Three-game series set for a 4 pm opening day game in Greenville, N.C.
Senior infielder to wear the honored number for WCU
Three-game intrasquad series opens Wednesday evening
WCU posted a regular season runner-up finish
Defending tournament champion opens title defense at 4 pm vs. ETSU
Head Coach Bobby Moranda 2012 Preview
Western Carolina wins seventh straight season opener and tenth in to begin 2015 season at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium.
Western Carolina Baseball opened up the 2013 season with an 8-5 victory over the Washington State Cougars. (Photos courtesy of Mark Haskett, WCU Public Relations)
Dykota Spiess broke a 6-6 tie with a three-run home run to lead the Catamounts to a 9-7 win over No. 24 Appalachian State to claim the series.
College of Charleston defeated the Catamounts, 6-2, on Sunday to win the series.
During his first nine years at the helm in Cullowhee, Moranda guided Western Carolina to a pair of Southern Conference regular season championships in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014. He also led the Catamounts to the SoCon Championship game twice including the program's league-record 10th SoCon Tournament crown in 2016, advancing to the NCAA Clemson Regional -- a first for the program since 2007.
Over his first decade at the helm, the Catamounts have recorded 30-or-more victories seven times moving Moranda into second on WCU's all-time career wins chart with 284 through 2016. His 2013 squad secured 39 victories including 16-straight Southern Conference wins, while the 2014 team posted 37 wins with 12-consecutive mid-season. Moranda eclipsed the 200-win mark in 2014 with a victory over La Salle becoming WCU's fifth head coach to surpass 200-wins all-time.
Moranda -- the 2010 Western Carolina Men's Coach of the Year and the 2013 Southern Conference Coach of the Year -- became WCU's all-time winningest head coach in SoCon play, finishing 2016 with 146 league victories.
Under Moranda's guidance, 23 different Catamounts have garnered All-Southern Conference plaudits since 2008 with seven players collecting multiple accolades. In 2013, Tyler White -- who was recruited and coached by Moranda -- became the 15th different Catamount named the SoCon Player of the Year. Seven first-year players have earned SoCon All-Freshman team plaudits, while 10 players have earned all-tournament team honors under his watch.
During his first season in 2008, Moranda recruited and coached Ross Heffley, who was the both the consensus SoCon Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-America selection in 2009, and went on to be a first team All-America selection in 2011 and an 18th round draft pick in 2012. Slugger Jacob Hoyle and left-handed pitcher Bryan Sammons also garnered Freshman All-America honors after being recruited by Moranda.
Additionally, four of Moranda's players have garnered Academic All-District 3 honors including Tyler Sexton (2008), Tyler Kirkpatrick (2010), Jacob Hoyle (2014) and Kramer Ferrell (2016).
All told, Moranda-led Western Carolina squads have posted numerous signature victories including 10 against nationally-ranked foes. WCU scored a win over Moranda's former squad, fourth-ranked Georgia Tech in the Yellow Jackets first-ever trip to Cullowhee in 2009. His teams also scored a win over 24th-ranked Southern California (USC) on the program's first-ever trip to California that same year. After weather altered the opening-weekend schedule in 2014, the Moranda-led Catamounts took down No. 2 Mississippi State at famed Dudy Noble Field.
WCU has also secured road wins over nationally-ranked Clemson -- sweeping the Tigers in the 2012 regular season marking the first single-season sweep in Catamount history -- and twice at Tennessee. The Catamounts also played the longest game in SoCon history with a 20-inning victory over top-seeded Elon in the 2011 SoCon Tournament in Charleston, S.C.
Since Moranda came in Cullowhee in 2008, 19 Western Carolina players have been drafted by Major League squads including Nick Liles, a former Cape Cod League All-Star and a seventh-round pick in 2009 to represent the highest selection under Moranda's watch. Former Catamount, Tyler White -- a 33rd round pick in 2013 -- was recruited and coached by Moranda, and was the first Catamount under Moranda's watch to advance to the MLB, doing so with the Houston Astros in 2016.
Overall, a combined 23 players that Moranda either recruited or coached have gone on to careers in the Major Leagues. Twelve pitchers have been selected through the top five rounds alone of the Major League Baseball Draft under the tutelage of Moranda. He also helped recruit and coach Matt Wieters, the fifth pick of the 2007 MLB Draft out of Georgia Tech. In all, Moranda has coached over 70 players who have been selected in the baseball draft, 20 of which were undrafted out of high school.
Prior to coming to Cullowhee, Moranda's extensive assistant coaching experience included six seasons as the associate head coach at Georgia Tech where he also served a vital role in recruiting and worked with the pitching staff. Prior to his stint with the Yellow Jackets, he spent six years in a similar role at Wake Forest (1996-2001) and was an assistant coach at both Virginia (1990-95) and his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky (1987-89). Overall, Moranda has been a part of 13 conference championships and 13 NCAA Tournament appearances as either a player or a coach.
During his six seasons at Georgia Tech, Moranda helped guide the Yellow Jackets to four, top 10 finishes, four Super Regional appearances, three ACC titles and a pair of appearances in the NCAA College World Series in Omaha. In 2002, Georgia Tech won a school-record 52 games en route to the CWS thanks in part to a pitching staff which set school records for "Fewest Walks per Nine Innings" (2.54 per 9 IP) and best "Walk to Strikeout" ratio (2.90 to 1) while boasting the best team earned run average since 1994 (4.06) and recorded its most shutouts (6) since 1997. He was also a part of an ACC record 25-straight conference victories with the Jackets.
Amidst the run to the College World Series, Moranda's work with the Georgia Tech pitching staff was more evident than ever as the starting rotation of Kyle Bakker, Chris Goodman and Brian Burks combined for a 5-0 record and 0.77 ERA in NCAA regional play, while the entire staff combined for a 2.40 ERA and held opponents to a .208 batting average.
A year later, in 2003, Moranda's pitching staff helped Tech win the ACC championship by sweeping the first triple-header in conference history. The Yellow Jackets defeated North Carolina, Florida State and NC State on the final day of the tournament to capture the league title. Tech's 2003 pitching staff again ranked as one of the better staffs in recent GT history. The Yellow Jackets allowed the fewest hits per nine innings in the last 10 years, while posting the second best ERA in that span.
Prior to making the move to Georgia Tech in 2001, Moranda spent the previous six years at Wake Forest where he helped lead the Demon Deacons to three ACC Championships in his last four seasons. For his work, he was recognized by Baseball America magazine in January 2001 as one of the country's "Rising Stars" in the college baseball coaching ranks.
After helping lay the groundwork for his first two seasons at Wake Forest as head assistant coach, Moranda helped the Demon Deacons to back-to-back ACC Championships in 1998 and 1999, and a third title in 2001. He helped build the Demon Deacon program into one of the best in the nation through his recruiting efforts and his on-field work with the Wake Forest pitching staff and defense. His pitchers tossed two no-hitters, the school's first in 60 years.
Moranda's recruiting classes were annually ranked among the nation's top classes, while his pitching staffs have attracted national attention from both collegiate baseball experts and professional scouts. His recruiting efforts at Wake Forest resulted in six Freshman All-Americans, including the 2001 National Freshman of the Year, the 2003 ACC Player of the Year, and the first collegiate draft pick in 2003.
In 1998 his Demon Deacon pitching staff attracted national attention by throwing five complete games in the six-game ACC tournament. The feat helped Wake Forest win the 1998 ACC Championship and advance to the NCAA South I Regional, the Deacons' first NCAA appearance in 21 years. Moranda and the Deacons followed that 1998 performance with a five game sweep through the 1999 ACC Tournament, a trip to the NCAA Super Regional and a top-10 national ranking.
In his six years at Wake Forest, Moranda consistently developed outstanding pitchers. Ten of his pitchers were selected in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, including six that advanced majors including current players David Bush with Milwaukee Brewers and Mike MacDougal of the Kansas City Royals. Five pitchers earned All-America honors, while his pitchers earned all-ACC accolades seven times in his last five years.
His experience with top pitchers extends back to his days at the University of Virginia, where from 1990 to 1995 Moranda helped lay the groundwork as recruiting coordinator that led to the Cavaliers 1996 ACC Championship team.
During his six years in Charlottesville as Virginia's head assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, the Cavs produced more professional players than the program's previous 100 years combined. Prior to Moranda's arrival, Virginia had never produced a first-round draft pick or a first-team All-American. By 1996, however, the Cavaliers had two first round picks among 23 combined players drafted and two first-team All-Americans.
Moranda's star pupils and recruits were outfielder Brian Buchannan and pitcher Seth Greisinger. Buchannan has played with the San Diego Padres and Greisinger, who starred on the 1996 U.S. Olympic team, reached the Major Leagues in 1998 with the Detroit Tigers.
As a player, Moranda was an All-Region performer at Harper Community College in Illinois and was part of back-to-back championship teams before accepting a scholarship to Eastern Kentucky. The native of Palatine, Ill., batted .307 with 20 home runs and 86 RBI in two seasons at EKU, helping the Colonels win two consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships and a top-30 national ranking. The Colonels made two consecutive NCAA Regional appearances, during Moranda's playing career and were just two games away from advancing to Omaha for the College World Series in 1985.
After gaining his undergraduate degree in broadcast management, Moranda stayed at Eastern Kentucky as an assistant coach for three years while working toward his master's degree in recreation administration, and EKU made another NCAA Regional appearance during his tenure. During that time, Moranda also coached an American Legion summer team in Palatine, Ill., that featured Major League catcher Todd Hundley.
Moranda and his wife, Pamela, have two children; daughter Taylor Jade, and son Breyson Kade.
|Moranda's Former Players in Baseball|
|Kevin O'Sullivan - Head Coach, Univ. of Florida||Danny Borrell - Pitching Coordinator, New York Yankees||Eric Schmidt - Asst. Director of Operations, New York Yankees||John Hendricks - Pitching Supervisor for Amateur Scouting, New York Mets||Matt Price - Area Scout Supervisor, Kansas City Royals||Brian Buchanan - Minor League Manager, Kansas City Royals||Scott Daeley - Univ. of Georgia, Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator||Victor Menocal - Baseball Agent, Excel Sports Management||Jason Cook - Baseball Agent, Excel Sports Management||Michael Holmes - Asst. Director of Scouting, Oakland A's||Barret Shaft - Asst. Coach, Bethune-Cookman||Mike Nickeas - Asst. Coach, Georgia Tech||Wally Crancer - Asst. Coach, Purdue||Jonathan Nadale - Asst. Coach, Santa Rosa Community College|