BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The Gardner-Webb baseball team will host Appalachian State in a key non-conference three game series this weekend.
Gardner-Webb enters the weekend with a record of 2-3, coming off a four-game series with Canisius and a mid-week contest at North Carolina. The Mountaineers currently sit at 1-3 on the year, competing this past weekend in the Hughes Bros. Challenge at UNC Wilmington, earning a 3-1 win against VMI on Saturday afternoon.
There are several ties between the two programs, as Gardner-Webb head coach Rusty Stroupe played at Appalachian State from 1983-86, leading the team to two NCAA regional appearances, and was also an assistant coach for the Mountaineers in 1990.
Stroupe and current App State head coach Kermit Smith were also both head coaches at Lander University prior to their current positions. Stroupe was the head coach of the NCAA Division II Bearcats from 1997 to 2002 and Smith was in charge of the program from 2009 to 2016. Smith sits at the top of the program's all-time wins list, followed by Stroupe.
"This weekend will be a tremendous challenge for our team," stated Stroupe. "Coach Smith has brought excitement to a traditionally powerful program and we are excited about hosting them here in Boiling Springs. We know there we will be a large number of Appalachian State fans in attendance and we hope our fans will respond and come out and support us as well. It promises to be an exciting weekend and I'm hoping our team responds well and is up to the challenge."
The Runnin' Bulldogs have shown flashes of offensive power at the plate early in 2017, as the team has hit a total of ten home runs in five games, a total that didn't take place in 2016 until the 19th game of the season at Western Carolina on March 16th. Senior Collin Thacker leads the team with a .368 batting average, while sophomore Mason Fox and junior Mickey Dugan each have three home runs.
Junior Bradley Hallman, the current Big South Conference Pitcher of the Week shined in his season-debut this past Sunday and is scheduled to take the mound for the Diamond 'Dogs this Sunday. Projected starters Wil Sellers and Zach Mosay were effective in their starts this past weekend as well.
Appalachian State is currently led by Calev Grubbs at the plate, posting an average of .308 with one extra base hit. Tyler Stroup has the team's lone home run on the young season.
Projected starters on the mound for the Mountaineers are Travis Holden, Colin Schmid, and Luke Watts.
The first game of the series is set to take place on Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm. The series will continue with games Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Friday and Saturday's games will be broadcast live on the Big South Network (www.bigsouthsports.com)
Friday, Feb. 24th – 4:00 pm: Travis Holden (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. Wil Sellers (0-0, 3.60 ERA)
Saturday, Feb. 25th – 2:00 pm: Colin Schmid (0-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Zach Mosay (1-0, 6.75 ERA)
Sunday, Feb. 26th – 2:00 pm: Luke Watts (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Bradley Hallman (1-0, 0.00 ERA)