Cullowhee, N.C. - UNC Asheville stymied Western Carolina offensively on Tuesday evening, limiting the Catamounts to just two singles in claiming an 8-0 shutout victory in midweek nonconference action at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
WCU (19-16) was held hitless until the fourth inning to start the game, and then saw 14-consecutive batters retired in a row to conclude the game, its third-straight loss in the head-to-head series with its mountain-rival, UNC Asheville. It was also the fourth-consecutive midweek loss for the Catamounts, who look to snap that second slide on Wednesday by hosting Virginia Tech out of the ACC.
Junior Matt Smith (1-for-4) broke up the no-hitter with a lead-off single in the fourth inning, extending his current hitting streak to a career-long 14-straight games. Classmate Nobu Suzuki (1-for-3) tallied the only other single for the Catamounts in the loss, opening the fifth inning with a single through the right side to reach base for the 25th-straight game.
WCU senior Kramer Ferrell reached for the 20th-straight game, loading the bases in the first inning after being hit by a pitch. Redshirt junior J.D. Long was also plunked, reaching for the 11th-consecutive game.
All told, the Catamounts only managed seven base runners in the nine-inning affair, leaving five on base after an inning-ending double-play in the fifth.
UNCA (13-25) scored its eight runs on seven hits with three home runs including a grand slam homer from an unlikely hero in freshman catcher Andrew Friedholm in the winning effort. Joe Tietjen finished 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI including a solo homer with starting pitcher, Danny Wilson, also collecting two hits with a home run
Seven Bulldog pitchers, none tossing more than two innings on Tuesday, combined to secure the shutout victory -- the first time WCU has been held scoreless since May 1, 2014 at former Southern Conference member, Georgia Southern (L, 1-0). Wilson (2-1) was credited with the victory in a predetermined short start. Wilson worked around two defensive errors behind him and a HBP that loaded the bases to finish with two hitless, scoreless innings.
For the Catamounts, junior Chad Mabini (0-1) suffered the loss in his first career start for the Purple & Gold, allowing seven runs on five hits with five walks and five strikeouts. The Alpharetta, Ga., native tallied career-bests with the 5.0 innings and five Ks on the day. Freshman Jake Moebius likewise tossed a career-long with three relief innings giving up a run on two hits with a career-high three strikeouts. Sophomore Corey Sikes fanned two in his inning out of the bullpen.
Western Carolina returns home on Wednesday night to host Virginia Tech (12-25) in the first series meeting since 2002. The Hokies lead the all-time series, 5-10. WCU has won four of the last five meetings overall in the series, with the head-to-head meetings tied at 4-4 in games played in Cullowhee. First pitch is scheduled for 5 pm with a live video stream through the SoCon Digital Network available online free-of-charge.
Wednesday Projected Starters:
WCU -- R-Jr., LHP Dillon Bray (1-2, 11.09) vs. VT -- Soph., RHP Joey Sullivan (0-0, 7.91)