CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern hopes to start building momentum for May this weekend when the Buccaneers host UNC Asheville in a three-game Big South Conference series at CSU Ballpark. Friday's first pitch is at 6 p.m.
ALUMNI TAILGATE - Charleston Southern invites all CSU Baseball Alumni, Buc Club members, and CSU Board of Directors to CSU Ballpark on Saturday for the Baseball Alumni Tailgate sponsored by Aramark. The hospitality tent along with lawn games and festivities begin at 3 p.m. with the first pitch of the Bucs and Asheville scheduled for 4 p.m. Please RSVP or register for this event in advance to get your tickets for $5. Or get tickets at the gate for $7.
After a win at Liberty last Saturday and a midweek throttling of Savannah State, the Buccaneers are hoping to start stringing together some wins. CSU (14-19, 2-7 Big South) has had recent success against Asheville (10-24, 2-7), going 11-3 against the Bulldogs over the last five seasons. CSU Head Coach Stuart Lake didn't downplay the significance of the series.
"This is a big weekend for us," Lake said after Wednesday's win at Savannah State. "We need to put together complete games like we did tonight and get on a roll in conference play. We've still go a long way to go in league play (15 games), but we need to start moving up."
A strong series at home would go a long way as well. The Bucs and Bulldogs are in last by a game in the Big South standings, but just three games separate CSU and fourth in conference play.
CSU has just six home games remaining and is on the road for its next 10 games. The Bucs don't play at CSU Ballpark again until Coastal Carolina in mid-May.
Lake hopes CSU has found its 1-2 punch in the weekend rotation and can get strong starts from both RHP Evan Raynor and LHP Daniel Johnson this weekend to give the Bucs their first series win in league play.
Johnson (4-3) is coming off the best outing of his career, holding Liberty to three hits and an unearned run in seven innings last Saturday. The Bucs came away with a 6-1 win, their first in Lynchburg in 15 games.
"He pitched really well up there," Lake said of Johnson. "Nobody works harder than Daniel. We gave him the option to travel with the team (on Wednesday) and he rode down and threw his bullpen at the game. He's a good teammate and a fierce competitor."
CSU vs. Asheville / Live Stats – Video
Friday, 6 p.m. – RHP Evan Raynor (4-3, 1.92 ERA) vs. LHP Jordan Fulbright (2-3, 6.19 ERA)
Saturday, 4 p.m. – LHP Daniel Johnson (4-3, 3.74 ERA) vs. LHP Jordan Carr (1-6. 5.48 ERA)
Sunday, 2 p.m. – RHP Evan Nations (0-4, 3.79 ERA) vs. TBA
EDWARDS ROLLING – Past the midway point of the season, senior OF Sly Edwards is quietly having a monster season. He leads the Big South with a .423 average and six triples. His on-base percentage is second in the league at .514 and he has reached base in all 33 games this season, a school record (since 2000, when stat became available).
SEASON-HIGH in Ks – Five CSU pitchers combined for a season-high 12 strikesouts (for 9 innings) in the Bucs' win over Savannah State on Wednesday night. Chayce Hubbard and Wil Hartsell both had three strikeouts in an inning of work. Hubbard struck out the side. Hartsell has been a nice boost to the Bucs bullpen, working 5.0 innings in three appearances. He has yet to allow an earned run.
ASHEVILLE AT-A-GLANCE – The Bulldogs return to Big South play after a week off. Asheville took a series from Presbyterian two weeks ago on the strength of a 22-9 win on Sunday after being swept by Liberty and High Point to open league play. The Bulldogs have won 5-of-9 including a 3-2 win over then-No. 11 North Carolina, 3-2, on April 6. CF Joe Tietjen leads the Bulldogs with a .358 average and seven HRs.