Buccaneers continue conference play at UNC Asheville this weekend

Buccaneers continue conference play at UNC Asheville this weekend

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern is back on the road this weekend as the Buccaneers continue the Big South slate at UNC Asheville this weekend. The Bucs will take on the Bulldogs in a three-game series at Greenwood Field starting on Friday night at 6 p.m. Saturday's game is set for 3 p.m., while Sunday's finale is set for 1 p.m.

All three contests will be streamed live via the Big South Network, while live stats will be available on the CSU Baseball schedule online. All three games will also have live updates via the CSU Game Day Twitter account: @CSUGameDay

CSU Baseball Notes at UNC Asheville*

Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday: RHP Nik Constantakos (2-1, 3.72 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Harris (3-2, 2.18 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Kyle Dyson (1-1, 5.33 ERA) vs. LHP Greg Gasparro (2-1, 3.21 ERA)
Sunday: TBD vs. LHP Spencer Orr (1-3, 3.43 ERA)

Leading Off

  • Charleston Southern snapped their Friday night losing streak this past weekend at Perry Field as the Buccaneers won their first contest on the final day of the work week at Campbell with the 12-6 win over Camels.
  • The Buccaneers enter the weekend tied for their longest losing streak of the 2017 season with CSU falling in each of their last three games. The streak ties the Bucs' streak on March 22-25 against South Carolina and Liberty, before CSU ended the stretch with an 11-4 win against Liberty in the series finale.
  • CSU's midweek contest against Winthrop was canceled due to inclement weather as the Bucs and Eagles were unable to close out the season-series. The Bucs took the lone non-conference matchup against their Big South foe back on March 15 with a 4-2 victory at the CSU Ballpark.
  • CSU is 3-6 in conference play in the 2017 season with the Bucs picking up wins in the series finale against both Longwood and Liberty, while topping Campbell in the series opener this past weekend.
  • The Bucs' Sunday loss to the Camels was CSU's first loss on a Sunday in the 2017 season. Prior to the 3-2 defeat, CSU had been 5-0 on Sundays in 2017.
  • CSU's pitching staff boasts the reigning Co-Big South Pitcher of the Week in LHP Daniel Johnson. Johnson paced Charleston Southern's pitching efforts on the week with 7.1 innings pitched in relief for the Bucs against both Savannah State and Campbell. Johnson allowed four hits on the week while striking out 15 in recording a 1-0 record against the Tigers and the Camels.
  • Freshman RHP Nik Constantakos recorded his third quality start of the 2017 season as the freshman right-hander continues to impress in his first collegiate season. The Jupiter, Fla. native is the lone pitcher on the staff with multiple quality starts in the season and with his six strikeouts on Friday night, recorded his fourth game with at least six strikeouts in 2017.
  • Johnson is currently fifth in the Big South in conference-only games with a 0.90 ERA, while leading the conference with 20 strikeouts on the season. Constantakos and Kyle Dyson are tied for sixth in the conference in Big South-only games with 15 strikeouts.
  • Keeping along the pitching trend, LHP Cody Maw leads the Big South with 20 strikeouts looking in the 2017 season. The CSU lefty recorded four KLs on Tuesday night against The Citadel to take the individual lead in the conference this season. Constantakos is sixth in the category with 13 overall on the year.

About the Bulldogs
UNC Asheville has posted a 12-16 overall record in the 2017 season with a 3-3 record in Big South Conference play. The Bulldogs have posted a 6-5 record at home, but a 5-10 record away from Greenwood Field. UNC Asheville was picked 10th in the Big South Conference preseason poll at the beginning of the season. Asheville enters the weekend on a two-game losing streak and the Bulldogs have dropped three of their past four contests after falling this past weekend at Richmond.

Recapping the 2016 season against UNC Asheville
UNC Asheville took the season series against the Buccaneers last season at the CSU Ballpark on April 15-17. The Bulldogs took the first two games of the series, 7-1 and 9-8, while CSU rallied back in the series finale on Sunday afternoon, 9-7. Evan Nations survived a five-run fifth to earn his first win of the season, and the Charleston Southern bullpen tossed four shutout innings to lead the Buccaneers to the 9-7 victory. Nations was backed by a 14-hit attack that was spearheaded by the top of the CSU order, with the quartet of Nate Blanchard, Brandon Burris, Sly Edwards and Chris Singleton combining to go 9-for-16 with five runs scored and eight RBI. 

Scouting Asheville
Joe Tietjen is the team batting leader with a .269 batting average with 28 hits, 22 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases. Brandon Lankford is the team leader with six home runs, eight doubles, and 23 RBI, while Danny Wilson has is a threat on the bases with nine steals on the season and has shown patience at the plate with 25 walks on the year. Spencer Orr has been the Bulldogs' leader on the rubber with a 33:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while Brandon Harris leads Asheville with a 3-2 record and a 2.18 ERA.

Against Common Opponents
UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern have faced off against two common opponents in the 2017 season with both the Bulldogs and the Buccaneers taking on USC Upstate and Winthrop. CSU is 2-1 against common opponents with their lone loss coming against the Spartans in Lexington, S.C. last week at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. Asheville is 1-3 against the Spartans and Eagles, picking up their win on March 18 against Winthrop, 4-3.

Recapping Tuesday Night
The Citadel took advantage of a pair of Charleston Southern errors in the top of the seventh and held off a late CSU rally as the Buccaneers fell to the visiting Bulldogs on Tuesday night at the CSU Ballpark, 8-6. Brandon Gragilla and Cole German both homered for the Bucs (14-13) as CSU was unable to pick up the win in the Lowcountry rivalry against the Bulldogs (10-19). Jason Miller, Gragilla, and Chris Singleton all finished the night with two hits apiece for the Bucs.

Striking Out the Side
Cody Smith struck out the side for the second game in the 2017 season as the junior reliever retired all three Bulldogs he faced in the top of the eighth inning on strikes. The first time he recorded the feat was back on March 22 against South Carolina when he retired three in a row in the eight against the Gamecocks. It was the sixth time the Bucs pitchers have struck out the side in the 2017 season.

Streaks to Watch

  • Brandon Gragilla currently has longest current hitting streak for CSU. The senior designated has hit safely in each of the last four games. CSU's longest streak of the season belongs to Jason Miller (9).
  • Gragilla also currently possesses the longest current on-base streak for CSU with four games in a row on the season. Jason Miller (16) has the longest on-base streak of the 2017 season.
  • Nate Blanchard (10) and Jason Miller (10) have the most multi-hit games of the season for CSU.
  • Brandon Gragilla (7) and Nate Blanchard (5) have the most multi-RBI games of the season for the Bucs.
  • Catcher Mike Sconzo, second baseman Nate Blanchard, and centerfielder Chris Singleton are the lone Bucs to start all 27 games at their respective positions in the 2017 season.

Big South Leaders

  • Jason Miller is fifth in the Big South with 35 hits on the seaosn
  • Brandon Gragilla is tied for third in the Big South with nine doubles
  • Chris Singleton is eighth in the Big South in stolen bases with 10
  • Mike Sconzo (0.37) is one of the toughest batters in the conference to strike out, trailing only Gardner-Webb's Corey Howard (0.31) on the season
  • Cody Maw is tied for fifth in the conference in overall strikeouts with 39. He leads the Big South in batters struck out looking with 16
  • Cody Smith leads the Big South in saves (6) and games finished (11)
  • As a pitching staff, CSU is third in the conference with 240 strikeouts
  • The Bucs lead the Big South in batters struck out looking with 71
  • In conference play, Daniel Johnson is the Big South strikeout leader with 20 on the season

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