Feb. 22, 2013
Greenville, S.C. - Western Carolina is scheduled to open play in the Greenville Drive First Pitch Invitational on Friday afternoon. The Catamounts are scheduled to face Michigan State (Friday, 1 pm), (Saturday, 10 am) and Cincinnati (Sunday, 3 pm) in the three-day event.
The weekend tournament is hosted by the Greenville Drive baseball team at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C., with assistance from Furman University.
Weather forecasts for the Upstate of South Carolina are not favorable on Friday afternoon, which could prompt officials to make schedule changes. CatamountSports.com will make every effort to update fans on any schedule changes at the tournament. Fans can also follow on Twitter using @Catamounts or #WCUBaseball, also with updates on Facebook (search CatamountSports).
Western Carolina vs. Michigan State - The Series:
Western Carolina dropped the only series meeting with Michigan State, 5-3, in a tournament game played in Houston, Texas, at Rice back in 2008 - WCU head coach Bobby Moranda's first season in Cullowhee ... WCU went 1-2 in the tournament with a win over Creighton and losses to MSU and the host Owls;
WCU has faced five teams currently in the Big Ten Conference in baseball posting a combined 12-7 all-time record: Illinois, 2-1; Michigan State, 0-1; Northwestern, 3-0; Ohio State, 6-5; Purdue, 1-0.
Western Carolina vs. Miami (Ohio) - The Series:
Western Carolina has hosted Miami (Ohio) twice for three-game series played in Cullowhee, taking five of the six all-time meetings ... the two meet for the first time since 2004, ending a nine-year hiatus ... Miami (Ohio) won the most recent game, 12-8, preventing a second WCU series sweep;
WCU has faced six teams currently in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), compiling a 15-7 combined record: Akron, 1-0; Bowling Green, 3-0; Kent State, 3-2; Miami (OH), 5-1; Ohio, 3-0; Toledo, 0-4.
Western Carolina vs. Cincinnati - The Series:
Western Carolina and Cincinnati have never met on the diamond ... WCU has faced the Bearcats once in football (L, 7-3 in `05) and twice in men's basketball (0-2, `96, `07);
WCU has faced six three teams currently in the Big East Conference, compiling a 6-6 record overall: Connecticut, 2-1; Providence, 0-1; South Florida, 4-4.
Leading off for Western Carolina:
Including taking last Friday's game against Washington State, Western Carolina has won FIVE-straight opening-day games ... With two wins over the weekend, the Catamounts have also won SEVEN-straight opening weekend series;
Early in the 2013 season, Western Carolina leads the Southern Conference in fielding percentage, boasting a .993 with just one error in 139 chances through its first four games ... WCU has turned the fewest double plays in the league, though, with just one;
Western Carolina has four pitchers with six-or-more strikeouts on the season ... Jeremy Null leads the team with 13 in his first start while midweek starter, senior Adam Curtis and senior closer Preston Hatcher both have eight apiece ... Hatcher leads the team with three appearances out of the bullpen entering the weekend;
Five of WCU's 2013 opponents - and a combined 12 games on the slate - are teams that participated in last year's NCAA tournament ... WCU also faces four teams for the first time in program history including Washington State (Feb. 15-17), Cincinnati (Feb. 24), Longwood (Feb. 26-27) and Hofstra (March 2-3);
Western Carolina's starting eight in the field features only one senior in third baseman Tyler White ... WCU starts five juniors with freshman catcher Danny Bermudez seeing time behind the plate as the only true freshman starter;
WCU's coaching staff includes three former Catamount baseball players in Alan Beck (2003 SoCon Player of the Year) and former right-handed pitchers Brandon Johnson and Kyle Deese ... Bruce Johnson has worked his way up from undergraduate assistant to volunteer to full-time assistant under Moranda.
Early Season RPI by warrennolan.com:
Although its just the second week of the regular season, the Southern Conference currently ranks SECOND in the nation in conference RPI, just behind the ACC ... the SoCon currently has four teams ranked inside the top 100 with WCU sixth in the league at 112.
Catamounts Ranked in the CBD.com Mid-Major Poll:
Western Carolina opened the season ranked 14th in the CollegeBaseballDaily.com poll, advancing two positions after taking 2-of-3 from Washington State on opening weekend ... WCU did not appear in the CBD.com poll until week three a season ago and topped out at 17th on April 2nd: