Greenville, S.C. - For the second-straight day, Western Carolina grabbed an early lead over Furman only to see the Paladins rally back to score the victory on their home turf at Latham Stadium.
The Paladins plated the game's final six runs over the final three frames including the game-winner on a walk-off single by Jordan Simpson in the home half of the ninth inning as Furman claimed Saturday's meeting, 9-8, and secured the best-of-three Southern Conference series.
Western Carolina (22-23, 12-8 SoCon) built a 7-1 lead through the game's first five innings and managed to keep the Paladins at arms distance until the eighth. Furman plated four runs to knot the game at eight apiece after eight complete with Simpson dropping a one-out single down the left field line to score Jabari Richards from second base with the game-winning run.
All told, the Catamounts left a combined 10 men on base in the game including eight from the fifth inning on. WCU had a chance to stretch its lead in the top of the eighth inning by loading the bases with two outs but could not add insurance markers. Furman responded with their big inning in the home half to send the game to the ninth inning tied.
Redshirt junior Bryson Bowman hit his team-leading 14th home run as a part of a 2-for-5 performance, extending his team RBI lead with three in the loss. Sophomore Caleb Robinson doubled and drove home a run in a 2-for-4 outing, also reaching on a walk. Senior Danny Bermudez reached four times with a pair of hits including a double, while also drawing two HBPs.
Redshirt junior Jason Smith also belted a home run for the Catamounts after earning the start as the designated hitter.
WCU scored a trio of two-run innings in the first, second and fifth innings, taking on a seventh run in the fourth inning before Furman's march back began in earnest with a two-run homer by Sky Overton.
Catamount starter Brendan Nail again pitched well enough to secure a victory, finishing with a no-decision after matching a career-long with 7.0 innings on the mound. The Greensboro, N.C., product scattered eight hits and allowed five runs with three strikeouts to counter a trio of walks. Senior Colton Davis (5-2) took the loss, tossing an inning and a third out of the bullpen with a pair of strikeouts and four runs allowed.
Senior reliever Steven Fondu (3-1) received the victory on the mound for Furman, tossing the final inning and a third of hitless, scoreless relief, working around a walk. Starter Billy Greenfield left prior to the fifth inning, allowing five runs on five hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
Three Paladins finished with multi-hit games as Deon Sanders again collected three hits including his third home run of the series. Overton posted a 2-for-3 outing with a pair of RBIs while Richards finished 2-for-4 and scored two runs including the game-winner.
Game three of the series is scheduled for a 1:00 pm first pitch on Sunday afternoon.