Boiling Springs, N.C. - Western Carolina baseball dropped the backend of its midweek, nonconference home-and-home with Gardner-Webb, falling to the Runnin' Bulldogs by a count of 4-0 on Wednesday evening at John Henry Moss Stadium / Bill Masters Field.
GWU senior pitcher Ryan Boelter (3-0) held WCU's offense in check through a career-long eight shutout innings in a complete reversal of the slugfest that was the first meeting back on March 16. The Catamounts won the first meeting, 16-14, with the two squads combining for 35 hits including 15 for extra bases.
On Wednesday, Gardner-Webb finished with nine hits including three for extra bases while WCU was held to five singles, scattered between different players. The first four players in the Catamount lineup each tallied a single with redshirt junior J.D. Long recording the first hit with a third-inning single into center field.
Junior Matt Smith, who returned to the outfield in a starting role on Wednesday, opened the fourth inning with a single while senior Danny Bermudez -- who also made a start in the outfield -- singling to start the fifth inning before being stranded at third base in WCU's best chance to score. Junior Nobu Suzuki and redshirt junior Bryson Bowman collected the final two hits for the Purple & Gold, both reaching in succession to start the ninth inning.
Sophomore Caleb Robinson reached a game-high twice on a pair of walks.
Sophomore RHP Dylan Biumi (2-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing two runs -- one earned -- through two innings with two strikeouts against three walks. Redshirt junior Dillon Bray tossed a team-high 4.2 innings with five strikeouts, with freshman Jake Moebius, sophomore Corey Sikes and junior Chad Mabini combining to finish the game on the mound.
Boelter scattered three hits over his eight innings of work, striking out seven against three walks of scoreless work. Reliever Andrew Massey pitched the final inning of two-hit relief with a game-ending strikeout.
For the Runnin' Bulldogs, shortstop Paul Trick collected two hits with a double and a solo home run, while Mason Fox also posted a 2-for-4 outing. Catcher Justin Kunz drove home two on a sacrifice fly and a double in a 1-for-4 effort.
Western Carolina returns home for a three-game series against the Mercer Bears that gets underway with a 5 pm first pitch on Friday afternoon. The series continues Saturday at 2 pm, live on WMYA-TV, My 40, and is slated for a 1 pm finale on Sunday afternoon.