Asheville (15-30, 7-14 BSC) hopes to break a nine-game losing streak this weekend. The Bulldogs had a superb effort at #9 North Carolina Tuesday night. Two home runs from Patrick Koontz gave Asheville a 2-1 lead before the Tar Heels scored the final three runs of the game to raise their record to 39-10.
"We did a nice job competing against North Carolina, and we were a hit away from winning the game," stated second-year coach Tom Smith. "However, we're not happy that we gave them a good game but disappointed that we didn't find a way to win the game."
Asheville faces a VMI team that was a real nemesis for the Bulldogs in 2010. The Keydets swept a three-game series from Asheville. In each game, the Bulldogs led late before VMI rallied to pick up victories. The teams then met in the BSC Tournament with Asheville leading early 2-0 before the Keydets came back and won, 7-4.
VMI is 22-22-1 on the season and has a 9-12 record in league play. They were off for exams for two weeks before downing Longwood, 12-5 Wednesday night.
"We lost some close games to VMI last year, and they ended our season," explained Smith. "VMI has another good team this season that still finds ways to win close games. This is a crucial series for both teams this weekend. We need to be ready to play well from the start."
Asheville is tied for eighth place in the league standings with High Point as each club is 7-14 in BSC play. The top eight teams go to the Big South Tournament and right now the Bulldogs have a the tie-breaker with the Panthers as Asheville won the series from them last month. This year's tournament will be held at VMI from May 24 through May 28.
"We'd sure like to go back to VMI for the conference tournament in a few weeks, but we've got work to do before we can think about doing that," declared Smith.
UNC Asheville has never won a BSC series at VMI losing 2-1 in 2005, 2007 and 2009. The Bulldogs have not won a series against the Keydets since the 2006 season when Asheville swept a three-game series at McCormick Field. VMI is 10-3 vs. the Bulldogs since the 2006 season.
Jordan Lurie leads Asheville with a .346 batting average. He tops the club in hits (65) and total bases (80).
Jordan Lurie and Danny Baatz top the club with 13 stolen bases each. The duo has combined to steal 26 bases in 29 attempts.
The Bulldogs are 5-5 in one-run games this season. Asheville is 7-23 on the road this year.
The Bulldogs own two wins over a ranked opponent this season as Asheville downed #29 Coastal Carolina back in March twice. The Dogs slipped past the Chanticleers, 3-2 and 7-6 in 12 innings. The win snapped a 36-game winning streak by Coastal Carolina in league play.
Asheville has lost three BSC games where it led in the ninth inning. Two of those contests had the Bulldogs leading by two runs entering the ninth. Asheville is three innings away from being 10-11 in league play and a chance to finish in the top four in the conference standings.
The Bulldogs have played 30 of their 45 games on the road this year.