March 22, 2011
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina steps out of conference to host the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs on Wednesday night at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium in mid-week action. It is the first scheduled game under the lights at the renovated on-campus facility. UPDATE - Game time has been moved up to 5:00 pm.
Fans can follow all of the action online at CatamountSports.com with live GameTracker, presented by Carolina West Sports Medicine and the MedWest Health System.
Western Carolina (8-10) has dropped four-straight games after on the season and has just one win in its last eight games overall. After opening with five wins in its first six games, the Catamounts haven't found the win column at home in its last four - last claiming a home victory on Feb. 27.
WCU played Southern Conference leader Elon to a pair of one-run games over the weekend, falling on Friday by a count of 6-5 and on Saturday afternoon, 5-4, before dropping the finale, 9-6, on Sunday. The lineup featured at least three freshmen all three days including five in the last game of the series.
Junior second baseman Ross Heffley continues to rank second in the SoCon with a .426 batting average, while also ranking fourth in slugging percentage at .662. Freshman Adam Martin is seventh in slugging percentage, hammering out a .625 average to date. The two also rank among the conference leaders in on-base percentage, reaching at .494 and .469, respectively.
WCU is slated to start junior left-hander Mike Gaffigan (0-0, 6.75) on Wednesday night. The Orland Park, Ill., native will be making his fifth appearance on the season and his second career start, taking the mound at Eastern Kentucky back on March 1 in his first Division I start.
The Catamounts won all three games against GWU a season ago, winning in Cullowhee, 14-9, in the season opener before downing the `Dogs 6-5 in 10 innings and 6-3 in two games played at McNair Field in Forest City. All told, WCU has won five-straight over Gardner-Webb, last dropping a game in the series on the road in 2006.
Gardner-Webb (14-4) comes to town having won two-straight over UNC Asheville, securing victories in 11 of its last 12 games overall. Nine of the Runnin' Bulldog victories have come at home with the squad posting a 3-0 record in games played on the road. GWU picked up two wins over SoCon foe, The Citadel, earlier this season in tournament action in Charleston while also being blanked by Appalachian State at home, 7-0.
The Bulldogs, which hit .334 collectively as a team, are led by Dusty Quattlebaum who like Heffley is hitting for a .426 average. Adam McFarland and Jake Watts share the team lead in RBI with 21 apiece.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm.