March 1, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. -
After snapping a four-game slide on Wednesday night with the 8-5 home victory over Longwood, Western Carolina returns to the diamond for a three-game nonconference set with Hofstra this Saturday and Sunday at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
The three-game series gets underway with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 2 with first pitch of game one slated for Noon while the second game of the twin-bill scheduled for 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. Sunday's finale is scheduled for a Noon first pitch.
Fans can follow Saturday's doubleheader with live GameTracker with live audio (free) and video (subscription) available for Sunday's finale.
This weekend's three-game series marks the first-ever meeting between Western Carolina and Hofstra on the diamond.
Located in Hempstead, N.Y., on Long Island, Hofstra (2-6) is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) where they were picked to finish second behind UNC Wilmington by the league's coaches. The Pride is led by preseason CAA Player of the Year, Jared Hammer, at first base with shortstop Dalton Rouleau also tabbed Preseason All-CAA. Hammer enters the weekend hitting just .178 (4-for-23) with one extra base hit while Rouleau is at .105 with two hits in 19 chances. Two regulars are hitting over the .300 mark with Austin Nyman (.344) and Kevin Brantley (.313, 5-of-16) for the Pride and head coach John Russo.
Entering this weekend, Hofstra ranks at the bottom of the CAA in batting, hitting just .210 (57-of-271) collectively as a team. The Pride has a team ERA of 4.61 through 68.1 innings on the year while also ranking near the bottom of the CAA in fielding at .947.
Yet to play a home game this season, the Pride split a four-game series at Cal State University, Bakersfield last weekend before being rained out mid-week against Post University. Hofstra also dropped four-straight including two, one-run ball games to open the season at 14th-ranked Oklahoma in Norman.
Saturday's starters for Hofstra are just a combined 1-3 with 10 strikeouts against 14 walks through 20 total innings. Lefty Joe Burg has allowed seven earned runs on seven hits while John Tiedemann has surrendered eight runs on 17 hits. Sunday's starter for Hofstra, Jared Rogers, is 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA.
Western Carolina (4-5) snapped a four-game seasonal slide behind the pitching of Taylor Sandefur (1-0) and a solid offensive first inning, upending Longwood, 8-5, on Wednesday afternoon in Cullowhee. The Catamounts near the bottom of the conference in early-season batting average at .261, just ahead of College of Charleston (.225).
Junior Jordan Smith (1-0, 5.40 ERA) is slated to start Saturday's first game for the Catamounts - his third start of the season. The Liberty, N.C., native is limiting foes to a .214 batting average through his first two times on the mound, working around six walks with seven strikeouts.
The Catamounts have four regulars hitting over .300 led by junior shortstop Aaron Attaway at .350 with five extra base hits including two triples - tied for the most currently in the conference. Senior Tyler White has a team-high three home runs and 12 RBI, tied for third in the SoCon.
Again, action gets underway Saturday at Noon.
Probable Pitching Match-ups:
Saturday, March 2 - Noon - Cullowhee:
WCU Jr. RHP Jordan Smith (4-5, 3.48 ERA) vs. Hofstra Sr. LHP Joe Burg (1-1, 6.30 ERA)
WCU TBA vs. Hofstra Sr. RHP John Tiedemann (0-2, 6.30 ERA)
Sunday, March 3 - Noon - Cullowhee:
WCU TBA vs. Hofstra Sr. RHP Jared Rogers (0-1, 2.79 ERA)
Western Carolina vs. Hofstra - Additional Notes:
- WCU has played seven current members of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) posting a 34-23-1 overall record ... the Catamounts have met in-state foe, UNC Wilmington, 21 times with a 14-7 mark with Georgia State second with 14 meetings (8-6).