Cullowhee, N.C. - First pitch of Western Carolina baseball's series opener scheduled for Friday afternoon at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium has been bumped up to 3:30 pm in an effort to avoid forecasted evening rain showers.
The series continues with a 4:00 pm first pitch on Saturday following WCU football's annual Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo, at 1:30 pm with the series finale slated for a 1:00 pm start on Sunday afternoon.
Western Carolina (7-9) and Kent State (9-5) meet for the eighth time in the all-time series history on Friday -- and for just the second-time in Cullowhee. The only other home game for WCU came back in 1996, a 9-4 loss. WCU trails in the all-time series with the Mid-American Conference school, 3-4. Kent State took two from the Catamounts a season ago in the final regular season series in Kent, Ohio, winning 5-4 and 3-1 before the third game was rained out. The two Golden Flashes' victories snapped what had been a three-game WCU win streak.
WCU and Kent State first met in the 1992 NCAA South II Regional in Tallahassee, Fla. -- a 14-1 Catamount victory. In fact, four of the seven series meetings have been neutral field contests -- two in NCAA regional play and twice in tournament action at Coastal Carolina.
Kent State was favored in the preseason to win the East Division of the MAC baseball race this year, collecting a league-best nine first-place votes. WCU is scheduled to face the other first-place pick in the MAC -- Ball State (May 12-14) -- on the road later this season. The Golden Flashes have dominated the MAC in recent years, claiming at least a share of the regular season or the tournament title in 15 of the last 17 years while averaging 36.55 wins per season, collecting 30-or-more victories in 18-consecutive seasons.
Friday and Saturday's games are slated to be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with live streaming audio available online through CatamountSports.com. Sunday's match-up is scheduled to be broadcast on the SoCon Digital Network with live streaming audio and video available online (SoConDN.com/wcu.)
Fans are encouraged 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) and Twitter (@catamounts or @WCUBaseballBSB).
Projected Pitching Match-Ups:
Friday: WCU -- Sr. LHP Bryan Sammons (3-0, 2.60 ERA) vs. KS -- Jr. LHP Eli Kraus (3-1, 3.70 ERA)
Saturday: WCU -- Soph. LHP Tristan Baker (1-1, 2.70 ERA) vs. KS -- Jr. RHP Zach Willeman (2-2, 6.75 ERA)
Sunday: WCU -- Jr. LHP Brendan Nail (1-3, 13.50 ERA) vs. KS -- Soph. RHP Joey Murray (1-0, 1.86 ERA)