ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville baseball team begins a busy week this evening when the Bulldogs travel to Cullowhee to take on Southern Conference leader Western Carolina starting at 5 p.m.
Tonight’s game is the first of five games over the next six days. Asheville starts a six-game homestand tomorrow when the Bulldogs host Wofford at Greenwood Field starting at 6 p.m.
Tom Smith’s club had a frustrating weekend at Big South leader Winthrop this weekend but the series ended on a positive note. The Bulldogs (9-18, 3-6 BSC) lost the first two games to the Eagles, 4-3 before making an incredible rally with six runs in the top of the ninth inning to edge Winthrop, 7-6 in Sunday’s finale.
In Saturday’s first game, the Dogs led 3-1 entering the bottom of the ninth. The Eagles tied the game with two runs and then won in 13 innings, 4-3. On Sunday, Asheville led 2-0 early before Winthrop posted four runs to take that game 4-3.
But in Sunday’ second game, the Bulldogs kept battling and it paid off. Sam Turner started the uprising with a one-out double. Phillip Treadway, Kyle Towles and Erik Connolly kept the game going with key hits. Freshman Joe Tietjen tied the game with a two-out, two-run single. Asheville scored the winning run on an error.
“We would have liked to have won the series at Winthrop, but we did find a way to win one game,” stated Smith. “The game we probably didn’t play as well as we could have is the game we won.
“We’re playing a little better, and we’ve played a lot of games on the road so it will be nice to be at home for a few games,” added Smith. “We’ve got a tough week ahead of us playing at Western Carolina and with Wofford and Coastal Carolina coming to town.”
Asheville entertains perennial Big South power Coastal Carolina on Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). The Chanticleers have gone to the NCAA Tournament the past seven years.
The Bulldogs face a red-hot Catamount team tonight that has a 16-9 record and owns non-conference victories over Mississippi State, Washington State and Clemson. WCU has won five straight entering tonight’s match-up.
Wofford is the surprise team in the SoCon this year with a 16-12 overall record. The Terriers are coached by former Bulldog player, assistant coach and assistant SID Todd Interdonato.
Senior outfielder Phillip Treadway leads the Bulldogs in hitting with a .308 average, followed by senior third baseman Robert McIntosh (.303). McIntosh has raised his batting average by more than 100 points over the past three weeks.
Seven of Asheville’s last nine games have been one-run affairs. The Bulldogs are 4-3 in those contests.
Phillip Tredway has reached base in 19 straight games.
Scott Robinson is fifth in the Big South in saves with four.
Kyle Towles is third in the Big South in doubles with 11.
Asheville is 6-4 in the last 10 games.
Robert McIntosh has a six-game hitting streak entering this week’s action. He is 16-of-29 (.552) at the plate in those games.
Asheville pitching has allowed just four earned runs in six of the last nine games.