Fieldhouse Baseball Report, 05.19.2019

Nick Kennedy
Lefty Nick Kennedy was promoted to the Lancaster JetHawks this month (photo – Tony Farlow/Four Seam Images)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 19, 2019)  Tourists Baseball – Nick Kennedy, an Asheville early-season success story, was promoted on May 4 to the Advanced-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, the California League’s Lancaster JetHawksKennedy is methodically climbing the Rockies’ ladder after getting drafted in 2017 in the fifth-round out of the University of Texas

Following the draft, he was assigned to the Boise Hawks, where the Tampa, Florida native finished the year before being promoted to Asheville to open 2018. Last year was a long one for the lefty, as he posted a 4-13 mark, primarily as a starter, and a 7.08 ERA. He returned to the Tourists this year and made 12 appearances out of the pen, turning in a 3-0 mark and a 2.08 ERA, with 25 strikeouts in 17.1 innings of work. He also held opposing hitters to a .188 average, earning the notice of the parent club and the promotion to Lancaster.

The Tourists (15-26) are currently on the road facing the Lexington Legends (20-21) in Kentucky. After dropping the series opener in extras on Friday, the Asheville nine bounced back for 9-5 road victory on Saturday. Two games remain in the four-game set with the Legends. 

UNCA Bulldogs Baseball
UNCA faces High Point in the Big South tournament’s opening round (photo – T. Flynn)

College Baseball The Western Carolina Catamounts and UNCA Bulldogs both finished their regular season schedules this weekend and will head to their conference tournaments this week. 

UNC Asheville took on Gardner-Webb (25-24) to close out their season and opened with a win on Thursday before dropping the next two. Senior lefty Austin Fahr earned the game one victory as he yielded just one earned run and three hits, while striking out six.

UNCA (16-35, 9-18) will face sixth-seeded High Point (23-25, 14-13) on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. at Segra Stadium in Fayetteville. It’s one of two single-elimination round games in the Big South tournament.

WCU Baseball Southern Conference
The Catamounts open the SoCon tournament play on Tuesday (photo – WCU Athletics)

The Catamounts took on the Southern Conference’s Citadel in a three-game set that began on Thursday with a 4-3 victory over the Bulldogs. They dropped the next two games, and will now face the Citadel (12-42, 5-19) again on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. at Greenville’s Fluor Field. It is a single-elimination play-in game, with the winner moving into the tournament’s double-elimination round the following day.  

The weekend was a lost opportunity for WCU (20-30, 8-16). Had the Catamounts swept, they would have bypassed the play-in and moved ahead of the VMI Keydets (17-39, 9-15) to grab the #7 seed in the tourney, and a spot in the double-elimination field.   

The area’s three other college baseball teams have completed their 2019 season with the following marks: Brevard (10-26, 2-21), Montreat (25-28, 8-19), Mars Hill (19-26, 5-18).

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Fieldhouse Report, 05.14.2019

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The Tourists defeated Greenville 2-0 on Monday night (Photo – T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 14, 2019) Tourists Baseball – Seven weeks into their South Atlantic League season, the Tourists found themselves 14-22 and 5.5 games off the pace from the Southern Division-leading Charleston RiverDogs (20-17).  Asheville has struggled with consistency at times this season with two six-game losing streaks pinning them under .500 to date. They’ve now won three out of the last four after defeating the Greenville Drive (14-22) on Monday night at McCormick Field by a 2-0 score. 

Alexander Martinez earned his eighth save of the year for Asheville on Monday, tops in the South Atlantic League. Returner Nick Kennedy has also proven effective in relief for Asheville, with a 3-0 mark, 25 strikeouts, and a 2.08 ERA while not yielding a home run in the friendly confines of McCormick Field or on the road this season. The Tourists travel to face the Rome Braves tonight. Rome is two games up on Asheville in the Southern Division with a 16-20 mark.

Asheville City Combo
Both Asheville City teams return to Memorial Stadium this week (photo – T. Flynn)

Asheville City – After the Asheville City women’s side earned a 2-2 draw on Friday, the men followed suit with the same outcome against Greenville FC on Saturday. It was the first leg of the 2019 Carolina Clasico between the two men’s sides, leaving the deciding game to Saturday, June 8 at Memorial Stadium. See the team’s site for recaps from both matches.

Asheville City’s men’s team gets underway again at Memorial on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. against the SC United Bantams, while the women are scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. friendly on Saturday.   

Asheville School Lacrosse 2019
Asheville School faces SouthLake Christian tonight in an NCISAA playoff game (photo – Asheville School)

Local Preps – After an extended weather delay stalled the start of their game against Davidson Day, Asheville School’s boys’ lacrosse team used eight second-half goals to earn an 11-5 victory and advance into the second round of the NCISAA playoffs. The Blues scored seven unanswered goals in the third quarter and will travel to face Huntersville’s Southlake Christian Academy (10-4) in the NCISAA DII semi-finals. The face-off is set for 7:00 p.m. tonight.

The Blues girls’ team captured an opening round victory over Davidson Day on May 7 but dropped their second-round game to top-seeded Charlotte Latin (12-4) on Friday. Asheville School concluded its season with an 8-3 record on the year after going 5-5 last season.

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Fieldhouse Baseball Report, 05.06.2019

Western Carolina Baseball Southern Conference Baseball
Matthew Koehler is third among Southern Conference hitters (photo – WCU Athletics)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 6, 2019)College Baseball – After a long weekend in Atlanta facing #8 Georgia Tech, the WCU Catamounts travel to face SoCon-leading Samford (34-14, 14-4) this upcoming week.

Following that, they play a single game against Eastern Kentucky (26-22) before hosting Citadel (10-36, 3-15 SoCon) on May 16-18 to close out their 2019 regular season schedule. The Southern Conference tournament begins on May 21 with a play-in game between the eight and nine teams in the conference.

The Catamounts (18-25, 7-11) have more than doubled up their 2018 regular-season win total (7) and will try to close the gap on 2017 when they went an even 28-28 on the year. This year’s team has two of the league’s top three hitters in its lineup – Justice Bigbie (.381-11-47) and Matthew Koehler (.371-12-43). The team also has wins over Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State on its 2019 resume.

Furman currently sits at 20-27 overall and in fifth place with a 9-9 record within the SoCon. The Paladins took two-of-three against VMI (8-13, 14-45) this past weekend and are led at the plate by Jabari Richards’ .347 average.

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UNCA returns to Greenwood Field on Friday (photo – T. Flynn)

The UNCA Bulldogs (14-30, 8-13 Big South) are on a 10-day hiatus after dropping a 10-8 decision to ETSU on April 30 at Greenwood Field. The team returns to face the Big South’s Radford (23-24, 14-7) this upcoming weekend beginning with a 6:00 p.m. start on Friday.

Nine of its ten teams qualify for the Big South conference tournament beginning on May 21. The six through nine seeds play a pair of single-elimination games to gain entry into the double-elimination round of the tournament. Right now, the Bulldogs are in seventh place, a half-game behind USC Upstate and a full game behind Gardner-Webb in fifth place. The Bulldogs’ Greg Gasparro is hitting at a .325 clip, good for ninth place in the circuit and best on the team.

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Photos: Tourists Vs. Suns

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Willie MacIver (center) had the game-winner for Asheville on Tues. (photo – T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 1, 2019) – The Tourists walked off the field on Tuesday night with a 5-4 win against the visiting Hagerstown Suns. The game was tied heading into the bottom of the ninth when Grant Lavigne opened the frame with a double to right field. Lavigne narrowly avoided the tag at second and set the stage for Willie MacIver‘s drive to deep left-center that ended the game and sent the Tourists (9-15) onto the field in celebration.

Picking up the win in relief for the Tourists was lefty Nick Kennedy. Kennedy is a returner for the Tourists this season and struck out two in one inning of relief work and moved to 3-0 on the season for Asheville. Started Alfredo Garcia (below) struck out eight Sun batters in just 4.2 innings but was also hit hard, allowing nine hits and three earned runs.

Asheville Pitching

Right fielder Luke Morgan made his McCormick Field debut an auspicious one when he went 2-4 with two stolen bases for the Tourists. Third baseman Danny Edgeworth made his first appearance in an Asheville uniform after two seasons with the short-season Boise Hawks. The Nashville native singled to center and drove in a run in four plate appearances. The Tourists hosts the Suns (10-15) tonight at 7:05 p.m. in the second game of the three-game series.

Asheville Tourists Baseball.jpgAsheville Tourists Hagerstown Suns.jpgAsheville Tourists Baseball MacIver.jpgMr Moon Asheville Tourists

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Fieldhouse Report, 04.29.2019

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 22 Northern Illinois at Florida State
FSU defensive end Brian Burns (99) was the top overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. (photo – Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 29, 2019) – National – The Carolina Panthers made Florida State’s Brian Burns their #1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft last week. Prior to the draft, I contributed a preview article to Forbes on how it might play out for Carolina.

Tourists Baseball The Asheville Tourists snapped a seven-game skid with an 8-2 victory on Sunday against the West Virginia Power (15-7). Right-hander Shelby Lackey (1-2) proved the stopper when he allowed just one hit in five innings of work while striking out five. The Tourists are now 8-15 on the year and will host Hagerstown (10-14) tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. at McCormick Field.

Asheville City Soccer  The Blues’ men’s and women’s sides each came away with a win in their opening weekend at Memorial Stadium. The women led off with a 2-1 victory over the sixth-year Columbus Eagles FC on Friday night. The Blues return to play on Friday, May 10 to host the Chattanooga Red Wolves at 7:00 p.m.

Two players from last year’s inaugural squad, Caroline and Emma Hauser, began play professionally this season in Sweden. 

On the men’s side, the Blues defeated the Johnson City’s Tri-City Otters by the same 2-1 score in their 2019 season opener on Saturday night. Their next game is scheduled for May 7 when they host Inter Nashville F.C. in their first NPSL match of the year.

Brevard Lacrosse
Brevard attackman Jackson McKaig was the region’s top goal scorer in 2019 (photo – BC Athletics)

College Lacrosse – The men’s lacrosse spring calendar is complete for area teams, with Brevard (6-7, 3-4), Furman (4-10, 2-5), Lees-McRae (4-10, 0-7), Montreat (4-11, 3-2) and Mars Hill (3-12, 0-8) all finishing their 2019 schedule in late April. Brevard College senior Jackson McKaig registered 52 goals to lead all area scorers this spring and was rewarded with a spot on the USA-South‘s first-team All-Conference squad along with teammate Robert Kokal.  

Asheville School Baseball
The Blues’ Oliver Lewis lines a double on Saturday (photo – T. Flynn)

Local Preps  – On Saturday, Asheville School fell to the visiting Anderson Cavaliers on the diamond and are now 3-8 on the season, and 1-4 in NCISAA conference play. The Blues travel to face area rival Carolina Day (4-10, 0-4) on Tuesday. The squad is led by head coach Gus Schill, who also leads the Blues on the gridiron each fall. 

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Asheville School captured a 15-2 victory over Science Hill (Tenn.) this weekend (photo – T. Flynn)

On the lacrosse field, the Blues boys’ team moved to 8-3 on the year after defeating Johnson City’s Science Hill. In local play this season to date, Asheville School dropped an 18-3 decision to Arden’s nationally-ranked Christ School (16-2) earlier this month, and has two wins over first-year program T.C. Roberson (5-9) and a victory over Asheville Empire‘s club team.

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Fieldhouse Baseball Report, 04.24.2019

Will Golsan
The Tourists’ Will Golsan (photos – Tony Farlow/Four Seam Images)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 24, 2019) Asheville is 7-11 on the young season after dropping a Tuesday night decision on the road to the Delmarva Shorebirds. The Shorebirds (14-2) and Tourists were locked in a scoreless tie through six before Delmarva broke through with four in the seventh and three more in the eighth for the win. Shelby Lackey got the start for Asheville and was effective, allowing just two hits and striking out seven in five complete innings of work. Righty Eric Hepple (0-1) was tagged with the loss after yielding two runs in 1.1 innings of relief work. Lefty Zach Matson picked up the win in relief for Delmarva. 

Left fielder Will Golsan is tied for the team lead in home runs to date with four in 67 at-bats. He also leads the team in RBIs with 16. Last year, he hit just three in 63 games for the Rockies’ rookie-league affiliate, Grand Junction (Colo.). He’s a native of Columbus, Mississippi and played his college baseball for Ole Miss, before getting drafted in the 26th round last year. Willie MaclverCatcher Will MacIver (left) also has four for the Tourists. MacIver played for the Rockies’ short-season Boise Hawks last year and had five home runs in 54 games. He was drafted in the ninth-round out of Washington last June following a junior season with the Huskies that saw him play both catcher and infield and hit three round-trippers in 170 total plate appearances.

The Tourists return to the field tonight to try to salvage the final game of the three-game series with the Shorebirds with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.  Their next home date is on Tuesday, April 30 against the Hagerstown Suns (9-9), the Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

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UNCA’s Jake Madole gets the bat head out in front last week against Winthrop (photo UNCA Athletics)

College Baseball Following a Tuesday night loss to Wofford, the UNC Asheville Bulldogs continued their annual tradition of shaving their heads to raise cancer awareness. It was the seventh-straight year for the team’s annual “Vs. Cancer” game. 

The Bulldogs return to the diamond tonight in Cullowhee to face the SoCon’s Western Carolina (17-18, 6-9). The Bulldogs (13-26, 8-10 Big South) dropped a decision earlier this year to the Catamounts at Greenwood Field. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.

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Photos: UNCA Vs. Furman

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UNCA hosted Furman on Tuesday evening (photos T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 17, 2019) The UNCA Bulldogs hosted the Furman Paladins on Tuesday evening at Greenwood Field. The Paladins put up one run in the third and two more in the fifth, good enough to earn the 3-2 victory. Furman’s Nik Verbeke (2-4) earned the win in relief for the visiting Paladins (13-23). Verbeke pitched two scoreless innings and limited the Bulldogs to one baserunner. UNCA’s Danny Wilson (0-4) pitched 4.1 innings and was tagged with the loss.

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Dax Roper, Anthony Fontana, and Bret Huebner each had two hits for Furman. Roper and Huebner laced doubles, while the Paladins’ #6 hitter, Sterling Turmon, had a home run for the guests. Carmine Pagano and Jacob Edwards had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs.

UNCA travels to face Charleston Southern (14-26) to begin a three-game set on Thursday, while Furman will travel to Cullowhee to face the SoCon’s Western Carolina (16-16) on the same day.

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Fieldhouse Report, 04.16.2019

NFL: JAN 20 AFC Championship Game - Patriots at Chiefs
The Panthers signed wide receiver Chris Hogan (Photo – Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 16, 2019) – National – The Carolina Panthers signed wide receiver Chris Hogan on Friday, their biggest free agent addition in recent weeks as the 2019 NFL Draft approached in late April. Here’s an article I contributed to Forbes on Hogan, as well as several other recent roster moves by the team.  

Asheville Baseball
Jake Madole advances toward third in Friday’s win over Winthrop (Photo – UNCA Athletics)

College Baseball – The UNCA Bulldogs opened their Big South weekend series with a 12-2 victory over the Winthrop Eagles (20-15, 10-5 Big South) on Friday. Lefty Jordan Carr captured his third win of the season when he threw 5.2 innings, striking out five and allowing two earned runs. Blake Brown picked up his first save in relief for the Bulldogs. Third baseman Brandon Lankford had a home run and two RBIs for UNCA.

The Eagles came back to take a doubleheader on Saturday and capture the series win. As a result, the Bulldogs dropped to 12-22 overall and 7-8 in the conference. They host Furman (12-23, 5-7 SoCon) tonight at 6:00 p.m. at Greenwood Field.

Brevard College Tornados Samantha Sepe
Brevard’s Samantha Sepe (Photo – BC Athletics)

College Tennis –  Brevard College’s Samantha Sepe ran her current match winning streak to 11-straight and for the effort was named the USA South Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Week.

The Niceville, Florida junior went 2-0 at both doubles and singles in matches against LaGrange (Ga.) and Huntingdon (AL). As previously reported, Sepe strung together a 96-game consecutive win streak in recent weeks. The Tornados are 12-5 on the season and in third place in the USA South’s West Division. Brevard hosts Piedmont today at 3:00 p.m.

Brevard College Lacrosse
Brevard’s Hewitt Farr (Photo – BC Athletics)

College LacrosseSenior attackman Hewitt Farr earned the USA South’s Men’s Lacrosse Player of the Week honors for his work last week. Farr had five goals and four assists in an 18-5 win over Averett (Va.). He added two groundballs and two caused turnovers. On the season, Farr has 48 goals and 19 assists and opened the year with an eight-goal outing against the only area rival Brevard faced this season, Montreat.

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Fieldhouse Report, 04.08.2019

Brevard College Tennis Samantha Sepe
Brevard College’s Samantha Sepe (photo – BC Athletics/Don Lander)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 8, 2019) – College Tennis – It’s been a banner season for tennis at Brevard College, where junior Samantha Sepe won 96 consecutive games and nine-straight matches at first singles in recent weeks. She recently dropped a single game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Covenant College to snap the consecutive-games streak but kept the match streak alive. The Tornados are 5-0 in USA South play and 11-4 overall. 

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Brevard’s Tom Mittring (photo – BC Athletics/Dick Purselle)

On the men’s side, senior Tom Mittring of Germany extended his singles winning streak to 23 straight matches on Saturday. He’s 13-0 within the USA South. At second singles, fellow countryman Tim Hengst owns an 11-match win streak. The two team up at first doubles for Brevard and are 10-2 on the season. 

Tourists Baseball – The Asheville Tourists went 2-2 in their opening series with the Augusta GreenJackets this past week. The Tourists dropped a 9-5 opening day South Atlantic League decision at McCormick Field last Thursday, but bounced back to take the next two games from Augusta. They were washed out tonight in Charleston (3-1) and will play a twin bill on Tuesday and a single game on Wednesday against the RiverDogs to get in the three-game set.

Third baseman John Cresto leads the team in hitting on the young season, with a .417 average in 12 at-bats. Cresto spent 2018 at Grand Junction where he hit .257 in 59 games. He is a native of Encinitas, California and played baseball for Santa Clara University as an undergraduate before turning pro following his junior year.

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Tourists Open 2019 Tonight at McCormick

Asheville Tourists 2019
The Tourists’ McCormick Field (photo – T. Flynn)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (April 4, 2019) – The Asheville Tourists begin their 2019 season tonight when they host the Augusta GreenJackets at 7:05 p.m. at McCormick Field. The Tourists played their first season at the historic park in 1924.

Ryan Feltner is scheduled to get the start on the hill tonight for the Tourists. The 6’4″, 210 lb. right-hander pitched as an undergraduate for Ohio State and was a fourth-round pick of the Colorado Rockies (Asheville’s parent team) in 2018. He started nine games without registering a decision last year at their Grand Junction, Colorado affiliate.

Robinson Cancel returns for his second season as skipper for Asheville after taking the helm for the Tourists to start 2018.

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