Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina baseball is scheduled to open a crucial three-game Southern Conference series against the Wofford College Terriers on Friday evening, on-campus at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. Friday's game has been pushed back to a potential 8:00 pm start, with Saturday's game still slated for a 6:00 pm start, and Sunday's "Senior Day" finale scheduled for a 2:00 pm start.
Friday's opener features a special "Cinco de Mayo" celebration, presented by local restaurant, Sazon Mexican Cuisine, in Cullowhee. Game two on Saturday is presented by Kostas Family Restaurant in Dillsboro, with on-campus dining provider, Aramark, the presenting partner of Sunday's game three.
Fans can follow each game online with live GameTracker through CatamountSports.com. Friday's series opener will also have a live audio broadcast from the Catamount Sports Network available online at CatamountSports.com.
With the weather forecasts ever changing, 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 @WCUCatamountBSB).
Western Carolina (22-21, 11-7 SoCon) saw its five-game winning streak snapped last weekend in Birmingham, Ala., dropping 2-of-3 to the Samford Bulldogs, including a rain-shortened, one-hit shutout loss on Sunday, 7-0. Wofford (24-21, 9-6 SoCon) has won four of its last eight including taking 2-of-3 from Samford at home in Spartanburg and doing the same on the road at ETSU last weekend. The Terriers suffered a 9-5 midweek loss at South Carolina in Columbia.
The Catamounts lead the all-time series against Wofford, 70-18, including a 44-7 mark in games played in Cullowhee. WCU has won six-straight over the Terriers -- and 12 of the last 13 overall with the lone loss coming in Cullowhee back on April 3, 2015. Dating back to 2011, the Catamounts have won 10-of-11 against Wofford in Cullowhee.
Last season, WCU won all four meetings against the Terriers, sweeping the three-game set in Spartanburg, S.C., and winning in come-from-behind, walk-off fashion, 10-9, as J.D. Long drew a bases loaded walk in the first round of the SoCon Tournament in Greenville, S.C. The Catamounts won each game of the regular season meetings by an average of nine runs per game, outscoring Wofford, 35-8, over the three-game set.
In the conference tournament, the second-seeded Catamounts had to rally from a 9-5 deficit with five runs over the final two frames including a four-run ninth to score the victory and ultimately ignite the title run.
Western Carolina (.611) enters the weekend in third place in the SoCon standings, just percentage points ahead of Wofford (.600) in fourth. First-place Mercer (15-3, .833) is idle this weekend while second-place UNCG (10-5, .667) travels to Lexington, Va., to face VMI.
The Terriers are led offensively by McLain Bradley who has a .368 batting average -- sixth in the SoCon. He has recorded nine doubles and six home runs while driving in 29. Collectively as a team, Wofford boasts 101 stolen bases on the year representing the fifth-straight season it has crested the century mark in thefts, the longest active streak in NCAA Division I baseball. The Terriers are third in the nation in total stolen bags and are third in stolen bases per game (2.24), with four players having double-digit stolen bases including three players in the top 10 including Reed Massey and Carson Waln with 15 apiece.
WCU is being paced by redshirt senior outfielder Bryson Bowman who is fourth in the league with a .382 batting average, third with a .629 slugging percentage, and leads the league with a .478 on-base percentage. He has a team-best nine home runs to rank tied for ninth in the conference, while his 47 RBI rank him third overall
Prior to Sunday's series finale, Western Carolina will honor its 11 seniors that are playing their final three-game home series this weekend. The Catamounts play on the road the next two weekends -- at Ball State and Mercer -- with one lone home schedule date -- Tuesday, May 16 -- against Presbyterian in Cullowhee. WCU will honor the following seniors in a special pregame ceremony prior to first pitch on Sunday (alphabetical): Korey Anderson, Dillon Bray, Bryson Bowman, Kegan Frederick, J.D. Long, Chad Mabini, B.J. Nobles, Bryan Sammons, Matt Smith, Pierce Suttles, and Nobu Suzuki.
Projected Pitching Match-Ups:
Friday: WCU -- Sr. LHP Bryan Sammons (5-3, 3.33 ERA) vs. WOF -- Jr. LHP Adam Scott (5-3, 4.33 ERA)
Saturday: WCU -- So. LHP Tristan Baker (4-2, 5.96 ERA) vs. WOF -- Sr. RHP Spencer Kulman (8-3, 4.76 ERA)
Sunday: WCU -- Jr. LHP Brendan Nail (4-7, 7.36) vs. WOF -- So. LHP Austin Higginbotham (4-4, 4.89 ERA)