Atlanta, Ga. - Thirteenth-ranked Georgia Tech used a three-run second inning to grab a lead it would never relinquish on Sunday afternoon, handing Western Carolina its second, one-run loss of the three-game series, 4-3, in nonconference action at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Georgia Tech remained perfect on the season, winning their first 11 games of the year including the two, one-run games against the Catamounts.
Redshirt junior Bryson Bowman and junior transfer Nobu Suzuki paced the Catamount offense with two hits apiece, both finishing 2-for-3 on the day. Junior Matt Smith extended his current seasonal hitting streak to 10-straight games, finishing 1-for-3 with an HBP, while Danny Bermudez drove in a run but saw his hit streak end, 0-for-3 in the loss. WCU also got a RBI ground out by senior Kramer Ferrell and a late RBI single by sophomore Caleb Robinson on Sunday.
Freshman Tristan Baker (0-1) took the loss for the Catamounts in just his second career start -- first coming in a weekend series. The Charlotte, N.C., native struck out four against four walks in five innings of work, allowing four earned runs on seven hits. Junior RHP Korey Anderson threw the final three innings out of the bullpen, scattering four hits in scoreless relief.
Western Carolina (3-8) again grabbed a first-inning lead, scoring in the opening frame for a fifth-consecutive game -- and the sixth time in its last seven ball games. Brown led-off with a single into left field before taking third on a fielding error on the same play. Back-to-back infield ground outs by Pope and Bermudez brought Brown home for the early lead.
Georgia Tech answered in the home half of the first, loading the bases with a pair of walks and a single before scoring with two outs on an infield fielder's choice.
The red-hot Yellow Jackets again lit the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning, grabbing a 4-1 lead with a three-run frame. Baker struck out the first two batters he faced before the two-out rally came on four-straight hits including a pair of doubles and two singles.
After a scoreless third, WCU cut the Jacket lead in half with a run in the top of the fourth. Pope singled to right center to start the frame before Smith put two aboard with an infield single. A wild pitch advanced both runners with Kramer Ferrell plating a run on a RBI groundout to make it 4-2.
WCU attempted a ninth-inning rally like the one Georgia Tech mustered in Friday's opener. Bowman laced a one-out double to left center field ahead of Robinson who singled up the middle to trim the Yellow Jackets' lead to one. Suzuki sacrificed Robinson into scoring position with a bunt ground out, but Georgia Tech was able to escape he jam with a game-ending ground out.
Four Tech batters finished with multi-hit games, each collecting two hits apiece. Outfielders Kel Johnson and Carter Hall, as well as third baseman Trevor Craport and catcher Arden Pabst finished with two base knocks. Wade Bailey tallied the only extra base hit for Georgia Tech with a double as the home squad stranded nine base runners in the win.
Yellow Jackets starter Jonathan Hughes (3-0) scored the victory, limiting WCU to two runs -- one earned -- on just five hits with one strikeout. Reliever Matthew Gorst tossed the final frame to secure the save despite surrendering a run on two hits with a strikeout.
Western Carolina returns home to Childress Field / Hennon Stadium for a mid-week nonconference meeting with Presbyterian on Tuesday, March 8 at 4:00 pm. The Catamounts then head to Big Ten country to face the Indiana Hoosiers in a three-game weekend series in Bloomington, Ind. No. 13 Georgia Tech, 4-3