Cullowhee, N.C. – Jalen Jones and Daylan Nanny combined for six of Western Carolina’s nine hits including five for extra bases as the Catamounts dropped Indiana State from the ranks of the nation’s unbeaten on Wednesday evening, rallying from a six-run deficit before holding on for a 10-9 victory at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
WCU (5-2) earned the two-game split despite committing five errors, hitting eight batters, and issuing eight walks on the day. Indiana State (7-1) had plenty of opportunities, but stranded a combined 17 base runners, leaving the bases loaded three times – twice inside the game’s first five innings and in the top of the ninth inning of the one-run affair.
Indiana State seized early momentum by capitalizing on two walks, a pair of hit batters, and one Catamount error in a six-run top of the second inning only to see WCU respond with nine-consecutive runs between the home half of the second and third inning combined. Trailing by three, 9-6, the Sycamores manufactured a run in the fourth and two in the fifth frames to knot the game at nine at the midpoint.
The Catamounts, however, scratched the scoreboard for the final time in the home portion of the sixth inning as Nanny led-off with a double to left center field and was scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Justice Bigbie. Indiana State threatened over the final three frames, putting two-or-more runners aboard in each inning. But the Catamounts managed to strand all seven base runners over the final three innings to score the win.
Jones doubled twice and legged out his second career triple as a part of his 3-for-4, two RBI and two run performance while Nanny likewise recorded a pair of two-baggers with a pair of runs scored in a 3-for-4 showing to lead the Catamount attack. Redshirt senior Matthew Koehler plated two with his second-inning double into right field, posting his third multi-RBI game of the season.
Sophomore Will Prater was held off the bases for the first time this season as his career-long 10-game hitting streak was snapped. Bigbie currently has the longest active streak, hitting in all seven games this season while Luke Robinson reached twice with a single and a walk, extending his active streak to 19-straight games that he’s reached safely.
Redshirt junior Blake Therrian (1-0) – the fifth pitcher used by the Catamounts on the night – scored the victory for WCU after tossing two innings of two-hit, scoreless relief with a strikeout. Junior transfer Jacob Corn scored the save, stranding the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning with a strikeout to earn his first save of the year.
Relievers Ryan Mitschele and Jake Moebius made their second appearances in as many days, combining for three strikeouts including a team-high two by Moebius. Weekend starter Chase Walter struck out one in two-thirds of an inning, with Jack Snyder setting-up the final frame with an inning of scoreless, one-hit relief. Freshman Davis Tyndall made his first collegiate start, exiting after 1.1 innings.
Outfielder Roby Enriquez and catcher Max Wright recorded two-hit games for Indiana State which closed a season-opening eight-game road swing on Wednesday. After not playing in Tuesday’s opener, Chris Ayers plated two runs on a fielder’s choice and a bases-loaded walk while Hunter Lewis recorded the Sycamores’ lone extra-base hit with a two-out seventh inning double before being stranded at second base.
Evan Giles (0-1) was charged with the loss for Indiana State, allowing Nanny’s sixth-inning game-winning run to score. He only allowed the one run on one hit over two innings with a strikeout. Starter Max Klein was lifted after recording two innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on four hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Western Carolina hits the road in tournament action this weekend, traveling to the Keith LeClair Classic hosted by East Carolina at Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville, N.C. The Catamounts will face Wright State (2-3) on Friday at Noon and the Utah Utes (3-4) on Saturday at Noon before tangling with tournament host No. 14/15 ECU on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm. Fans can follow WCU’s first two games of the tournament with live stats while audio/video coverage of the WCU-ECU game will be available for Sunday’s finale.