Charleston, S.C. - Junior Bryan Sammons tossed a three-hit, complete game shutout as Western Carolina rebounded on Saturday afternoon, blanking The Citadel, 11-0, in Southern Conference action at Riley Park. WCU recorded its first shutout victory of the season, and first since a 3-0 win at Mercer in mid-April of 2015.
The series rubber match is scheduled for a 1 pm start on Sunday afternoon.
Sammons (6-2) tossed a career-long nine innings, limiting the Bulldogs to just three base hits as the Catamounts evened the best-of-three series at a win apiece. The Wilmington, N.C., native worked around four walks with eight strikeouts -- just one shy of his career high -- in hanging nine zeroes across the bottom line on the scoreboard.
All told, Sammons limited the Bulldogs to nine base runners with simultaneous runners on base just once as The Citadel got runners to the corners with two outs in the third inning for its biggest threat of the game.
The complete game was the first of Sammons' career in Cullowhee, and the first for a Catamount pitcher since the 2014 season. Jeremy Null, currently with the Chicago Cubs organization, was the last Catamount to toss a CG, doing so on May 16, 2014 in a win over Davidson that helped clinch the SoCon regular season championship. Jordan Smith, a Detroit Tigers farmhand, tossed a pair of complete games in April of 2014.
While Sammons was dealing on the mound, the Catamount offense found its stride in the winning effort, collecting a dozen hits including four doubles. Sophomore Caleb Robinson led three Catamounts with multi-hit games, showing the way with a 3-for-4 performance. The McLeansville, N.C., native drove in three runs on a trio of singles.
Senior Garrett Brown collected a pair of singles in a 2-for-6 showing, plating two runs in the second inning, while Bryson Bowman doubled as a part of a 2-for-4, one RBI performance. Both tallied stolen bases in the win as the Catamounts swiped four overall. Matt Smith added a run-scoring double, crossing the dish twice on the day, while Kramer Ferrell got back on track with a RBI double into left field, scoring Danny Bermudez who reached twice with a single and a HBP.
Brown got the Catamounts off to a good start again, singling to open the game before swiping his 26th stolen base of the season to move into scoring position. Nobu Suzuki, who had his 27-game reached base safely streak come to an end, sacrificed Brown to third where he was driven in on a RBI single by Bowman for a 1-0 lead after one.
In the second, J.D. Long drove home one on a sharp double down the left field line before Brown plated two on a single into shallow center field, pushing the Catamount edge to four, 4-0.
WCU would tack on three more in the fifth inning on a RBI double by Smith and a fielder's choice RBI by Robinson before Bermudez scored on a double-steal as Robinson took second on the same play for the 7-0 advantage. The Catamounts would post two, two-run frames in the seventh and ninth to cap scoring.
For The Citadel, Thomas Byelick (1-4) was the first of seven pitchers to see action, suffering the loss in the starting role after surrendering four runs on five hits in 3.1 innings. Six different relievers allowed a total of seven runs on seven hits the remaining 5.2 innings.
The Bulldogs' three hits were spread between three different players with designated hitter Mike Deese recording a double in the loss.
Game three of the series is scheduled for a 1:00 pm first pitch on Sunday afternoon. The game will be broadcast by The Citadel on the SoCon Digital Network, with live streaming audio from the Catamount Sports Network available online at CatamountSports.com.