March 19, 2004
Charleston, S.C. - WCU sophomore pitcher Caleb McConnell (Waynesville, N.C.) retired the final 18 batters he faced in pitching his first career shutout in his first start as a Catamount. However, Western (9-11, 0-4 SoCon) only managed four hits and Citadel (9-8, 3-1) right fielder Josh Stackley delivered a three-run home run in the third inning to lift the Bulldogs to a 4-0 victory Friday night at Riley Park.
The Citadel got on the board in the bottom of the first with single run. With one out and runners on first and second, Bulldog cleanup hitter Chip Cannon singled to drive in Andy Phillips. McConnell (0-1) got the next batter, Chris Ard, to ground into a double play to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Matt Covington had a leadoff single and Phillips followed with walk. Stackley cleared the bases with his blast to left-center field for his third home run of the season, making the score 4-0. After the home run, Cannon and Ard reached on a single and by being hit by a pitch, respectively. However, McConnell got a fly ball, struck out Jon Aughey looking and got a pop out to end the threat.
After getting those three straight outs in the bottom of the third, McConnell retired the next 15 batters he faced, including four strike outs.
While Western only managed four hits, two by Todd Roper, the Catamounts did threaten late in the game. In the eighth, after a one-out bunt single by Roper, Chris Davis drilled a ball to Bulldog third baseman Ard, who dove to his left on the line drive to retire Davis and doubled off Roper at first. In the ninth, Denver Edick had a leadoff single up the middle and Mike McGowan delivered a two-out single to center. However the two were left stranded to end the game.
The Citadel starter Jonathan Ellis improved to 2-2 in an excellent complete-game victory. He only allowed the four hits with two walks and nine strike outs. McConnell, who also had a solid pitching performance wasted last Sunday in a loss to College of Charleston, allowed seven hits over his 8.0 innings with two walks and four strike outs.
Western Carolina and The Citadel will play game two of its three-game series on Saturday at 2 pm.