Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina posted season highs with 15 runs on 13 hits Saturday afternoon, leading wire-to-wire to pick-up its first victory of the season as the Catamounts out-slugged the UL-Monroe Warhawks, 15-7, to even the best-of-three nonconference series at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Game three of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm ET and will be streamed through the SoCon Digital Network (SDN) free-of-charge through SoConDigitalNetwork.com/wcu.
Nine different Catamount batters collected hits on Saturday with four belting home runs in WCU's most offensive outburst of the young season. Senior Garrett Brown got the game started with a lead-off homer that skirted the fence in left field for the first of the four round-trippers. Sophomore Spencer Holcomb, who earned a start as the designated hitter, belted his second home run in as many days with a two-run blast to left in the third.
Senior Danny Bermudez drove a shot over the wall in left center in the fourth inning before junior transfer Nobu Suzuki -- who came on as a defensive sub in the latter innings -- tallied his first home run for the Purple & Gold with a three-run blast in the seventh inning.
Bermudez paced WCU's offensive onslaught with a 3-for-4 outing, driving in one on the solo homer and scoring four times. Sophomore Brett Pope and senior Kramer Ferrell both collected two hits apiece with Ferrell recording a double and a team-high tying three RBI.
Junior LHP Bryan Sammons (1-0) was again strong in his home debut, battling to help the Catamounts secure their first win. The Wilmington, N.C., native scattered eight hits through 5.2 innings, surrendering six runs, five earned. Sammons struck out two against three walks. Senior Colton Davis tossed and inning and a third out of the bullpen, allowing a run on a hit, while sophomore Corey Sikes settled in for two innings of scoreless, two-hit relief, walking one.
Western Carolina (1-4) scored in bunches on Saturday, posting runs in five different innings including three-or-more markers coming in four of the frames. Ferrell and junior Bryson Bowman drove in runs following Brown's lead-off homer in the bottom of the first to give the Catamounts a 3-0 advantage after one.
ULM rallied, however, with a Jacob Stockton two-run home run in the top of the second to trim the deficit back to one, 3-2.
The Catamounts erupted for their biggest inning of the year in the third, lighting the scoreboard for five runs in what would ultimately prove to be the decisive frame. Pope started the rally with a one-out single before Bermudez singled with runners ending up on second and third after the relay throw. Following a Matt Smith walk, Ferrell delivered a two-RBI single to left center with the bases loaded. Bowman drove in a run on a sacrifice fly ahead of Holcomb's two-run homer.
WCU stretched its lead to 11-2 with three more runs in the home half of the fourth as J.D. Long drew a lead-off walk and matriculated around the base paths, scoring on a double-steal with Brown, who eventually scampered home on a wild pitch. Bermudez capped the inning's scoring with his homer. Trailing by nine, UL-Monroe scored five-straight runs over the next three innings with a two-spot in both the fifth and sixth innings with a single-run in the seventh.
Leading 11-7, the Catamounts added four insurance runs over the final two innings in which they took swings, scoring three on Suzuki's home run in the seventh, and Bermudez drawing a walk and scoring on a wild pitch to cap scoring.
For the Warhawks (2-3), who matched their series opening tally of 11 hits, four players turned in two-hit performances. Catcher Spencer Hemphill homered twice in a 2-for-4 outing, driving in three runs while also scoring three times. Cade Stone (2-for-3, 2 BB), Anthony Herrera (2-for-5), and Nathan Reynolds (2-for-4) joined Hemphill with two base knocks on the day.
Also for ULM, Jacob Stockton homered again on his first at bat on Saturday giving him two home runs in back-to-back plate appearances from Friday into Saturday after he legged out a grand slam in the ninth inning in game one
ULM starter Brandon Bell (0-1) took the loss for the Warhawks after being chased after just three innings of work, allowing eight runs -- five earned -- on seven hits with two walks issued. Derek Martin tossed an inning of relief, surrendering three runs, while Josh Leone was the workhorse with four innings of four-run, five-hit relief, striking out two and walking five.
The series concludes on Sunday as WCU junior RHP Korey Anderson squares off against ULM senior RHP Chris Hunt with first pitch at 1:00 pm ET.