ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville baseball team will finally get a chance to open the 2014 season Wednesday afternoon when the Bulldogs travel to UNC Greensboro for a 3 p.m. start.
Asheville was scheduled to open the season at home this past weekend against Delaware State but that three-game set got washed out due to snow.
The Bulldogs look to be much improved in 2014. Asheville returns most of last year’s club that struggled through a frustrating 16-35 record. Six position starters and 23 lettermen will be in Greensboro on Wednesday.
Head Coach Tom Smith believes this year’s team could be much improved.
“We’ve got a good group of seniors and have brought in some talented recruits and have a chance to do some positive things this year,” declared Smith. “I thought we accomplished a great deal during the fall season and we really have some depth that we haven’t had in the past few years.
“We need to be consistent and get better with each game,” added Smith. “Our guys are ready to have a good season.”
Asheville returns a solid group of experienced pitchers to this year’s club. Heading the list of returnees is senior right-hander Dean Roland. He’s been a mainstay for the Bulldogs the past two years on the mound as a weekend starter. Roland suffered through a hard-luck 2013 season as he went 2-7 but produced 61 strikeouts in a team-leading 90.1 innings. Roland is scheduled to be the starter on Wednesday.
Senior third baseman Robert McIntosh heads the lists of position players back. McIntosh has a career batting average of .328 and will be counted on heavily this year. Shortstop Tommy Houmard was Asheville’s leading hitter last season with a .321 average and should be poised for even higher numbers this year.
UNCG edged the Bulldogs last year in Greensboro, 10-9.
Asheville is on the road this weekend at Western Kentucky for a three-game series. The Hilltoppers are coached by former Bulldog head coach Matt Myers. He was Asheville’s head coach from 2001-2004 season and was named Big South Conference Coach of the Year in 2003.
The Bulldogs home opener will be on Friday, Feb. 28th against Eastern Kentucky at Greenwood Field starting at 3 p.m.