ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville baseball team hosts Big South foe Charleston Southern this weekend in a key Big South Conference series starting Thursday at 6 p.m.
Friday’s game will be broadcast by ESPN3 with first pitch at 7 p.m. Saturday’s finale starts at 2 p.m.
Thursday and Saturday’s game will be available for free on the Big South Digital Network. Fans can go to the multimedia tag at uncabulldogs.com
Both teams are fighting for a chance to get into next month’s Big South Conference Tournament. Asheville and CSU are tied for fifth in the South with 4-11 league marks. The top teams in each division are seeded first and second with the rest of the seeding done by winning percentage in league play. The Bulldogs and Bucs desperately need league wins this weekend.
The Buccaneers (19-20, 4-11 BSC) have won three of their last four games, including a stunning 4-1 victory at sixth-ranked South Carolina Tuesday night. Asheville (11-26, 4-11 BSC) has lost four straight after getting swept at Campbell this weekend.
“This is a big weekend for us,” stated Bulldog coach Tom Smith. “We’ve got to start winning some league series and it needs to start this weekend.
“Charleston Southern is playing some pretty good baseball right now and is coming off a huge win at South Carolina,” added Smith. “We need to start hitting the ball a little better than we did last weekend at Campbell. “
Greenwood Field has been CSU’s home away-from-home over the years. Asheville has not won a league series against the Bucs since 1994 at Greenwood Field! The Bulldogs only series win in Asheville during that time came in a three-game sweep at McCormick Field in 2010. CSU is 16-5 at Greenwood Field since 1996.
Freshman outfielder Tanner Bush leads the Bulldogs in hitting with a .371 average. He has a hit in seven of the last eight games. In six of those games, Bush has enjoyed multi-hit games.
The Bulldogs rotation this weekend will consist of senior right-hander Dean Roland (2-2, 6.37 ERA) on Thursday, freshman right-hander Joe Zayatz (1-5. 4.27 ERA) on Friday and sophomore right-hander Corey Randall (1-4, 3.51 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday’s matinee.
The Bulldogs have led into the seventh inning in seven of their 11 BSC losses.
Asheville is 3-3 in BSC home games this year.
The Bulldogs are 5-4 in one-run games and 3-3 in league play.
Freshman outfielder Tanner Bush is 16-of-30 (.533) at the plate in his last eight games. He has hits in seven of those games and multi-hit games in seven contests.
Pete Guy had a Bulldog debut that will be hard to be topped. On March 12, he made his first start for the Bulldogs against ETSU at Greenwood Field. Pete went 3-for-5 that game and drove in seven runs. He had two home runs and a doubles. One of his home runs was a grand slam. The sophomore catcher tops the club in homers (4) and RBIs (19) despite not playing the first month of the season. Guy has 16 hits on the year, 10 of those hits are extra bases.
Asheville is second in the Big South Conference in doubles with 65.
Senior outfield Phillip Treadway and junior first baseman Hunter Bryant are the only Bulldogs to start and play in all 37 games for Asheville.
Friday’s starter Joe Zayatz has a 3.77 ERA in Big South Conference games but is 0-2. In his last start at Campbell, he did not allow an unearned run as the Camels scored four unearned runs off him.
Senior infielder Robert McIntosh needs two hits to reach 200 for his career. He will become the 11th player in school history to reach 200 hits.
Bulldog left-handed reliever Nick Schavone is fourth in the Big South in appearances with 19.
Scott Robinson is fifth in the Big South in saves with five. He is 5-of-6 is save opportunities this year.
Second baseman Kyle Towles is tied for fifth in the Big South in doubles with 11.
Asheville will be in action five of the next six days with all of the games at Greenwood Field.