Manhattan, Kansas - Redshirt junior Bryson Bowman belted a three-run home run and senior Colton Davis struck out seven out of the bullpen as Western Carolina took Friday night's series opener over Kansas State, 7-5, on a cold evening at Tointon Family Stadium. Both teams scored in bunches with WCU's four-run top of the seventh providing what proved to be the game-winning runs.
Bowman led a pair of Catamounts with two-hit games as both he and junior Matt Smith tallied a pair of base knocks in the win including a combined three for extra bases. Bowman doubled in addition to his homer while Smith drove in two on a fifth-inning double. Sophomore Caleb Robinson, who earned the start at first base, also finished 2-for-5 with a pair of singles.
All told, all nine WCU batters recorded hits in the win as the Catamounts out-hit the home squad, 12-8.
Making his second relief appearance of the week, Davis (2-0) tossed a season-long 4.1 innings out of the bullpen to secure the road victory for the Catamounts. The Commerce, Ga., native limited K-State to just one run on two hits, countering a walk with a career-high tying seven strikeouts.
Sophomore LHP Brendan Nail pitched in-and-out of trouble through his 4.2 innings in the starting role on Friday, scattering six hits and working around four walks with two strikeouts. Nail gave up four runs before being chased in the fifth inning.
Western Carolina (7-10) opened scoring, breaking the scoreless deadlock with a three-run top of the fifth inning on Friday night. Nobu Suzuki opened the frame with a double and advanced to third as a fielder's choice throw on a J.D. Long ground ball hit Suzuki in the back for a throwing error resulting in runners at the corners. Sophomore Brett Pope then singled to left field to not only drive in the game's first run, but also extend his seasonal hitting streak to a career-long 13-game. Smith then came through with a two-out, two RBI double into left to stake the Catamounts to a 3-0 advantage.
However, in the bottom of the frame, Kansas State (11-7) loaded the bases twice and plated four runs to seize control of the game, 4-3. The Wildcats got on the board with a run scoring on a bases loaded 4-6-3 double play turned by the middle of WCU's infield, Suzuki to Pope to Robinson. K-State then managed to scratch three, two-out runs for the middle of the game edge.
WCU rallied to tie the game in the top of the seventh before eventually reclaiming the lead. Senior Garrett Brown led-off with an opposite field double to left before scoring on a bloop single into the outfield by classmate Danny Bermudez. Then with two aboard after a walk to Smith, Bowman belted a three-run home run over the fence in left field to push the visitors ahead, 7-4.
For Bowman, it was his third home run in the last two games after hitting two in Wednesday's home win over Gardner-Webb.
K-State cut into the Catamount lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, plating a run on a RBI single by Dalrymple to score a runner from second to make it 7-5 after eight complete.
The Catamounts then threatened to push across insurance markers in the top of the ninth, loading the bases before K-State escaped into the home half of the frame. But Davis worked through the heart of the Wildcat line-up, striking out two including Josh Rolette looking to end the game.
Wildcat reliever Jordan Floyd (1-2) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on four this including Bowman's homer. Much like WCU's Nail, K-State starter Levi MaVorhis was solid into the fifth inning before being touched up for three unearned runs on five hits. MaVorhis struck out four in the no-decision.
Three Wildcat hitters posted two-hit, 2-for-4 games including Jake Scudder with two RBI while Dalrymple plated one in the loss, tallying K-State's lone extra base hit with a third-inning double. Rolette also collected a pair of hits for the home squad.
Game two of the three-game nonconference series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon with a 3:05 pm ET / 2:05 pm CT first pitch.