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Cullowhee, N.C. – For a second-consecutive season, two of the most storied and successful baseball programs in league history raise the curtain on the 2019 Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases. Eighth-seeded Western Carolina and ninth-seeded The Citadel play the first game in the single-elimination portion of the tournament on Tuesday, May 21 at 10 am at Fluor Field.

The winner of Tuesday morning’s game advances into Wednesday’s opening of double-elimination tournament play against top-seeded – and defending tournament champion – Samford at 9 am. The loser of Tuesday’s opening game will have their 2019 season come to an end at the minor-league home of the Greenville Drive, a Boston Red Sox class A affiliate.

Tuesday morning’s game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with live streaming audio available online at CatamountSports.com. The game will also be available through the SoCon Digital Network with live streaming video available online at SoConDN.com, with live stats through StatBroadcast provided the SoConSports.com and linked to CatamountSports.com.

Western Carolina and The Citadel closed the 2019 regular season with a three-game series in Cullowhee with Tuesday’s game marking the fourth meeting in the past six days. The Bulldogs won the series two games to one with the three games decided by a combined six runs – a one-run WCU victory and wins by two and three runs for the ‘Dogs. The conference tournament opener represents the 156th all-time meeting between WCU and The Citadel on the baseball diamond with the Catamounts leading the series, 87-68.

The all-time series includes 20 meetings in the SoCon Tournament with the Catamounts winning nine in the postseason event including a one-run, 4-3 victory a season ago. The Bulldogs have 11 victories over WCU in the champion-crowning event.

Combined, the two programs have 44 total SoCon championships including 26 regular season crowns – 13 aside – and have a combined 18 tournament titles including a league-best 10 by WCU and eight for The Citadel. The two teams have advanced to the SoCon tournament championship game a total of 27 times – 14 by WCU and 13 for The Citadel – and have met on the diamond for the title six times with the Bulldogs winning five over one for the Catamounts.

Western Carolina (20-30) is led by the SoCon Player of the Year in sophomore third baseman Justice Bigbie, one of two players that collected first-team all-conference honors on Monday. Bigbie was joined on the first team by redshirt senior outfielder Matthew Koehler. A third Catamount – true freshman infielder Colin Bertsch – collected SoCon All-Freshman team honors as well.

The Citadel is paced by freshman infielder Tyler Corbitt, who led the Bulldogs with a .332 seasonal batting average, and senior first baseman Ben Peden, who collected SoCon Player of the Week honors following last weekend’s series in Cullowhee. Peden, a Greenville, S.C., native, was a second-team All-SoCon selection on Monday while Corbitt was dubbed all-freshman.

Projected Pitching Match-Up:

WCU – Jr. LHP Ty McCulloch (1-4, 7.36 ERA) and CIT – Sr. RHP Jordan Merritt (3-7, 3.75 ERA)

May 21 (Tuesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 1: #8 Western Carolina vs. #9 The Citadel, 10:00 am 

May 22 (Wednesday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 2: Winner Game 1 vs. #1 Samford, 9:00 am
Game 3: #4 Mercer vs. #5 Furman, 12:30 pm
Game 4: #3 UNCG vs. #6 ETSU, 4:00 pm
Game 5: #2 Wofford vs. #7 VMI, 7:30 pm

May 23 (Thursday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 6: Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 3, 9:00 am
Game 7: Loser Game 4 vs. Loser Game 5, 12:30 pm
Game 8: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3, 4:00 pm
Game 9: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 7:30 pm 

May 24 (Friday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 10: Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8, 3:30 pm
Game 11: Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 9, 7:00 pm 

May 25 (Saturday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (SDN)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 12: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9, Noon
Game 13: Winner Game 10 vs. Winner Game 11, 3:30 pm
Game 14: Winner Game 13 vs. Loser Game 12, 7:00 pm

May 26 (Sunday)
SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (ESPN+)
(Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 15: Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 14, Noon

^Game 16: Winner Game 15 vs. Loser Game 15,  40 minutes after Game 15 

^ - if necessary

 

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