Greenville, S.C. - Capitalizing on five singles in the top of the second inning, Western Carolina jumped out to a 4-0 advantage in Friday night's Southern Conference series opener at Furman's Latham Stadium. However, the Paladins found their stroke, scoring 11-unanswered runs while starting pitcher Will Gaddis settled into a groove as the Paladins claimed game one, 11-4.
WCU dropped to 22-22 overall on the season and 12-7 in SoCon play, in third-place in the conference standings. Furman, which claimed its fifth-straight SoCon win, improved to 21-25 overall, 9-7 in the conference, tied for fourth with rival, Wofford (27-21, 9-7 SoCon).
Following the second inning, Gaddis (8-2) only allowed four additional singles over the final seven frames, working around two threats from the Catamounts to record his second career complete game over the past two seasons, both coming against WCU. Gaddis struck out seven without issuing a walk, allowing four runs -- only one of which was earned -- in the win.
Two Catamounts posted multi-hit games as both senior Kramer Ferrell and redshirt junior J.D. Long finished 2-for-4 with two singles apiece with Long recording an RBI. Sophomore Caleb Robinson plated two in the four-run second on a single, with junior Nobu Suzuki also driving in a run on his lone hit of the game.
Junior Bryan Sammons (6-3) was saddled with the loss, striking out five in 5.2 innings of work. The Wilmington, N.C., native allowed seven runs -- six earned -- on seven hits while battling through six walks. Sophomore Dylan Biumi struck out one in a third of an inning while classmate Corey Sikes tossed the final two frames out of the bullpen with a strikeout.
Furman finished with a dozen hits as a team including seven extra base hits with five home runs and a pair of doubles. The Paladins twice cashed in on back-to-back walks with three-run homers in the fourth and fifth innings, adding a trio of solo shots that cleared the hedge-skirted outfield fence at Latham Stadium.
First baseman Deon Sanders finished 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs and two walks, driving in a team-high tying four while catcher Andrew MacLatchie also hit a three-run homer as a part of his four RBI to highlight the night for the home squad.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon with a 1:00 pm first pitch at Latham Stadium.