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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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.

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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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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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Fieldhouse Report, 01.19.2019

unc asheville bulldogs unca basketball
Senior Jessica Wall is introduced prior to a game against Warren Wilson earlier this season (photo – UNCA Athletics)

ASHEVILLE, NC. (January 19, 2019) – Women’s College Basketball – On Tuesday night, the UNCA women’s basketball team defeated USC Upstate in overtime, 93-86. The win moves the team to 7-9 overall and 2-3 in the Big South. Sonora Dengokl led the Bulldogs with 36 points.

The Bulldogs return today at 2:00 p.m. to host conference rival High Point (10-5, 3-1) at Kimmel Arena.

Records of the area’s NCAA Division I teams include: Furman (10-8, 2-1 Southern), UNC Asheville (7-9, 2-3 Big South), Western Carolina (3-14, 0-3 Southern)

College Baseball –  The sixth-annual “Baseball Night in Asheville” was hosted by UNCA before a sold-out crowd at the event room at Asheville’s Highland Brewing on Friday. MLB pitcher Oliver Drake of the Tampa Bay Rays was the guest speaker for the evening.

Current Bulldogs’ head coach Scott Friedholm coached Drake at the Naval Academy before the right-hander was drafted in the 2008 amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles. Friedholm was the pitching coach for the Midshipmen at the time and also guided Mitch Harris, who made it to the bigs in 2015 for the St. Louis Cardinals.

At the event, the 2019 UNCA Bulldogs team was officially announced and an auction held to raise funds for the team for equipment and travel, among other expenses. The MC for the evening was the Asheville Tourists’ director of broadcast and media relations, Doug Maurer.

The Bulldogs open their 2019 campaign with a three-game series against the College of Charleston on February 15 – 17 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Their home-opening series is against UMBC on Feb 22 – 24.    

(Video – courtesy of UNC Athletics)

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Tourists Finale: Golden is MVP and Fischer Top Female Exec

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Casey Golden was the 2018 South Atlantic League MVP (photo – T. Flynn)

Asheville, NC (September 6, 2018) – The Asheville Tourists started the 2018 season sluggishly but finished it on a high note in the South Atlantic League. After opening the year at 3-13, the Tourists concluded the first half of the season with a 27-42 record. They then went 37-31 in the second half to finish 64-73 overall and closed the year with a 5-4 victory over the Rome Braves on Labor Day.

Among many individual accolades, Asheville’s Casey Golden earned South Atlantic League MVP honors after topping the circuit in home runs (34), RBIs (95), runs scored (92), extra-base hits (60), and total bases (259). Golden played his undergraduate baseball at UNC Wilmington and is a Greensboro, North Carolina native.

Chad Spanberger finished as the 2018 league batting champion with a .315 clip. 

On the hill, Garrett Schilling posted a team-high eight wins. He also led the team in innings pitched (144.1) and strikeouts (135). Furman product Will Gaddis added an area rooting interest to the staff and finished the year with an even 6-6 overall mark. He lowered his ERA from 5.68 at Grand Junction in 2017 to 5.04 at McCormick Field, both notorious hitter’s parks.

“This season was memorable in so many ways. The team competed all year long,” said Doug Maurer, director of broadcast and media relations for the Tourists. “We are grateful to the players and the fans for making 2018 a year for the history books.”

In closing the season, the South Atlantic League announced that Tourists’ exec Samantha Fisher is its 2018 Female Executive of the Year. The Coastal Carolina graduate is in her fourth year with the team. She was recognized for numerous efforts within the organization including managing more than 50 part-time employees, overseeing social media marketing, website content, and in-game promotions. She also organizes the team’s multiple community outreach programs.     
      
“I am honored to receive this award and to represent the Asheville Tourists,” said Fischer. “The Tourists have always afforded me the opportunities to succeed and trusted in my ability as a person to get the job done.”

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The Tourists concluded their 2018 season with a Labor Day victory at McCormick Field over Rome.

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Asheville Sweeps Lexington on Saturday

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (June 9, 2018) – The broom jutting out from the Asheville press box on Saturday night summarized the day’s results as the Tourists swept the Lexington Legends in a South Atlantic League (SAL) doubleheader. 

In the first game, lefty Lucas Gilbreath earned the win as the Tourists downed the Legends, 7-1. Gilbreath is now 4-3 on the year. Second baseman Bret Boswell went 3-for-4 with a double, home run, and RBI while batting lead off for Asheville. 

In the nightcap, the Tourists earned a 5-3 victory as Braxton Lorenzini picked up his second win in relief this season. The right hander out of California’s West Hills College was perfect, allowing no hits and fanning three in two innings of work.

Chad Spanberger, last week’s SAL player of the week, had two RBIs and hit a solo home run to lead off the sixth inning. It was Spanberger’s 15th long ball of the season, best on Asheville this season. He is second overall in the league.

Robert Tyler earned the save, his third of the season, and hit 98 on the radar gun late in the evening against Lexington (32-29).

The two teams close out the condensed five-game series on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. at McCormick Field. With Saturday’s doubleheader sweep, the Tourists have taken three straight from Lexington, and three of the first four games in the series. (photos – Tom Flynn)

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