Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2015 WCU Football Prospect - Walker Lanning

Walker Lanning
Position:  Offensive Tackle

Hometown: Arden, NC
High School:  Christ School
Class:  2015
Height:  6' 3"
Weight:  281 lbs

One of the early scholarship offers for the 2015 class went to Walker Lanning.  Walker has offers from Western Carolina, Albany, and Youngstown St.

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The Sports Network's blurb about WCU football

From the Sports Network,  In the FCS Huddle: If the glass shoe fits

Western Carolina (2-10, 1-7 Southern Conference) - If you're really thinking rags-to-riches, go with Western Carolina, which has lost 29 of their last 30 SoCon games. Quite simply, it's time for the Catamounts to put some pieces together under third-year coach Mark Speir. The coaching staff has given significant playing time to a bunch of youngsters in the skill positions and junior-to-be wide receiver Karnorris Bensen has taken off for quarterback Troy Mitchell. The schedule agrees as there are winnable non-conference games against Brevard, Catawba and Presbyterian, and second-year program Mercer and struggling VMI will be part of a weakened SoCon this year. Who knows, maybe the Catamounts will be peaking for their regular-season finale - at Alabama.

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Baseball: Wake Forest on Wednesday

On Wednesday, April 30th, the Catamounts and Wake Forest Demon Deacons will meet at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C. at 6:00 pm.

The Cats are 4-5 overall against Wake Forest, with the Cats losing to the Demon Deacons last season in Winston-Salem and winning in Cullowhee for the split.

Wake Forest is 26-21 overall this season and 12-12 in the Atlantic Coast Conference after getting swept in a three-game home series with Duke over the weekend. The Demon Deacons play at Appalachian State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday before taking on the Cats on Wednesday.

Wake Forest is 9-9 in road games this season and 1-0 in games at a neutral site, they are 4-6 in their last 10 games and on a 4 game losing streak.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Baseball: at Samford this weekend

The Catamounts travel to Samford for a three-game Southern Conference series this weekend at Bulldog's Joe Lee Griffin Field. The teams are scheduled to play Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. (EDT).

Western Carolina leads Samford 9-8 all-time, with all 17 meetings played since Samford joined the Southern Conference in the 2009 season. Last season, the teams met four times, with the Catamounts winning all four meetings. The Cats swept the three regular-season games by scores of 9-8, 21-7 and 5-2. The teams also met in the first round of the SoCon Tournament, with WCU taking a 13-7 win.

The Bulldogs are 25-16 overall, and are in fourth place with a 9-6 SoCon record, just 2.5 games behind the Catamounts. The Bulldogs have won four of their last five games.

Projected starters
Western Carolina
Friday: RHP Jeremy Null (5-1, 1.79 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Bryan Sammons (6-2, 4.02 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Jordan Smith (6-3, 3.50 ERA)

Friday: RHP Alex Ledford (6-2, 5.12 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Jared Brasher (2-2, 5.23 ERA)
Sunday: TBD

All three games can be viewed online via Samford Sports TV at www.samfordsports.com/showcase. Live stats will also be available at www.samfordsports.com.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

J.T. Poston: SoCon Men's Golf Player of the Year

Purple & Gold congratulates J.T Poston on his individual SoCon Tournament Championship, his selection as All Conference, and being named Player of the Year by the Southern Conference

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Baseball: at Clemson (4-23-14)

On Wednesday, the Cats travel to #20 Clemson for the away portion of this season's home and home with the Tigers.

In the first meeting of the season, the Cats exploded for 18 runs against Clemson, beating the then #11 Tigers by a final score of 18-10.

Currently the Tigers sit at 24-15 overall, and 12-7 in conference, good enough for second place in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. The Tigers played Liberty on Tuesday night in Clemson, prior to Wednesday's game with the Catamounts.  The Flames won that game by a final score 4-3 over the Tigers.

Clemson is 4-6 in their last 10 games, after losing to Liberty on Tuesday. The Catamount Sports Network will carry the game and Clemson has a free live video feed on their TigerCast.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

A Loss in the Catamount Family

This was posted by "tdawg" on the Catamount Sports Forum and Catamount Pride. I'd like to see it get the widest distribution, as it's a worthy cause.
You may have heard, our starting left fielder Dykota Spiess' dad, Jason, passed away late Thursday night after a valiant battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. They have been through many days/months of standing by Jason's side, fighting the battle with him, and now face the coming days of moving on after his passing. We know, however, that God is good and Jason is now standing by His side.
Several of us discussed at the field on Friday evening that, as members of the Catamount Baseball Family, we would like to do something to show our love and support to the Spiess family. I do not know (and do not need to know) much about their financial situation, but I do know that healthcare is not cheap, especially with the extended care that Jason has had. So, with that being said, we would like to send a "love offering" to the Spiess family to help with whatever needs they may have. 
If you would like to contribute to the Jason Spiess love offering you can send a check to: Jodie K. Smith, 3706 Flynt Road, Liberty, NC 27298.  Jodie Smith, our Sunday starting pitchers's mom has volunteered to collect all monies and forward it to the Spiess family. 
In lieu of a service, there will be a celebration of Jason's life at a community picnic and whiffle ball tournament at the Catawba Meadows Park, Morganton , from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday April 24.

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Strong named SoCon Player of the Week

Catamount second baseman Bradley Strong was named the SoCon player of the week, for all games April 14-20 by the Southern Conference.

Strong hit .389 in four games last week, he was 7-for-18 on the week, with five of his seven hits going for doubles. He also scored four runs, drove in three and stole three bases.

Strong opened the week with a 4-for-7 showing in the Catamounts’ 9-6 win at Winthrop on Tuesday. He hit two doubles and stole two bases in the contest. He also drew a walk and scored a run.  Strong was flawless in the field in 26 total chances and was part turning of three double plays.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jordan Smith makes his 54th career start

Senior Jordan Smith made a school-record 54th career start on Sunday afternoon, tossing his fifth career complete game his second in the last three weekends. Smith struck out 10 in game two of the series with the Bulldogs, his second complete game in his career against the Citadel.

                                                         Photo by Mark Haskett, WCU Public Relations

Western Carolina & Davidson share lead after Day 1

Photo Courtesy Southern Conference     

Western Carolina and Davidson share the lead after the first round of the Southern Conference Men’s Golf Championship at the National Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C.

Western Carolina’s J.T. Poston holds the individual lead at 4-under 68, as both Western Carolina and Davidson posted rounds of 6-over 294 as a team.

The top five in the team standings are all within three strokes of each other. Furman and Georgia Southern sit two shots back of Davidson and Western Carolina in a tie for third at 8-over 296, while two-time defending SoCon champion Chattanooga is in fifth at 9-over 297.

Poston opened play with a birdie, then ran off eight straight pars to make the turn at 1-under 35. The junior from Hickory, N.C., then birdied the first three holes of the back nine before closing with another six pars to sit at 4-under after the first round of play.

The tournament returned to Pinehurst for the first time since 1980 and is being played at the National for the first time. The Jack Nicklaus Signature course will play at par-72, 7,122 yards. The team winner of the SoCon Championship will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA regional, while the individual medalist will also earn an automatic regional qualification.

Courtesy SoConSports.com

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bradshaw, Emrick & Rahming earn SoCon T&F Athletes of the Week honors

Catamounts were honored in three of the four outdoor track & field athletes of the week selections by the Southern Conference.

Earl Rahming earned the SoCon Men's Outdoor Track Athlete of the Week, and Genevieve Emrick and Alisha Bradshaw were selected as the SoCon Women's Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week.

Rahming took first in the 400-meter run at the Beynon Catamount Classic over the weekend with a SoCon season-best time of 47.82. The senior also set a new personal record in the 200-meter (22.02) despite running into a -1.2 head wind. Rahming is also a member of WCU's SoCon-leading 4x100-meter (40.69) and 4x400-meter relay teams.

Emrick won the 400-meter at the Benyon Catamount Classic with an all-time meet and facility record time of 54.31 to put her at the top of the SoCon list this season. She finished second in the 200-meter, finishing behind teammate Tayla Carter and clocking a 24.61. She also competed on WCU's winning 4x100-meter relay team.

Bradshaw took the title in the hammer throw (168-1), shot put (43-7 ½) and discus (149-4) at the Benyon Catamount Classic last weekend. Her discus throw set a new SoCon-leading mark and she is ranked second in the hammer and fifth in the shot put.

Courtesy CatamountSports.com

Catamount Baseball Today

Photo Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations      

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Baseball: The Citadel comes to town

On Friday April 18th, The Citadel makes the trip up the mountains to the Cullowhee valley to meet the Catamounts in this season's 3-game series between the two most dominate baseball programs in the Southern Conference. The Dogs and Cats have met 138 times on the diamond, with the Cats leading the series 77-61, including a 40-21 mark in games played in Cullowhee.

The Citadel has 13 Regular Season Championships in the record books, while the Cats own 12 of those regular season crowns. The Citadel also has won 8 SoCon tournament championships, while the Cats are the proud owner of  9 tournament championships. However, this season the Citadel comes to Hennon Stadium with a 15-23 overall record and the Bulldogs have a solid hold on last place in the conference standings as well, with a  2-13 conference record.

In SoCon play, the Citadel only has one win apiece over Samford and Appalachian State, as the Bulldogs have lost all 5 conference series this year. The Bulldogs have preformed considerably better against non-conference foes, with a 13-10 non-conference record. The Citadel's problems seem to stem from playing on the road, as they are only 3-12 in road games, but conversely are 12-9 at home in Charleston.

The bright spot for the Bulldogs is their home win on Wednesday night against the #11 South Carolina Gamecocks. However, the Gamecocks seem to be in a nose dive, losing back to back games this week against both Charleston Southern and the Citadel, and are in the midst of a four game losing streak.   I don't know how much the Citadel's win over USC can factored into how the Bulldogs will play against the Cats.

"I hope this will get them going, because we still have a lot of baseball left to play," said Bulldog Coach Fred Jordan after beating USC Wednesday night. "Our alumni enjoy (beating USC) a whole lot more than I do. I'd rather beat Western Carolina two out of three. This game's about confidence, and for the first time in a month when we had the lead, we didn't panic when someone pressed us. We just came back in and swung the bats."

Once again, the Catamount Sports Network will not broadcast this series. So, those wanting to hear the game will be forced to listen to the Citadel broadcast. The game will be streamed on Catamount All-Access.

Projected Pitching Match-Ups:
Friday: WCU - Jr. Jeremy Null, RHP (5-1, 1.63) vs. CIT - Sr. Logan Cribb, LHP (2-4, 5.51)
Saturday: WCU - Fr. Bryan Sammons, LHP (6-2, 3.96) vs. CIT - So. Austin Mason, RHP (1-2, 5.46)
Sunday: WCU - Sr. Jordan Smith, RHP (5-3, 3.73) vs. CIT - TBA

Basketball: Tucker Thompson signs with WCU

According to several sources, Tucker Thompson, a 6-10 senior from Hough High School in Cornelius, NC has signed a NLI to play basketball for Western Carolina next season.

Thompson will join Devin Peterson, Ashley Williams, and Alex Hicks in the incoming 2014-15 freshman signing class. Thompson will join Charlendez Brooks (redshirt freshman) as the second 6' 9"+ true center on the roster. It's not known at this time if Thompson will redshirt.

Hough basketball coach Justin Batts:

“I was really impressed with Tucker all offseason and expected him to be one of the top big men in the entire Charlotte area,” Batts said, adding that Thompson gained about 15 pounds, up to a much-stronger 225 pounds. While Thompson has had some big games – including a season-best 25 points and 10 rebounds in 14 minutes in a win over Hopewell – his numbers don’t always show up in the box score. 
Thompson is perfectly happy doing the “dirty work,” like setting screens, boxing out for rebounds and more. He knows tough plays like rebounds and stick-backs can make a huge difference in tight games. Thompson is also the first to dive for a loose ball, according to Batts. “I don’t think Tucker gets enough credit for all the little things he does, especially defensively,” said Batts, who said Thompson also is averaging 1.6 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. “He not only affects a lot of shots by his size, but he is our best guy at boxing out, and we always have him on other team’s best offensive rebounder.” 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Taylor Sigmon

Purple & Gold congratulates softball sophomore Taylor Sigmon named the North Carolina Education Lottery Student-Athlete of the Week for April 16 by the Southern Conference.

Photo Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations  

Poston Takes Second in Wofford Invitational

Junior J.T. Poston earned his 19th top ten and his 12th top five finish of his career after claiming second place following a chip-off at the 26th Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational at the par-72, 6,648 yard Country Club of Spartanburg after the final 18-holes of play Tuesday.

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations    

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cats play Winthrop today, then on to Tennessee on Wednesday

The Cats travel to Rock Hill, SC on Tuesday for a midweek game against Big South foe Winthrop.

The Eagles are 18-21 overall, and 9-6 in the BS and are sitting in first place in the South Division of the Big South. The Catamounts held the Eagles scoreless in Cullowhee back on February 18th in a game finished with a 8-0 final score. Freshman Bryan Sammons scored his first career victory just days after his first career save at No. 2 Mississippi State

Winthrop dropped 2-of-3 over the weekend against Presbyterian, a team WCU shut out 16-0 in Cullowhee last week.  The Eagles are batting .234 as a team but boast a 3.10 overall ERA on the pitching staff.

On Wednesday, the Cats will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee for a game just scheduled between the Catamounts and Volunteers.  Due to inclement weather, Tennessee's game against Virginia Tech on Tuesday was cancelled, leaving both schools in need of additional games.

The Vols will host Western Carolina at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET. Tennessee (23-11) is coming off a series loss at Georgia (1-2) and is 4-6 the last 10 games, but is 16 - 4 in home games this season.  The Vols enter the week ranked 29th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll and aare receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches' Poll.   UT was ranked as high as 21 prior to the losses at UGA.

A live video broadcast of the game will be available for free on UTSports.com/allaccess.

Brittany Gendron & Alex Abraham

Purple & Gold congratulates women's soccer's Brittany Gendron and women's basketball's Alex Abraham both receiving Southern Conference post-graduate scholarships.

Photo Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations        

Weeks to accept preferred walk-on position

Swain senior lineman Zach Weeks has accepted a preferred walk on position with the Catamounts.

The SMC Lineman of the Year, Weeks was the anchor for an offensive line that rolled to 6039 total yards, and averaged 37 points per game. In the Maroon Devils grading scheme for offensive lineman Weeks continually grading out 94% or better for his blocking assignments.

On the defensive side of the ball Weeks had 77 combined tackles, including 10.5 tackles for loss and three batted down passes.

View Zach's highlight's here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jordan Garrett

Junior pitcher Jordan Garrett became the founding member of the Catamount Softball 500 Strikeout Club as she went over 500 K's against UNCG. She currently has 503 career strikeouts, the most ever for a WCU softball pitcher in its nine-year history.

Photo Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations  

Stacia Kissel

Congratulations to Stacia Kissell on being the first player from WCU to be named 1st Team All Southern Conference!

Photo Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 WCU Football Spring Game

Baseball: WCU drops series to Furman

After a close win in game 1, the Catamounts lost two straight to the eighth place team in the Southern Conference. Today's win gave the Paladins their first series victory of the baseball season.   Furman entered the weekend series on a 6 game losing streak.

Today's win gave Furman (13-23, 4-8 SoCon) the two games to one series victory and is the first home league series loss since 2012 for the Catamounts. Of the Catamounts' five SoCon regular season losses over the last 30 games, three have come to the Paladins.

It looks like the Furman head coach knew what he was doing in the first game by getting tossed, it certainly motivated the Paladins over the uninspired Catamount team.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Western Carolina wins game one, 5-4 over Furman

Western Carolina survived two back to back solo home runs by Furman in the top of eight inning to hold off the Paladins in the opener of a three-game Southern Conference baseball series Friday evening at Hennon Stadium. 

The 5-4 win pushed the Catamount winning streak up to 12 straight for Western Carolina (23-9, 9-1 SoCon) while the loss upped the Furman streak to seven straight losses (11-23, 2-8 SoCon).

The Catamounts led 5-2 in the top of the eight, before Greg Harrison and Chris Ohmstede slammed Catamount reliever Jonathan Waszak with back-to-back home run off a total of three pitches delivered by Waszak. Bryan Sammons replaced Waszak on the mound and got the next two outs before giving way to WCU's closer, Tyler Powell. Powell walked Furman's Hunter Burton to start the ninth inning, however Burton was thrown out attempting to steal. Powell retired the Paladins' next two batters to end the game and pick up his seventh save of the season.

Bradley Strong went 4-for-5, homered, and drove in two runs as the Catamounts finished with nine hits while holding Furman to six.

Game two starts a 4 pm on Saturday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baseball: Furman weekend series

Western Carolina returns home for a three-game Southern Conference series against the Furman Paladins this weekend.

Furman comes to Cullowhee riding a 6 game losing streak. The Paladins are 11-22 overall, and 2-7 in SoCon play. Furman was single game conference wins against both UNCG and Samford. The Paladins are 5-8 in road games this season.

Game one is scheduled for 5:00 pm on Friday evening with a special 4:00 pm first pitch on Saturday, preceded by a special Baseball BBQ at 3:00 pm following the football Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo. The baseball series finale is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon.

Baseball: Cats sweep UNCA

Colton Davis, courtesy WCU
Western Carolina defeated UNC Asheville, 9-3, Wednesday evening under the brand new lights recently installed at Greenwood Field on the Asheville campus, as the Bulldogs celebrated their first official baseball game under the lights.

With the win, the Catamounts improved to 22-9, stretching the nation-leading win streak to 11th-straight as the Cats completed a two game sweep of UNCA, claiming both ends of the home-and-home against the Bulldogs.

Jacob Hoyle hit two home runs for the Cats and drove in three runs as Catamount pitchers limited the Bulldogs to three runs and stranding 12 UNCA baserunners in the game. The Cats used eight pitchers with starter Colton Davis picking up the win as he pitched the first three innings with seven strikeouts, allowing just one hit. Reliever Tyler Powell pitched the final two innings and got the Cats out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning to earn his sixth save of the season.

Western Carolina returns home for a three-game series against the Furman Paladins this weekend. Game one is scheduled for 5:00 pm on Friday afternoon.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baseball: Cats travel to Asheville

The Catamounts travel to Asheville on Wednesday evening for the second mid-week game, as well as, the second game of the annual home and home series with the UNCA Bulldogs.

The Cats currently own the second longest winning streak in Division I baseball at 10 and enter Wednesday's game with a 21-9 overall record after shutting out Asheville's Big South Conference mate Presbyterian, 16-0. .

Western Carolina visits Greenwood Field - the first on-campus meeting between the Cats and Dogs since 2004, as the Bulldogs dedicate their new field lights in Greenwood Field. Thanks to a grant from the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, both UNCA's soccer field and baseball field now have lights.

“We’re excited about our home game with Western Carolina and celebrating the fact we have lights,” stated Bulldog coach and WCU alum, Tom Smith. “It should be a great night and hopefully we can play well and get a win against a very good Western Carolina ballclub.”

Wednesday's meeting is the 75th all-time between WCU and UNCA, as the Cats lead the all-time series with UNCA, 48-26, including the 4-1 victory last Tuesday in Cullowhee. UNCA is 6-8 at home this season and 11-22 overall.

There will be NO Catamount Sports Network coverage of the UNCA game. The game can be seen for free on the Big South Digital Network under the multimedia tag at uncabulldogs.com.

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Video: WCU Baseball Win Over Presbyterian

Video Courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations

Baseball today: Presbyterian Blue Hose

Courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations

Monday, April 7, 2014

Catamounts Unite Tour - Sylva

The 2014 Catamounts Unite Tour, presented by The Cullowhee River Club on the Tuckasegee and Macon Bank, kicks off the Whee-kend this Friday.

Join WCU Alumni Association and Western Carolina University Catamounts with Director of Athletics, Randy Eaton, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Larry Hunter and Head Football Coach Mark Speir as well as other WCU Coaches that will be in attendance to share the latest news on Catamount athletics as well as previewing the upcoming 2014-15 season.

Event begins at 8:00pm and is free and open to all Catamount fans! Food will be provided and cash only bar will be available. For more information on the Catamounts Unite Tour, please contact Ms. Julie Miller, Associate Director of the Catamount Club by phone at (828) 227-3084 or via E-mail at jamiller@wcu.edu.

Click on the link to register for the 2013 Catamounts Unite Tour

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Baseball: Cats welcome Presbyterian on Tuesday

The Blue Hose of Presbyterian College visit Cullowhee on Tuesday (Apr 8) for the first of two midweek games the Cats will play before a weekend series with Furman, also in Cullowhee.

On Wednesday, the Cats visit Asheville for the return trip of the home and home series with the Bulldogs of UNC Asheville.

Presbyterian comes in with a 10-21-1 overall record, and has a 3-9 record in Big South play. While playing fairly well at home (5-5), the Blue Hose are only 2-14 in games away from Clinton, SC, and they currently are in a 12 game losing streak. Tuesday's game against the Blue Hose is just the third meeting all-time between WCU and PC - and the first since 1993.  The Cats leads the series, 2-0.

First pitch is scheduled for 5 pm on Tuesday and you can catch all the action on Catamounts All Access.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Catamounts selected as Athletes of the Month

Photo courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations
Three Catamounts were named Athletes of the Month for the month of March by the Southern Conference.

Tayla Carter was named women's track athlete of the month, Adam Martin earned baseball player of the month and Kristin Swindell took home women's golfer of the month.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Weekend series: at UNCG

Western Carolina returns to Southern Conference play this weekend, visiting UNCG for a three-game series that gets underway Friday at 6:00 pm.

UNCG comes into the game 13-13 overall, and 2-3 in the SoCon. In congference play the Spartans won a series against Furman 2-1, but dropped two games against App State this past weekend, with the third game canceled due to inclement weather.

All three games will be broadcast by the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard online with live streaming audio at CatamountSports.com. WRGC 540 AM in Sylva is also slated to carry the CSN broadcast on Friday evening.

UNCG will be streaming the games live and free on Spartan All-Access and UNCG will also provide Live Stats.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Baseball: UNCA

The UNC Asheville Bulldogs travel to Cullowhee on Tuesday afternoon, for the first game of the annual home and home series between Western Carolina and UNCA.  The Bulldogs are coached by WCU alumni Tom Smith.

The Bulldogs are 9-18 overall, 3-6 in the Big South, coming off a 1-2 weekend series against Winthrop in Rock Hill, SC. Asheville beat UNCG earlier in the season, but dropped a three game series against Appalachian State, then beat ETSU and Furman in one game series each.

Tuesday's game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with live streaming audio (free) and video stream through Catamount All-Access (subscription), as well as live GameTracker all available online through CatamountSports.com.

Photo courtesy WCU Athletics

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