May 1, 2004
Elon, N.C. - 8-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Elon sent 14 men to the plate and scored nine runs, thanks to a two-run home run and a grand slam, en route to an 11-8 come-from-behind win over Western Carolina on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Latham Park. Elon improves to 22-24 overall and 12-11 in the Southern Conference, while the Cats fall to 19-25, 8-15.
In the home half of the seventh, the Phoenix sent 14 men to the plate and took a 10-8 lead scoring nine runs on seven hits. Evan Erickson had a leadoff double and scored one batter later on a two-run home run by Matt Stocco. Chris Norwood then singled and scored on an RBI triple by Gary Morris. Evan Tartaglia drove in Morris with a ground out to second base, making the score 8-5 and chasing WCU starting pitcher Brad Josey. WCU relief pitcher Jeremy Ellenburg came in and allowed a single and a walk to give way to Brian McCullen on the mound. After loading the bases, thanks to a walk to Chris Price, Tyler Stevens blooped a single to score Grant Rembert. With the bases still loaded, Erickson, who started the inning with a double, cleared the bases with a grand slam home run, making the score 10-8.
Western got on the board first, scoring four runs on two hits in the top of the second. Jared Greenwood and Denver Edick started the frame with consecutive walks. Mike McGowan followed with an RBI single down the left field line, scoring Greenwood. After a sacrifice bunt and a fielder's choice out, Western would load the bases then Todd Roper was hit by a pitch. Wayne Kilmer followed with a single to center and advanced to third on a fielding error by the center fielder. On the play, Kilmer would get credit for two RBI when McGowan and Brandon Zollman scored on the single with Roper scoring on the error.
In the bottom of the third, Elon made the score 4-1. Designated hitter Kevin Pratt reached on a single up the middle and moved to second on a ground out. Pratt, who had an injury, left in favor of pinch runner Ernie Roselle, who moved to third on a ground out. Rembert followed with an RBI double down the left field line.
The Cats padded their advantage with two runs in the fifth, making the score 6-1. Chris Davis had a leadoff home run, his eighth blast of the season. After an out, Greenwood walked and moved second on a single by Denver Edick. Two batters later, Dustin Penland found a hole between third base and shortstop to deliver an RBI single, scoring Greenwood.
Davis struck again for Western in the top of the sixth, putting WCU up 7-1. After Roper reached on an infield single, he moved to second on a sac bunt by Kilmer. Davis followed with a sharp single to center, plating Roper on the play.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Zollman doubled off the left-center field fence. He scored one batter later on a Roper RBI single through the left side, making the score 8-1.
In the bottom of the eighth and with two outs, Elon added an insurance run, scoring once on two hits. Price had a single and was lifted for pinch runner Austin Boehme. Boehme would end up on third on a throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt. Stevens followed with a single to right, driving in Boehme.
Phoenix relief pitcher Kory Radford (1-2) got credit for the win, pitching the sixth and seventh innings and allowing five hits and two runs in 2.0 innings. Adam Acosta pitched a perfect ninth to earn his seventh save of the season. Elon starter Matt Garner only lasted 4.1 innings, allowing four hits, five runs and four walks.
Offensively for Elon, Erickson, who had the big grand slam in the seventh, went 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored. Morris, Rembert and Stevens each had two hits with Stevens and Stocco getting two RBI.
For the Catamounts, McGowan was 3-for-5, while Roper, Davis and Edick each had two hits. Kilmer and Davis each had two RBI as well. Josey did not figure in the decision, lasting 6.1 innings. The junior allowed 10 hits and five runs with a walk and four strikeouts. McCullen (0-4) suffered the loss, allowing two hits, including the grand slam, and three runs with three walks and a strikeouts.
Western Carolina and Elon will play game three of their three-game series on Sunday at 1:30 pm on Elon's Latham Park.