ASHEVILLE, N.C. - After a successful weekend in Charleston, the UNC Asheville baseball team returns home for the final week of the regular season with four home games. The Bulldogs host national power UNC Chapel Hill Tuesday night at McCormick Field starting at 6 p.m. Asheville will then entertain Big South rival Gardner-Webb in a three-game series at Greenwood Field starting Thursday at 3 p.m.
The Bulldogs (24-25) stunned Southern Conference power College of Charleston on its home field this weekend as the Dogs won the series with two wins in three games. Asheville won 4-2 on Friday and 8-4 Saturday before falling in the final 11-6 on Sunday.
"We played some great baseball this weekend," stated Bulldog coach Tom Smith. "There are a lot of teams that haven't won a series at College of Charleston this year. Our pitching was really solid the first two days, and we hit the ball pretty well all weekend. We're hoping to have another good week."
On Tuesday, the seventh-ranked Tar Heels (38-13) make their first ever visit to Asheville. UNC Head Coach Mike Fox was born in Asheville and his club clinched the ACC Coastal Division this past weekend with a sweep at Duke. The Tar Heels downed the Bulldogs 10-5 on April 11 in Chapel Hill.
"I really appreciate Coach Fox coming here to play us," declared Smith. "North Carolina is giving up a home game to play us on the road and that's classy of Coach Fox to do that. I know we've sold a lot of tickets. It should be great atmosphere tomorrow night.
"Our guys are really looking forward to playing them. North Carolina is a team that could win the national championship this season," added Smith. "However, we gave them a great game down there and only trailed 6-5 in the eighth inning. Hopefully, we can give another great battle tomorrow night."
Tickets are still available for the game and cost just $5. They can be purchased on-line at www.uncabulldogs.com or be purchased prior to the game starting at 4: 30 p.m. at McCormick Field. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. start. UNC Asheville head men's basketball coach Eddie Biedenbach, and recently hired head women's basketball coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick will throw out the first pitches.
Senior third baseman Cody Buch continues his torrid hitting. Buch has a hit in 11 of his last 12 games and is leading the Bulldogs in hitting with a .312 average. Senior shortstop Jordan Lurie is at .302 and tops the club in stolen bases with 12.
After the Tar Heel game, the Bulldogs will quickly turn their attention to a key regular-season ending series with Gardner-Webb. Asheville (24-25, 11-10 BSC) is in a three-way tie for fourth place in the BSC standings with Radford and Charleston Southern. The Runnin' Bulldogs are just a half-game behind at 10-11. The Big South Tournament is next week at High Point starting on May 22.
"We want to keep the momentum going into next week's tournament," commented Smith. "We think we've got a chance to make some noise if we keep playing well."
Asheville's 24 wins is the most by a Bulldogs team since the 2008 team went 24-35. One more win and it will be the most since the 2006 team won a school-record 28 contests.
Senior right-hander Ryan Dull leads the Big South in strikeouts with 77. Sophomore right-hander Dean Roland is second in innings pitched with 86.2
The Bulldogs have 11 victories against ACC clubs in their program's history. Asheville owns wins over Wake Forest (5), Maryland (2), Duke (2), Florida State (1) and N.C. State (1).
Asheville is 6-5 in one-run games and 5-3 in two-run contests.
The Bulldogs are 16-4 in games they hit a home run in.
Asheville is 23-12 when it scores three or more runs.
The Bulldogs are 3-2 in extra innings.
Asheville is 20-0 when leading after six innings and 18-0 after eight innings. The Bulldogs are 2-21 when trailing after six innings and 0-21 when trailing after eight innings.