Thursday, March 30, 2023

Weekend Series - Mercer Bears

Who: Mercer Bears 
When: March 31 - Apr 2, 2023 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Time: 6:00 pm, 2 pm, & 1 pm
Where: OrthoGeorgia Park, Macon, GA
TV/video: ESPN+
Live Stats: Mercer Live Stats
Colors: Orange & Black

Head Coach
: Craig Gibson, 20 seasons as Mercer Head Coach (Hired in 2004)
Overall Record: 645-433 (20th); SoCon 105-62 (9th)

This season's record: 16-9 overall, 9-6 home, 7-3 away, 0-0 neutral, 2-1 Southern.

The Series: The Cats are 13-14 overall vs. the Bears, in a series that started in 2007. The Cats are 6-3 in games played in Macon, and are 9-10 in SoCon games since the Bears joined the SoCon. The two teams are 5-5 in the last ten games played between the two.

Mercer was selected to finish second in both the SoCon preseason polls by the coaches and Media. Outfielder Treyson Hughes, was selected for first team preseason honors, while Jozsef Rohrbacher & Josh Harlow received second team honors. The Bears took two of three games against the Citadel to open conference play between those two teams.

Despite ranking at the bottom of the eight-team SoCon in team batting average at .270 collectively, the potent Bear lineup leads the league with 37 home runs on the year . Mercer ranks fourth in the SoCon with 72 total extra-base hits and has the fifth-best slugging percentage at .438. On the mound, Mercer ranks sixth with a 6.34 collective ERA with a .278 batting average against. Bear pitching ranks second in the SoCon with 226 team strikeouts, 59 of which have been looking.

Game 1 – Friday, March 31 | 6:00 pm | Coverage: ESPN3 | LiveStats
Projected Pitching Match-up:
WCU – Grad. RHP Nick Torres (3-1, 1.71 ERA; 10 app., 0 GS, 21.0 IP, 18K, 5BB)
MER – Soph. LHP Colton Cosper (0-2 7.63 ERA; 8 app., 2 GS, 15.1 IP, 10K, 7BB)

Game 2 – Saturday, March 25 | 2:00 pm | Coverage: LiveStats
Projected Pitching Match-up:

Game 3 – Sunday, March 26 | 1:00 pm | Coverage: LiveStats
Projected Pitching Match-up:

Thursday, March 23, 2023

UNCG Spartans

The Cats and Spartans open Southern Conference baseball play this weekend in Greensboro.

Who: UNCG Spartans
When: March 24-26, 2023 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Time: 6:00 pm, 2 pm, & 1 pm
Where: UNCG Baseball Field, Greensboro, NC
TV/video: ESPN+
Live Stats: UNCG Live Stats
Location: Greensboro, NC
Colors: Gold (yellow), White, & Blue

Head Coach: UNC Greensboro announced in August of 2019 that Billy Godwin has been hired as baseball head coach. Godwin had spent the previous five years with the New York Yankees, overseeing all amateur scouting in North Carolina and South Carolina. Godwin is 105-95 in his three seasons at UNCG.

This season's record: 10-10 overall, 8-10 home, 2-0 away, 0-0 neutral, 0-0 Southern

The Series: The Cats are 36-45 overall since the series began in 1992. Western's conference record with UNCG is 31-39 overall, and the Cats are 22-23 in games played in Greensboro. Western is 3-7 in the last ten games played and the Cats are riding a 4-game losing skid to UNCG as they enter this series.

In the SoCon preseason polls, the Spartans were picked to finish 3rd by the coaches and 4th by the media. The UNCG players were picked for preseason honors, Mitchell Smith, Jr. (3d base) and Kennedy Jones (outfield) were 1st team picks, while catcher Dallas Callahan made 2d team honors.

UNCG will face crosstown rival North Carolina A&T for the second time this season Wednesday as it seeks to avenge a 9-4 loss from March 14. The Spartans were swept over the weekend by West Virginia. At 10-10 the Spartans are sitting in 7th place in the conference standings, and the Spartans are on a 4-game skid.  

Batting .281 collectively as a team, the Spartans are averaging 6.7 runs per game on an average of 9.9 hits per game, likewise with 60 extra-base hits including 39 doubles, four triples, and 17 homers. Four Spartan regulars are batting above the .300 threshold, led by sophomore Kennedy Jones (.345) who was selected to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Preseason Watch List. Jones and junior third baseman Mitchell Smith (.325 ) were both preseason first-team All-SoCon selections, with catcher Dallas Callahan landing on the second team.

Game 1 – Friday, March 24 | 6:00 pm | Coverage: ESPN+ 
Projected Pitching Match-up:
WCU – Jr. LHP Kyle Riesselmann (1-1, 4.43 ERA; 22.1 IP, 24K, 5BB)
UNCG – Sr. RHP Jake Wolf (1-1, 2.87 ERA; 31.1 IP, 18K, 11BB)

Game 2
– Saturday, March 25 | 2:00 pm | Coverage: ESPN+
Projected Pitching Match-up:
WCU – R-So. LHP Dylan Wheeler (2-0, 0.82 ERA; 11.0 IP, 13K, 6BB)
UNCG – Fr. RHP Jay Miller (1-3, 4.11 ERA; 30.2 IP, 14K, 12BB)

Game 3 – Sunday, March 26 | 1:00 pm | Coverage: ESPN+
Projected Pitching Match-up:

Friday, March 17, 2023

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

1st Round - CBI vs. Charlotte 49ers

What: First Round - College Basketball Invitational
Who: The #3 seed - Charlotte 49ers
When: Saturday, March 18, 2023
Time: 5:30 pm
Where: Ocean Center - Daytona Beach, FL
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
     -announcer: Gary Ayers (PxP), Daniel Hooker (color)
TV/video: FloSports
Live Stats:
Nickname: 49ers
Colors: Green, Gold, & White
Students: 30k
Conference: C-USA
Mascot: Norm the Niner
Message Board: NinerNation

Head Coach: Ron Sanchez is in his fifth season at the helm of the Charlotte 49ers men's basketball program in 2022-23. He became the 11th head coach in the program's history on March 19, 2018.

Sanchez's record vs. WCU: 1-0
Gray's record vs. UNCC: 0-1

Charlotte's current record: 18-14 overall, 11-4 home, 5-8 away, 2-2 neutral, 0-11 C-USA
Charlotte's last season record: 17-14 overall, 11-4 home, 6-6 away, 0-4 neutral, 10-8 C-USA

The Series - This will be the fourth meeting between the two teams, with the 49ers winning all three previous meetings. The two teams last met in Charlotte last season, with the 49ers taking a 98-82 win over the Catamounts.

Charlotte was picked to finish 9th in the preseason poll of the 11 member C-USA. The 2022-23 Niners are largely a newlook squad from last season, featuring six newcomers, including four transfers from Division I programs. The 2022 class is led by grad transfers Josh Aldrich and Tre' Gipson, followed by sophomore's Lu'Cye Patterson and Igor Milicic Jr. and rounded out by true freshmen, Rich Rolf and Nik Graves. Joining key returners in Jackson Threadgill, Aly Khalifa and Brice Williams is CLT's 2022 signing class of Josh Aldrich, Montre' Gipson, Lu'Cye Patterson, Igor Milicic, Jr. Nik Graves and Rich Rolf.

The 49ers are currently ranked 10th in the C-USA in scoring offense, putting up an average of 66.72 points per game (ppg), and are ranked second in scoring defense, allowing only 62.75 ppg. Brice Williams leads the 49er in scoring averaging 13.4 ppg, followed by Aly Khalifa with 11.9 ppg. Khalifa is also the leading rebounder with 6.5 rebounds per game.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The College Basketball Invitational Bracket


Midweek Baseball vs. Davidson in Kannapolis, NC

Who: Davidson Wildcats
When: Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Times: 6:00 pm
Where: Atrium Health Ballpark, Kannapolis, NC
Radio: none
Live Stats: Davidson Live Stats
Conference: A-10
Students: 1,983
Location: Davidson, NC
Colors: Red and Black
Nickname: Wildcats
Mascot: Will E. Wildcat

This season's record
: 6-9 overall, 5-6 home, 1-3 away, 0-0 neutral.
Last season's record: 43-13 overall, 28-6 home, 13-5 away, 2-2 neutral, 20-4 A-10 Conference

Head Coach: Rucker Taylor. After four seasons as associate head coach and six total years on the Davidson staff, Rucker Taylor took the reins as head coach of the program in July, 2018. The 2023 season will be his fifth as the Wildcats' head coach, and he enters with a 112-62 (.644) career record.

The Series: The Cats own a 90-26 overall record with the former SoCon foe. The two teams first met in 1977 and last played in 2014. The Cats own an 83-24 record with the Wildcats as members of the Southern Conference. Western comes into the game having won 8 of the last 10 games.

The Davidson baseball team was picked to finish atop the Atlantic 10 Conference baseball race in the 2023 season, after going 20-4 in league play and finishing with a school-record 43 wins in 2022. In 2023, the Wildcats return many key contributors including catcher Michael Carico and pitcher Ryan Feczko, the A-10 Player of the Year and A-10 Rookie of the Year, respectively, as well as all-conference honorees Bennett Flynn (pitcher), Jacob Hinderleider (shortstop) and Ryan Wilson (first base).

Davidson comes into this game having dropped a three game series in Davidson against the Bryant Bulldogs. The Wildcats will host Western Carolina Tuesday night at Atrium Health Ballpark in Kannapolis, home of the Kannapolis CannonBallers.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Cats Headed to Postseason Play

 "We are excited to receive and accept the invitation to play in the Discount Tire College Basketball Invitational," said WCU second-year head coach Justin Gray. "Postseason play gives our team the opportunity to continue to grow, get better together, and compete for a championship."

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Congrats to Woobright & Claude

Congratulations to Vonterius Woolbright and Tyzhaun Claude on being named to the SoCon All-Tournament Team


Monday, March 6, 2023

Midweek game - at UNC-CH

When: Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Times: 4:00 pm
Where: Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
TV/video: ACCN
Radio: none
Live Stats: UNC Live Stats
Conference: ACC
Students: 31,000
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Colors: Blue and White
Mascot: Rameses

This season's record: 9-3 overall, 9-2 home, 0-1 away, 0-0 neutral.
Last season's record: 42-22 overall, 33-9 home, 5-12 away, 4-1 neutral, 15-15 ACC

Head Coach: Scott Forbes is entering his third season as the head baseball coach at North Carolina in 2023 after taking over the reigns of the program prior to the start of the 2020-21 academic year. He was named UNC's 25th head baseball coach on August 7, 2020.

The Series: The Cats are 2-15 overall vs. the Tar Heels, having dropped the last 11 games, stretching back to 1977.

The Tar Heels come into this game on a 5-game winning streak after dropping two games to East Carolina. Both teams are coming off weekend sweeps of their opponents, Stoney Brook for the Heels, and Eastern Kentucky for the Cats.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

SoCon MBB Tournament - Semifinals

Sunday, March 5, 2023

On semifinal Sunday, it's now down to four teams, and not the four expected. Of the top four teams going into the tournament, only Furman and Western Carolina have survived to this point, and they will play each other. In the second bracket, the number two and three teams fell to upsets, in two closely contested games. Few would have thought the numbers six and seven seeds would reach the SoCon semifinals and play each other for a spot in the championship game on Monday.  Can Western Carolina do their part in knocking the top three out of the tournament? Furman is a 10-point favorite in the top bracket, and Jake Stephens and company is a 3-point favorite over the Terriers.

4:00 pm - Watch on ESPNU / ESPN+
Western Carolina (18-14, 10-8 SoCon) vs. Furman (25-7, 15-3 SoCon)
Ingles SoCon Championship - Semifinal
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC
Line: FUR -10.0
O/U: 150.5

6:30 pm - Watch on ESPNN / ESPN+
Chattanooga (17-16, 7-11 SoCon) vs. Wofford (17-15, 8-10 SoCon)
Ingles SoCon Championship - Semifinal
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC
Line: UTC -3.0
O/U: 152

Courtesy ProjSporfs  


Saturday, March 4, 2023

WCU Player of the Game (vs. ETSU - SoCon Quarterfinals)

Purple & Gold's "Catamount Player of the Game" for the ETSU quarterfinal game on March 4th in Asheville, is sophomore forward, #24 Bernard Pelote

The Catamount Player of the Game, Bernard Pelote came off the bench in today's quarterfinal game verses ETSU and scored 14 points and pulled down 7 rebounds, that were critical to today's third win over ETSU this season. 

He scored 14 points, hitting five of nine field goal attempts, including 4 of 8 critical shots from beyond the 3-point arc.  Bernard pulled down 7 rebounds, 6 defensive and 1 offensive.  

Congratulations to Bernard and the entire Catamount basketball team for the exciting win over the ETSU Bucs in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference men's basketball tournament. 


SoCon MBB Tournament - Quarterfinals

Saturday, March 4, 2023

In the quarterfinals, eight of the ten teams will participate today after the departure of VMI & The Citadel yesterday. By the end of the day, we will be down to the final four teams that will participate in the semifinals on Sunday. Action tips off at noon, as the number one Paladins faces Mercer, at 2:30 the Catamounts takes on the Bucs in a basketball version of the Blue Ridge Boarder Battle, then at 6 pm, Jake Stephens and the Mocs battle Samford, in the final game of the day Wofford tangles with UNCG. Furman, ETSU, Samford, & UNCG are favored to win, but this is the SoCon and anything can happen, be ready for a few surprises.

12:00 pm - Watch on Nexstar // ESPN+
Mercer (14-18, 6-12 SoCon) vs. Furman (24-7, 15-3 SoCon)
Ingles SoCon Championship - Quarterfinal
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC
Line: FUR -9.0
O/U: 142

2:30 pm - Watch on Nexstar // ESPN+
ETSU (12-19, 8-10 SoCon) vs. Western Carolina (17-14, 10-8 SoCon)
Ingles SoCon Championship - Quarterfinal
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC
Line: ETSU -2.0
O/U: 140.5

6:00 pm - Watch on Nexstar // ESPN+
Chattanooga (16-16, 7-11 SoCon) vs. Samford (21-10, 15-3 SoCon)
Ingles SoCon Championship - Quarterfinal
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC
Line: SAM -2.5
O/U: 153.5

8:30 pm - Watch on Nexstar // ESPN+
Wofford (16-15, 8-10 SoCon) vs. UNCG (20-11, 14-4 SoCon)
Ingles SoCon Championship - Quarterfinal
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC
Line: UNCG -7.0
O/U: 138.5

Courtesy Projection Sports  

Friday, March 3, 2023

SoCon MBB Tournament - 1st Round

Friday, March 3, 2023

The SoCon men's basketball tournament tips off today with round 1.  The winners of today's game will move on to the quarterfinals to be played on Saturday. Both winners will have a difficult schedule going forward in the tournament. as the winner of game number one will face Furman, and the winner of game two will face Samford, the number two seed in the tournament. While Mercer gets the nod as a 6-point favorite in game one, I wouldn't count out the Bulldogs of the Citadel. The Bulldogs have shown they can play with anyone in the conference, and while they have lost twice this season to Mercer, this may play in their favor, as it's difficult to beat a team three times in a row. In game two, the Mocs are a 13-point favorite over the Keydets, and this is without knowing if Jake Stephens will play, if he plays, increase the odds for Chattanooga. However, the Keydets have shown they can surprise their opponents, and have played competitively this season, so count them out at your own risk.

Game #1 
5:00 pm - Watch on ESPN+
The Citadel (10-21, 5-13 Southern) vs. Mercer (13-18, 6-12 Southern)
Ingles SoCon Championship - 1st Round
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC

Line: MER -6.5
O/U: 133.5

Game #2 
7:30 pm - Watch on ESPN+
VMI (7-24, 2-16 Southern) vs Chattanooga (15-16, 7-11 Southern)
Ingles SoCon Championship - 1st Round
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC

Line: UTC -13.0
O/U: 148

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Weekend Series - Eastern Kentucky Colonels

Who: Eastern Kentucky
When: Friday-Sunday, March 3-5, 2023
Times: 4:00 pm / 2:00 pm / 1:00 pm
Where: Ronnie G. Childress Field at Hennon Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
TV/video: ESPN+ (Friday only)
Radio: none
Live Stats: WCU Live Stats
Conference: ASun Conference
Nickname: Colonels
Students: 14,465
Location: Richmond, KY
Colors: Maroon and White
Message Board: Maroon Nation

This season's record: 4-5 overall, 1-3 home, 1-2 away, 2-0 neutral
Last season's record: 38-20 overall, 22-6 home, 13-13 away, 3-1 neutral, 20-10 ASun

The Series: The Cats are 27-11 overall vs. the Colonels, having won 7 of the last 10 games between the two teams. The teams last met in 2019 in Mason, O.H. (Prasco Park) and the Cats picked up a 9-6 win.

Head Coach: Chris Prothro was chosen as Eastern Kentucky University’s baseball head coach on Sept. 30, 2020, and let his team to 21-32 and 38-20 seasons in 2021 & 2022.  In 2022, Prothro led the Colonels to the ASUN West Division Championship.  EKU finished tied for the best record in the conference, won more conference games than any previous Eastern Kentucky University squad and finished the season with a 38-20 record.  The Colonels won all three of their games in pool play to earn a spot in the ASUN Tournament semifinals, which included two teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Eastern Kentucky University finished the 2022 season 38-20, champions of the ASUN Conference West Division and tied for the best conference record in the ASUN. It was the most wins for a Colonel team since the 1990 squad won 42 games. Shortstop Logan Thomason was voted by fans as the ASUN Conference Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. In December, Collegiate Baseball ranked EKU 46th in its Fabulous 50 NCAA Division I Pre-Season Poll. In a preseason poll of league head coaches, EKU was picked to finish fifth during the 2023 season.

Two familiar faces will line up for the Colonels this weekend as former Catamounts, senior infielder Jalen Jones and senior catcher Michael Goehrig are both on EKU's roster. Jones is in his second season in Richmond, he played in 61 games over the 2019 and 2020 seasons with 50 combined starts for the Cats before transferring, also in his second year on EKU's roster, Goehrig likewise departed Cullowhee after the abbreviated 2020 campaign for Southwestern Illinois after playing in 39 games between 2019-2020.

Game 1: Friday, March 3 | 4:00 pm
Projected Pitching Match-up:
WCU – So. RHP Matt Schepel (1-1, 4.50 ERA; 10.0 IP, 9K, 0BB)
EKU – Sr. RHP Michael Schuler (0-0, 6.75; 6.2 IP, 6K, 4BB)

Game 2: Saturday, March 2 | 2:00 pm
Projected Pitching Match-up:
EKU – Jr. RHP Rese Brown (1-0, 3.00 ERA; 9.0 IP, 15K, 6BB)

Game 3: Sunday, March 3 | 1:00 pm 
Projected Pitching Match-up:
EKU – Jr. RHP Rian Yates (0-0, 6.43 ERA; 7.0 IP, 6K, 6BB)

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

SoCon MBB Quarterfinals: #4 WCU vs. #5 ETSU

What:  Quarterfinals, SoCon Men's Basketball Tournament
Who: #5 seed - ETSU Bucs
When: Saturday, March 4, 2023
Time: 2:30 pm
Where: Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
   -announcer: Gary Ayers (PxP)
TV/video: ESPN+
   -announcer:Pete Yanity (play-by-play), Dean Keener (analyst)  
Nickname: Buccaneers (land pirates)
Colors: Navy Blue & Gold (yellow) 
Students: 14,334
Mascot: Bucky
Message Board:  Buccaneer Nation

Head Coach: Desmond Oliver was named the 18th head coach in program history on April 5, 2021.
Oliver's record vs. WCU: 1-3
Gray's record vs. ETSU: 3-1

ETSU's current record: 12-19 overall, 7-9 home, 5-9 away, 1-1 neutral, 8-10 SoCon
ETSU's last season record: 15-17 overall, 8-6 home, 4-10 away, 3-2 neutral, 7-11 SoCon

The Series: The Cats are 27-58 all-time versus the Bucs and are 3-7 in the last ten games played against ETSU.  Western has won the last three games against the Bucs. Last year in Cullowhee the Cats broke a 13-game losing streak with ETSU. 

In the SoCon preseason polls, the Bucs were picked to finish 6th by both the coaches and the media. The Bucs picked up the 5th place in the SoCon standings by beating UNCG last Saturday. UNCG was tied with Furman & Samford for first place at the time. The Bucs currently rank 7th in scoring offense, putting up 69.5 points per game (ppg), however in scoring defense, the Bucs come in third, giving up only 69 ppg.

ETSU comes into the game having won their last two games. The Bucs have three players averaging double-figure scoring, Jordan King averaging 15.5 ppg, Jalen Haynes averaging 14.3 ppg, and Deanthony Tipler putting up 10.4 ppg.  Jaden Seymour leads the team in rebounding with 7.4 rebounds per game.  The Bucs are averaging 6 three-pointers per game, and as a team hitting 66% of their shots at the charity stripe.