Seasonal Record: 16-16, 5-7 SoCon
Last Week (3-1):
Tuesday, April 9 – vs. Appalachian State – Cullowhee – CANCELLED
Wednesday, April 10 – Western Carolina 4, Gardner-Webb 3 – Shelby, N.C. (Keeter Stadium)
Friday, April 13 – Western Carolina 4, Mercer 3 – Macon, Ga.
Saturday, April 14 – Western Carolina 11, Mercer 7 (Gm1) – Macon, Ga.
Saturday, April 14 – Mercer 6, Western Carolina 2 (Gm2) – Macon, Ga.
Thursday, April 18 – Western Carolina vs. Furman – Cullowhee – 6 pm (ESPN+)
Friday, April 18 – Western Carolina vs. Furman – Cullowhee – 5 pm
Saturday, April 19 – Western Carolina vs. Furman – Cullowhee – 1 pm
NOTE: Be sure to keep track of any weather-related schedule changes online at CatamountSports.com or through WCU Athletics’ social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports)
Catamount Baseball Diamond Notes:
- Western Carolina went 3-1 last week to move back to .500 on the season, scoring a nonconference road win over Gardner-Webb at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C., and winning its road Southern Conference series over Mercer, taking the first two games before dropping the backend of Saturday’s doubleheader …WCU avenged an early-season loss to the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs – both meetings were one-run games, 5-4 GWU on March 20 and 4-3 WCU on April 10 … the Catamounts halted a four-game losing skid against Mercer with Friday’s, 4-3, victory over the Bears before winning the series with an 11-7 win in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader … Mercer salvaged a game three win with a 6-2 victory in the nightcap;
- Redshirt junior RHP Blake Therrian tossed a career-long 7.0 in the win over Gardner-Webb in the mid-week, striking out a season-best three … He worked around four walks and stranded eight of the 11 Runnin’ Bulldog base runners WCU managed to leave on base in the one-run victory;
- WCU has played 11, one-run games this season posting a 6-5 record including two wins last week -- a pair of 4-3 wins at Gardner-Webb and at Mercer;
- WCU has won two SoCon series this year – both coming by winning 2-of-3 on the road – at UNCG and at Mercer … THREE of WCU’s remaining FOUR SoCon series will be played in Cullowhee – HOME: Furman (April 18-20), VMI (April 26-28), The Citadel (May 16-18); AWAY: at Samford (May 10-12);
- Through games played last weekend, WCU ranks second in the Southern Conference in NCAA RPI at 115, climbing 10 spots after the series win at Mercer … UNCG leads the league at No. 88, also up 10 from a week ago;
- Western Carolina enters the week continuing to lead the Southern Conference in team batting average (.307, 12th in NCAA) and slugging percentage (.481, 12th in NCAA) while ranking second in on-base percentage (.390) … the Catamounts are also second in run production with 238 runs over 32 games (7.44 average, 25th-t in NCAA) while Wofford has 284 runs in 38 games (7.47, 24th in NCAA) … WCU and ETSU enter the week tied with a SoCon-leading 119 extra base hits – ETSU in 35 games, WCU in 32 games, the fewest of any league team to date … WCU has also been hit by 56 pitches, the most in the SoCon (26th-t in NCAA);
- WCU has 33 home runs through its first 32 games this season … In 2018, the Catamounts hit 40 over a 58-game schedule with the 33rd homer coming against Samford on May 13 … WCU has homered 3-or-more times four times this year – 4 at Marshall (April 3) and 3 vs. Oakland (Feb. 16), vs. St. John’s (Feb. 24), and last weekend at Mercer (April 13);
- The Catamount defense has recorded a SoCon-leading 36 double plays this year, a mark that ranks WCU tied for sixth nationally … WCU’s 1.13 double play per game average ranks the Catamounts FIFTH nationally;
- Sophomore Justice Bigbie ranks tied for second in the SoCon in seasonal batting average at .389, while also ranking second in runs scored (39) and RBI (39) … Redshirt senior Matthew Koehler is second in slugging percentage (.703) and tied for third in home runs with a team-best nine … Sophomore Daylan Nanny has a league-high tying 14 doubles this spring while classmate Immanuel Wilder has been hit by pitch 14 times, second in the SoCon;
- Western Carolina head coach Bobby Moranda secured his 339th victory in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, winning the series against the Mercer Bears … With that victory, Moranda moved into 11th all-time in the Southern Conference record books for coaching victories at a SoCon school – surpassing former College of Charleston head coach John Pawlowski (338, 2000-08) … Moranda – already WCU’s all-time leader for career head coaching wins – is 42 wins shy of the top 10 all-time in the league (381 – Jack Coombs, Duke – 1929-52);
National Honors in Consecutive Weeks for Koehler, Walter
For a second consecutive week, Western Carolina landed a Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week honor. Last week, redshirt senior Matthew Koehler collected the plaudits thanks to his three home run performance in the midweek road meeting with Marshall.
This week, redshirt sophomore RHP Chase Walter collected national honors after striking out a career-high 13 batters in 6.2 innings on the mound in Saturday’s 11-7, series-clinching victory over the Mercer Bears. Walter surrendered six runs – only four of which were earned – on seven hits while working around four walks. All told, 13 of the 20 outs the Peachtree City, Ga., native recorded were on strikeouts – 11 swinging and two looking.
We’re Going Streaking…!
- Sophomore Will Prater has reached base safely in a team-best, eight-straight games entering the week that includes a modest three-game hitting streak … Matthew Koehler and Immanuel Wilder have both reached safely in six-consecutive – Koehler with a team-best active six-game hitting streak;
- Redshirt senior LHP Taylor Purus has struck out three-or-more in each of his last four starts including six twice (vs. Ohio State, at ETSU) and seven most recently in the win at Mercer … Redshirt sophomore Chase Walter has fanned four-or-more in each of his five starts this season … In his two league starts, Walter has averaged 10 Ks, striking out seven against Wofford and a career-high 13 at Mercer;
This Week in Catamount Baseball:
- Western Carolina does not play a midweek game this week, hosting chromatic-rival, Furman, for a pre-Easter three-game set in Cullowhee including games Thursday and Friday night before a Saturday afternoon finale … the three-game SoCon series against Furman opens a seven-game homestand for the Catamounts that continues with a midweek meeting with UNC Asheville and a three-game SoCon series with VMI next weekend;
- WCU claimed its only SoCon series win of the 2018 season against Furman last spring, winning 2-of-3 in Greenville, S.C., in early May … Furman swept the Catamounts in the most recent series in Cullowhee in 2017 as a part of a current five-game winning streak for the Paladins at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.