ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville baseball team is at home this weekend when the Bulldogs host High Point in a Big South Conference series at Greenwood Field starting Friday at 3 p.m. Saturday’s game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s contest is at 1 p.m.
Friday and Saturday’s games are scheduled to be broadcast on www.uncabulldogs.com via video-streaming.
Asheville (13-26, 2-10 BSC) desperately needs some league wins to try move up in the conference standings. The Bulldogs are tied for fifth place in the South Division with Winthrop. Charleston Southern is in fourth place (15-22, 5-7 BSC). The top four teams in the North and South Divisions will qualify for next month’s Big South Conference championship in Lynchburg, Va.
“We’ve got our work cut for us to try and get into the tournament,” commented Bulldog coach Tom Smith.”We’ve build ourselves a pretty big hole but there’s still time to dig ourselves out of it. However, High Point will be a very tough opponent for us to beat this weekend. They’ve got a very good ballclub.”
The Panthers are 19-20 overall but have a 6-6 BSC worksheet. High Point has won four of its last five games and is coming off a three-game sweep at Radford last weekend. Ryan Retz leads the Panther attack with a .364 average.
After an eight game losing streak last month, the Bulldogs have begun to play a little better. After downing USC Upstate on Tuesday, 6-5, the Bulldogs are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Three of those losses have been by one run.
“We’re playing a little better right now but, we just seem to have an inning where we make a couple of errors and give our opponent a couple of runs,” stated Smith. “If we can eliminate that, we've got a chance to win some of those one-run games that we’ve been losing.”
Robert McIntosh leads Asheville in hitting with a .348 average. Ian Graham is right behind him at .341. Graham tops the club in home runs with four.
Freshman left-hander Lucas Clarke is scheduled to be on the mound for the Bulldogs on Friday. He has a 1-3 mark with a 4.72 ERA. Junior right-hander Dean Roland is slated to go Saturday (2-6, 4.80 ERA). Roland has two wins and a save in his last three appearances.
Tommy Houmard enters this weekend’s action on a 12-game hitting streak. He has reached base in 21 straight games. During his 12-game hitting streak, Houmard is hitting .440 (22-50) with three doubles, two triples, 15 RBIs and two home runs.
The Bulldogs are 5-1 against the Panthers in their last six regular-season games. Asheville won two-of-three against High Point two years ago at Greenwood Field before sweeping a three-game set at High Point last season. However, the Panthers earned revenge last year by downing the Dogs, 7-1 in the Big South Conference Tournament.
Asheville’s 5-4 victory over USC Upstate on Tuesday ended a four-game losing streak in one-run games this season. The Bulldogs are 4-5 in one-run games this season and 3-5 in two-run contests.
Asheville has at least 10 hits in nine of the last 10 games.
Bulldog pitching has not given up more than three earned runs in the last five games.
Todd Joyner leads Asheville in hitting in Big South Conference games with a .364 average.