Cullowhee, N.C. – Redshirt senior Matthew Koehler drove in his second run of the game on a single through the right side to give Western Carolina a 3-2 lead in the home half of the fourth inning on Tuesday afternoon. However, Indiana State used a two-run sixth and a four-run seventh to remain perfect on the season, handing the Catamounts an 8-4 setback in nonconference action at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Koehler and his sophomore outfield counterpart Daylan Nanny both belted solo home runs as a part of two-hit performances to pace the Catamounts. Koehler finished 2-for-4 with his third stolen base of the season while Nanny was 2-for-5 offensively. Junior Luke Robinson reached three times with a single, a walk, and his fifth HBP of the season, stretching his active streak to 17-consecutive games, while Justice Bigbie went 1-for-4 with a double to extend his active hitting streak to six-straight.
Indiana State (7-0) broke the scoreless tie with a two-spot in the top of the third inning, taking advantage of a one-out HBP before run-scoring singles by Roby Enriquez and Hunter Lewis put the Sycamores ahead, 2-0, after two and a half. The lead was short-lived, though, as Koehler blasted a one-out solo home run to right to trim the deficit in half before Nanny touched them all following a two-out solo bomb to right center to knot the game at two apiece after three complete.
In the fourth, sophomore Will Prater single through the right side to extend his current hitting streak to a career-long 10-straight games dating back to last year. A failed pickoff attempt allowed Prater to scamper around to third base where he was plated by Koehler on the run-scoring single.
Pinch hitter Andrew Bullock singled into centerfield to plate Prater for a second time to provide the final tally, 8-4.
WCU reliever Ty McCulloch (1-1) suffered the loss, issuing a pair of walks to lead-off the top of the sixth inning before being lifted by reliever Jack Snyder. Both inherited runners managed to score in the two-run frame as the Sycamores eventually pulled ahead 8-3, tacking on four more in the seventh. McCulloch struck out two while starter Joe Vranesic – who was making his WCU debut – fanned one over 2.2 innings of work.
Relievers Jake Moebius and redshirt sophomore Ryan Mitschele made their season debut in relief as Moebius worked a perfect eighth with a putout and an assist, and Mitschele recorded a strikeout in the top of the ninth inning.
Reliever Austin Cross (1-0) tossed 2.2 innings of one-hit scoreless relief of starter Geremy Guerrero to score the victory out of the bullpen. Jake Ridgway struck out three in a three-inning save, holding the potent Catamount offense to just one run on one hit with a walk.
Western Carolina (4-2) concludes its season-opening homestand on Tuesday, playing game two of the two-game midweek set with Indiana State. First pitch at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium is scheduled for 4:00 pm in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+ (subscription required) with live stats available online at CatamountSports.com.