April 11, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina returns to action on Friday evening, hosting the Furman Paladins in a three-game Southern Conference series at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. Game one gets underway at 5:00 pm on Friday, with a special start time on Saturday at 4:00 pm. The series finale is slated for 1:00 pm first pitch on Sunday.
Fans can follow all three games with live GameTracker (free) with live streaming video through Catamount All-Access (subscription) available online through CatamountSports.com. Live audio of the game is available through the Furman broadcast with Dan Scott on the call through FurmanPaladins.comand via local transmitter at 105.9 FM.
Western Carolina (22-9, 8-1 SoCon) is riding an 11-game winning streak, which is currently the longest active streak in the nation. Included in those 11-straight wins are eight-straight against SoCon foes - the final two games of the series at Elon and consecutive series sweeps over Wofford and UNCG. Overall, the Catamounts have won 10-straight SoCon series and have scored wins in 24 of their last 25 regular season league games.
WCU returns home to the friendly confines of Childress Field / Hennon Stadium where it has played exceptionally well over the last two years. This season, the Catamounts are 13-1 at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium this season and are batting a collective .350 overall as a team with 172 hits including 65 for extra bases (38 doubles, seven triples and 20 home runs).
All told, WCU has won 34 of its last 35 home games that included a school-record streak of 21-straight which had been the longest in the nation before being snapped vs. East Tennessee State on March 19.
Two Catamounts enter the series riding double-digit hitting streaks. Senior Cody Jones is amidst a career-long 14-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in 23 consecutive games. Junior Jacob Hoyle has hit in 11-straight games and has home runs in four of his last five games including his second multi-homer game of the season Wednesday at UNC Asheville. Sophomore Danny Bermudez has reached base safely in 16-straight games for the Purple & Gold.
WCU took 2-of-3 from the Paladins in Greenville last season, and has swept Furman in the past two series at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium in both 2010 and 2012. The Paladins took the first game of the series in Greenville, 9-2, touching up the Catamounts' Friday night starter, Jeremy Null, for nine runs on 10 hits over five and a third innings.
Null will get the start for WCU on Friday with senior RHP T.J. Fussell (1-2) to open Saturday afternoon's game on the mound. Fresh off his fourth career complete game, senior RHP Jordan Smith will toe the rubber for the Catamounts in Sunday's series finale.
The Paladins (11-22, 2-7 SoCon) dropped a 9-2 decision against No. 4 South Carolina in their lone midweek game at Fluor Field, extending their current winless drought to six-straight. As a team, the Paladins are batting .279 on the year with 75 of their team 330 hits going for extra bases (55 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs).
Furman is paced at the plate by senior shortstop Hunter Burton (.328, 0 HR, 10 RBI), who leads the SoCon in stolen bases (26-of-31), and junior third baseman Chris Ohmstede (.323, 3 HR, 19 RBI), who hit a grand slam off of WCU's Friday night starter, Null, in last year's win over WCU in Greenville.
Projected Pitching Match-Ups:
Friday: WCU - Jeremy Null, RHP (4-1, 1.52 ERA) vs. FUR - Matt Solter, RHP (0-3, 4.34 ERA)
Saturday: WCU - T.J. Fussell, RHP (1-2, 5.82 ERA) vs. FUR - Jacques de Gruy, RHP (1-3, 7.94 ERA)
Sunday: WCU - Jordan Smith, RHP (5-2, 3.71 ERA) vs. FUR - Tyler Wood, RHP (2-1, 7.25 ERA)