team in the nation, Null the SoCon preseason pitcher of the year, struck out seven of the first 13 batters he faced. "We really struggled against a good pitcher." said Cohen. We gave them a couple of opportunities and they took advantage of them. We didn't take advantage of ours."

Western Carolina struck early for two runs in the first inning. Jacob Hoyle and Luke Gragg each had RBI-singles off MSU starter Brandon Woodruff in the first inning. Aaron Attaway hit a one-out double and scored on an RBI-single by Cody Jones as an insurance run in the seventh.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Home games off; Baseball to Travel to Mississippi State

Due to both weather and travel issues, the home series against Ohio University has been cancelled.

Instead, Western Carolina will now open its 2014 season with a three-game series in Starkville, Miss., against the nationally-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs.

The season opener is now scheduled for a 7:30 pm ET / 6:30 pm CT first pitch on Friday, followed by a 5:00 pm ET / 4:00 pm start on Saturday. The series with the Bulldogs will wrap-up on Sunday at 2:30 pm ET / 1:30 pm CT.

The Bulldogs are ranked inside the top 10 in each of the four major preseason college baseball polls. Mississippi State was ranked second in the Collegiate Baseball poll, fourth in both the USA Today Coaches' and NCBWA Polls, and eighth in the preseason Baseball America poll.

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Baseball: #1 Bradley Strong

With the postponement, It's 2 days until the 2014 season's first pitch and the first three game home series against the Ohio Bobcats.

#1 Bradley Strong

Class: Junior
Hometown: Richlands, Va.
High School: Richlands HS
Height / Weight: 5-8 / 170
Position: INF
B/T: L/R

2013 (Sophomore): Saw action in all 59 games making 58 starts, all at second base ... Finished with a .295 batting average (61-of-207) including a .312 average (34-of-109) in Southern Conference play ... Recorded 18 extra base hits including 11 doubles, four triples and three home runs ... Recorded 19 multiple hit games including 18 two-hit outings while driving in multiple runs in nine games including seven in SoCon play ... 11 of his 28 seasonal RBI came with two outs ... Tied for the team-high with four hits with the bases loaded (4-for-8, .500) ... Matched a career-best with three RBI at Furman (April 7) and against Samford (April 13) while also scoring a career-high three runs in the latter ... Enjoyed a career-long 10 game hitting streak from April 6 through April 21 and reached base safely in 12-consecutive games on the year ... Drew a career-high two walks three times; at Davidson (March 8), at Kennesaw State (May 1) and versus Wofford (May 10) ... Doubled a career-high twice against Appalachian State (May 16) ... Collected a season-high three hits in five at bats in a road win at Appalachian State (May 17) ... Led the team with 17 stolen bases on the year in 23 attempts ... Named to the 2013 Southern Conference Spring Academic All-Conference team and to the 2012-13 Southern Conference Honor Roll; Summer League: Started the summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod League ... Played in five games to start the summer, batted just .111 (1-for-9) with a couple of strikeouts in limited at bats ... Drew three walks to add to his .333 on-base percentage and stole two bases in his time on the diamond ... Joined the St. Cloud (Minn.) Rox in the Northwoods League on June 25 ... Finished with a .309 (25-for-81) batting average to rank third on the team ... Recorded two doubles and a triple with nine runs driven in ... Finished 7-for-8 in stolen bases.

2012 (Freshman): Played in 55 of WCU's 56 games, making 46 starts at third base ... Finished with a .303 batting average with 12 of his 54 hits going for extra base hits ... Led the team with three triples ... Recorded 16 multiple hit games and five multiple RBI outings ... Drove in 24 runs on the season including a team-high tying 21 in Southern Conference play ... Batted .333 (34-for-102) in league play and hit .336 against right-handed pitching ... Was 4-for-8 (.500) with the bases loaded ... Added eight stolen bases (8-of-11) ... Named to the SoCon's All-Freshman team ... Tripled to right center field in his first collegiate at bat, driving in the season's first run in the home-opener against Fordham (February 17) ... Posted a perfect 4-for-4 outing with a double and three RBI at home against UNC Greensboro (March 24) ... Had a nine-game hitting streak from April 7 through April 25, posting a 12-for-37 (.324) ... Hit his first career home run to straight-away centerfield at Samford (April 21); Summer League: Played for the league-champion West Virginia Miners in the Prospect League during the summer of 2012 ... Ranked third on the team - and fifth in the league - with a .359 batting average (78-of-217) with 17 extra base hits including 10 doubles, six triples and a home run ... Drove in 37 runs and scored 57 runs ... Stole a Prospect League-leading 29 bases in 35 attempts ... Named a starter for the East Division in the Prospect League All-Star game.

Prior to Western Carolina: Played for his father, Brad, as the head coach of Richlands HS baseball team where he earned three All-Southwest District honors and was the Virginia Player of the Year in 2011 when hit a career-best .524 with a career-best 11 home runs ... Was a two-time All-State player and earned All-Region three times ... Set school career records for hits (134) - including a single-season best 48; batting average (.525); triples (24); home runs (19) and stolen bases (40) ... Is the first student-athlete from his high school to sign a scholarship to play NCAA Division I baseball ... Received a scholarship from the Allstate Foundation at teh VHSL Achievement Award Luncheon ... Was also a three-year starter on his high school football team, twice earning All-State honors at defensive back, wide receiver and return specialist ... Set the school record for career interceptions while also becoming the program's first-ever, two-year captain.

Personal: Full name is Bradley Stuart Strong ... Is the son of Brad and Mary Ann Strong ... Has a younger brother, Reece.

Profile Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Softball: #1 Whitney Haywood

#1 Whitney Haywood

Class: Freshman
Hometown: Indian Trail, N.C.
High School: Porter Ridge HS
Height: 5-6
Position: OF
B/T: L/R

Prior to Western Carolina: Four year all-conference selection ... As a senior helped lead team to the quarterfinals of the state play-offs ... Had a .411 batting average as a senior and swiped 61 career stolen bases ... In her junior year, team were conference and regular season champions, state champions and ranked number two in the nation by ESPN and had a .400 batting average in that year.

 Personal: Whitney Brianne Haywood ... Daughter of Dale and Sherry Haywood ... Has two brothers, Justin and Cameron.

 Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Basketball game postponed to Friday

The Western Carolina men's basketball game slated for Thursday, February 13 at Chattanooga has been postponed a day to Friday, February 14 due to Winter Storm Pax.

Tipoff for the Friday night game is now scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Round House in Chattanooga.  

Be sure to listen to Gary Ayers and Daniel Hooker on the Catamount Sports Network with air time of the pregame show starting at 6:30 p.m.

Baseball: Friday's opener postponed until Saturday

Friday's opener with the Ohio Bobcats has been postponed and moved into a planned Saturday double-header, with the first pitch of the year set for noon (weather permitting) at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.

The series is scheduled to wrap-up on Sunday afternoon with game three slated for 1:00 pm.

Fans can follow all three games of the season-opening season with live GameTracker available online through

The decision to move Friday's game came based upon field playing conditions, as well as Ohio's travel safety. The postponement of Friday's game also cancels the originally scheduled Catamount Sports Network broadcast of the season-opener.

The first baseball radio broadcast is now scheduled for Tuesday's home date against Winthrop with a 3:45 pm air time ahead of the 4:00 pm first pitch.

Projected Starting Pitcher Matchups:
Saturday (Gm 1): WCU - Jeremy Null, RHP vs. OU - Jake Roehn, RHP
Saturday (Gm 2): WCU - Jordan Smith, RHP vs. OU - Jake Miller, RHP
Sunday (Gm 3): WCU - T.J. Fussell, RHP vs. OU - TBA

Information Courtesy

Powell Named to "Stopper of the Year" Watch List

Junior reliever Tyler Powell is listed on the watch list for the 10th National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) "Stopper of the Year Award". The award is given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball.

Powell is joined by Eric Eck from Wofford, as the only other player from the Southern Conference making the watch list.

2013 (Sophomore): Led the pitching staff with 34 appearances on the season including 33 out of the bullpen and one start ... Finished with a 2-2 record with two saves and a career-low 2.82 ERA, striking out 55 against 28 walks ... Tossed 38.1 innings on the season, posting at least one out in each appearance ... Of the 31 hits allowed, only eight went for extra bases, all doubles ... Recorded a career-best four strikeouts three times during the season ... Earned his first career save against Longwood (Feb. 27), striking out two in a perfect ninth inning of the 8-5 victory ... Scored his first collegiate victory against the College of Charleston (March 15), pitching an inning of one-run, one-hit baseball out of the bullpen in the eighth, walking and striking out one ... WCU scored in the top of the ninth leaving Powell with the victory ... Made his first collegiate start in midweek action against Kennesaw State (April 23), tossing a career-high three innings of three-hit, shutout baseball without a decision in a game WCU won, 2-0 ... Named to the 2013 Southern Conference Spring Academic All-Conference team and to the 2012-13 Southern Conference Honor Roll; Summer League: Pitched for the San Luis Obispo Blues of the California Collegiate League ... Made 12 appearances on the summer, finishing with an 0-3 record with three saves ... Scattered 13 hits and allowed nine runs, seven of which were earned ... Struck out 25 batters against nine walks ... Limited opposing hitters to a .236 batting average against. Bio information provided by WCU Athletic Media Relations

2 Days until First Pitch - #2 Aaron Attaway

It's 2 days until the 2014 season's first pitch and the first three game home series against the Ohio Bobcats.

#2 Aaron Attaway

Class: Senior
Hometown: Morganton, N.C.
High School: Patton HS
Height / Weight: 5-8 / 170
Position: INF
B/T: R/R

2013 (Junior): Finished as just one of two Catamounts to start all 59 games on the season, and one of just four Catamounts to appear in every game ... Tallied a .363 batting average on the season including a team and Southern Conference leading 97 hits - a mark that in addition to representing his career-high also ranked him tied for eighth in the single-season record books with 2007 conference player of the year, Kenny Smith ... Ranked seventh in the final NCAA rankings with 68 runs scored, eighth in hits (97) and 32nd in homeruns (12) ... Finished with 15 doubles, a team-best five triples and 12 home runs with a .592 slugging percentage ... Named first team All-Southern Conference by both the league's head coaches and voting media ... Additionally paced the SoCon with 68 runs scored, tied for 14th in WCU's single-season record book ... Named second team All-State by North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) ... His 12 homers ranked him tied for ninth in the conference ... Batted .353 (49-of-139) against SoCon foes with 15 extra base hits including seven doubles, a triple and seven home runs ... Drove in 29 runs in league play while scoring a team-high 36 times ... Named to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List where he was among the final 14 in contention and was tabbed a semifinalist for the 2013 Dick Howser Trophy ... Hit in one of the first three spots in the lineup all season including 54 games as the lead-off man ... Became the first Catamount since the late 1980s to hit for the cycle in a game, doing so in an extra inning victory at Furman (April 7) ... Paced the squad with 27 multiple hit games including 13 two-hit, nine three-hit and five four-hit outings ... Was second on the squad with 14 multiple RBI games featuring eight, four-RBI performances ... Recorded 20 two-out RBI, third on the team ... Hit .434 (36-of-83) with runners in scoring position ... Enjoyed a career-long, 16-game hitting streak from April 19 through May 17 ... Closed the year with hits in 19 of the final 20 games; Summer League: Played in 39 of the 46 games for the San Luis Obispo Blues of the California Collegiate League ... Finished the summer ranked second on the SLO team - and seventh in the league - with a .347 batting average (52-of-150) with 16 extra base hits including a team-high 13 doubles, a triple and two home runs ... His 13 doubles ranked fourth in the CCL ... Drove in 28 runs on the summer to rank third on the squad and tied for 11th in the league ... Finished 12-of-13 in stolen bases ... Earned Mid-Season All-Star recognition.

2012 (Sophomore): One of just three Catamounts to start all 56 seasonal games, doing so as the starting shortstop - only one of two players to start every game at the same position ... Hit .302 on the season after spending the first 14 games of the season over the .400 plateau ... Batted .319 (23-of-72) against left-handed pitching ... Was a part of turning 36 double plays ... Ranked tied for second on the team with 75 hits on the year, 11 of which going for extra bases including 10 doubles and a lead-off home run at Gardner-Webb (April 17) ... Set a school-record with five doubles in a perfect 6-for-6 showing at the plate in a home win over Iona (March 3) ... His six hits rank tied for second in school history ... Finished with 18 multiple hit games including a team-best two, five-or-more hit games, and seven multiple RBI games ... Was second on the squad with 16 two-out RBI ... Hit as WCU's leadoff batter in 52 of the 56 games - batted .309 (34-for-110) as a leadoff batter ... Recorded a career-long, 14-game hitting streak ... at shortstop; Summer League: Played for the Thomasville Hi-Toms in the Coastal Plain League during the summer of 2012 ... Started 44 of the 45 games in which he saw action ... Finished with a .177 batting average, collecting 29 hits including seven doubles and two home runs with 12 RBI ... Stole nine bases in 11 attempts ... Amassed 114 fielding assists and 64 putouts along the infield.

2011 (Freshman): Was the only Catamount to both play in and start all 55 games on the season ... Made 54 starts at shortstop with one start at second base ... Hit .293 as a freshman with 10 of his 58 hits going for extra bases including eight doubles ... Finished with 14 multiple hit games including six, three-hit outings, while also tallying six multiple RBI games ... Had two, five-game hitting streaks that bookended his rookie season ... Hit .720 (18-of-25) with a runner on third base and batted .489 (22-of-45) when leading off an inning at the plate ... Drew two-or-more walks in seven games during the season ... Recorded nine stolen bases in 11 attempts ... Posted a .945 fielding percentage ... Belted a two-run homerun in his first collegiate at bat as a part of a 3-for-4 showing against Morehead State, driving in a career-high four RBI ... Matched a SoCon Tournament record with teammate Ross Heffley with a career-high 10 at bats in the epic 20-inning game against Elon in the conference championship event.

Prior to Western Carolina: Selected All-South Mountain Athletic Conference (SMAC) during his senior season, hitting over .430 with over 30 RBI as Patton HS advanced into the state playoffs ... High school head coach was Brandon Scott ... Was named the 2009 Catawba Valley Athletic conference Player of the Year after hitting .437 with eight home runs and 32 RBI as a junior ... Only struck out 12 times in 114 at bats in 2009 ... Was selected to play in the Region 7 State Games ... Played summer baseball for the Burke Legion team and with the South Charlotte Panthers during the fall ... Played on the 2004 Morganton Little League All-Star team that finished third in the United States and seventh in the world.

Personal: Full name is Aaron Tyler Attaway ... Is the son of Mark and Cynthia Attaway ... His brother, Austin, played collegiate baseball at Mars Hill.

Profile Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

2 Days until first pitch - #2 Lexi Ross

Catamount Softball's first tournament of the season is at College of Charleston on February 14. Until then, lets meet the team.

#2 Lexi Ross

Class: Freshman
Hometown: Cary, N.C.
High School: Green Hope HS
Height: 5-6
Position: IF/OF
B/T: L/R

Prior to Western Carolina: Four-year letter-winner at Green Hope High School ... Named Tri-9 All-Conference, Tri-9 Academic All-Conference and District 3 All-District all four years as well as All-State her sophomore, junior and senior year ... Also named District 3 Player of the Year as a senior ... Had a .530 batting average with 19 RBI, 34 runs, a homerun and was 32 of 33 in stolen bases as a senior.

Personal: Alexis "Lexi" Anne Ross ... Daughter of Kevin and Debbie Ross ... Has one sister, Emily.

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Miller Announces 2014 Recruiting Class

"I am excited about the group of players we having coming to Western Carolina next fall," Head Women's Soccer Coach Chad Miller said. "They are not only quality players but are a great group of people and we feel they will represent WCU well both on off the field."

"The 2014 group is a very balanced class and has a great mix of dynamic attacking minded players and some solid defenders and midfielders," Miller added. "We are returning 11 starters from last fall and have a great core group here already within the program. However, I feel with the right preparation several players from this group of young players will come in and have the potential to make an immediate impact on our program."

Chandler Arrowood, Mary Dixon, Alexa Frankeny, Emily Gerulis, Mackenzie Hill, Shannon Maloney, Anna Marie Mellis, Amy Owens, Jessie Pardue and Brianna Sears will join the Catamounts in the fall of 2014.

Game #26: Chattanooga

UPDATE:  The Western Carolina men's basketball game slated for Thursday, February 13 at Chattanooga has been postponed one day, until Friday, February 14 due to Winter Storm Pax. Tipoff for the Friday night game is now scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Round House in Chattanooga.

The Catamounts will travel over the mountains to the round house in Chattanooga, a place that has been very difficult for the Catamounts to win, as the Cats have only won three times as the visiting team playing in that arena. The Mocs of UT Chattanooga holds a 58-21 overall advantage in the series, and the Friday night, February 14th game is deemed to be a critical game for both teams.

The Mocs and Catamounts both feel as they belong in the top tier (top three) of teams in the Southern Conference, but with Davidson and Elon already established in the upper level of conference play, there is only room for one of these two teams.

A win for Western would put them at 8-3 in the conference, and make them winners of four straight conference games. While a loss for Chattanooga puts the Mocs at 1-4 in their last five games, and would project an image of a team on the decline, after such a hot 8-0 start in conference play.

A win for the Mocs would end their two game losing streak, and keeps Chattanooga in contention for the regular season championship with a 10-:2 record, just behind Davidson.  While a loss for the Cats, drops them to 7-4, and jeopardizes their 5th place position and a possible first round tournament bye.

In the preseason, the Mocs were picked by both the coaches and media to finish in 7th place this season, and they have been over-achieving ever since.  The Mocs were 8-0 in conference play before running to the buzz saw that was Davidson.  The Mocs are currently 9-2 in conference play.

Chattanooga is currently second in offensive scoring in the SoCon at 76.7 ppg and the Mocs are in 9th place in scoring defense, giving up 74.4 ppg.  Chattanooga has four players averaging double figure scoring.  Z Mason leds the Mocs with 17.7 ppg, followed by Casey Jones with 12.0 ppg, Ronrico White with 11.4 ppg, and Gee McGee with 10.1 ppg

Chattanooga Probable Starters
Sophomore - Casey Jones, 6-5 200 lbs, 12 ppg -  5.9 rebs
Junior - Martynas Bareika, 6-5 215 lbs, 9.8 ppg -  2.8 rebs
Senior - Z. Mason, 6-6 235 lbs, 17.7 ppg - 9.6 rebs
Freshman - Greg Pryor, 6-1  195 lbs,  6.0 ppg  - 2.6 rebs
Sophomore - Gee McGhee,  6-4 205 lbs, 10.1 ppg - 4.3 rebs

Courtesy Daily Catamount
RealTime RPI projects an 8 point loss for the Catamounts, 70-78.

RPI:                             Sagarin:                          Pomeroy:                        Massey:
WCU  239                      WCU   230                      WCU   241                       WCU  235
UTC   244                       UTC    277                      UTC    253                        UTC   250

I think this one is a toss-up, and can go either way.  It's just which team wants it more and plays like it's the critical game that it is.  Of course the Mocs have the home edge, but playing in a neat empty round house on a cold snowy Thursday night could negate that advantage.  

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3 Days until First Pitch - #3 J.D. Long

It's 3 days until the 2014 season's first pitch and the first three game home series against the Ohio Bobcats.

#3 J.D. Long

Class: Sophomore
Hometown: Waxhaw, N.C.
High School: Cuthbertson HS
Height / Weight: 5-9 / 170
Position: INF
B/T: R/R

2013 (Freshman): Appeared in 27 games on the season including four starts, three at third base and once at second base ... Primarily used as a pinch runner and defensive substitution, finished 2-for-20 (.100) at the plate as a rookie with limited at bats ... Was a perfect 1-for-1 with the bases loaded ... Scored six runs on the year, four coming after entering the game as a pinch runner ... Made his first career start at third base against Longwood (February 27) ... Collected his first collegiate base hit, extra base hit and collegiate RBI in his fourth appearance of the season, delivering a two-out double to right center field in the bottom of the second inning against Hofstra (March 2) ... Recorded three RBI on the year; Summer League: Played in 35 of the team's 43 games, primarily at shortstop for the Winchester (Va.) Royals in the Valley League ... Finished with a .272 (37-of-136) batting average, recording three doubles and a triple ... Had 11 multi-hit games ... Led Winchester with 20 runs scored on the summer ... Drove in 15 runs and stole four bases on the summer ... Earned Mid-Season All-Star recognition.

Prior to Western Carolina: Played high school baseball at Cutherbertson HS for head coach Travis Little ... Was an All-Rocky River Conference selection three times, earning honorable mention in 2010 ... Was a part of the Cuthbertson High baseball program that accumulated a 73-11 record over its first three years of existence, winning the league tournament title each year.

Personal: Is the son of Jeff and Cathy Long ... His father, Jeff, was a two-sport student-athlete at Lenior-Rhyne, playing both football and baseball ... Was born in Orange Park, Fla.

Profile Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

3 Days until first pitch - #3 Brooke Coggins

Catamount Softball's first tournament of the season is at College of Charleston on February 14. Until then, lets meet the team.

#3 Brooke Coggins

Class: RS Freshman
Hometown: Bryson City, N.C.
High School: Swain County HS
Last College: Tennessee
Height: 5-8
Position: UT
B/T: R/R

Prior to Western Carolina: Took a redshirt year at The University of Tennessee before transferring to Western Carolina University.

High School: Four-year letter-winner at Swain County High School ... Named SMC All-Conference (2010, 2011, 2012), All-District (2010, 2011, 2012) and team captain her junior and senior year ... All-State in 2011 and 2012 ... Four straight SMC Western Regional Champions ... NCHSAA Final Four her sophomore and junior year ... 90-24 record her four years at Swain County ... Ranked fourth in school records for hits, fourth in doubles and had a career batting average of .419. 

Personal: Brooke Leann Coggins ... Daughter of Barry and Collette Coggins ... Has one brother, Corey ... Fluent in Cherokee and Russian ... Member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cats defeat Furman

4 Days until First Pitch - #4 Jason Smith

It's 4 days until the 2014 season's first pitch and the first three game home series against the Ohio Bobcats.

 #4 Jason Smith

Class: RS Freshman
Hometown: Kernersville, N.C.
High School: Robert B. Glenn HS
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 200
Position: INF
B/T: R/R

2013 (Freshman): Took a medical redshirt, sitting out the season ... Worked with the Catamount pitchers as the bullpen catcher. Summer League: Saw action in 37 games during the summer playing first base and catching for the Kernersville Bulldogs of the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League ... Finished with a .213 (19-of-89) batting average and a .348 slugging percentage ... Recorded nine doubles and a home run ... Drove in 20 runs while scoring 16 times ... Walked 16 times with three HBPs to counter 29 strikeouts ... Recorded three multi-hit games including twice collecting three hits in a game ... Tallied three doubles and four RBI on July 27 against the Central Virginia BlueSox.

Prior to Western Carolina: Started his prep career at shortstop, but was asked to move behind the plate ... Played prep baseball at Robert B. Glenn HS ... Also played basketball as a prep, earning All-County honors as a sophomore ... Suffered a torn ACL on the first day of basketball practice his senior season.

Personal: Full name is Jason Caswell Smith ... Is the son of Mike and Debbie Smith ... Has on sibling, Casey ... Comes from a baseball family as his father, Mike; his grandfather played for the Cleveland Indians organization and his great grandfather was a part of three World Series with the New York Yankees.

Profile Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

4 Days until first pitch - #4 Makenzi McAteer

Catamount Softball's first tournament of the season is at College of Charleston on February 14. Until then, lets meet the team.

#4 Makenzi McAteer

Class: Senior
Hometown: Monroe, N.C.
High School: Parkwood HS
Height: 5-8
Position: 2B
B/T: R/R

2013 (Junior): Played in 36 games and started 20 ... Had six hits, four runs, a double and two RBI.

2012 (Sophomore): Played in 48 games and started 28 ... Split time between second base and first base ... Ended the season with a .188 batting average with 16 hits, four doubles, a homerun, seven RBI and six runs scored.

2011 (Freshman): Played in 45 games and started 41 ... Had 17 hits and scored 10 runs. Prior to Western Carolina: Four-year letterwinner at Parkwood High School ... For her career had a .413 batting average, 28 doubles, 21 triples, 13 homeruns, 61 runs scored, 87 RBI and a .942 fielding percentage ... Three-time All-State selection ... As a senior was named Charlotte Observer 12 to Watch ... Also three-time All-conference and All-District selection.

Personal: Makenzi Alexandra McAteer ... Daughter of Chuck and Amy McAteer ... Has one Brother, Hayden.

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations