Score: Western Carolina 9, Alabama State 8; Western Carolina 8, Jacksonville State 6 (8)
Records: Western Carolina 2-1
Location: Montgomery, Ala.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Western Carolina softball senior outfielder Hunter Gibbons tied the school record for homeruns in a career in the WCU record books, with 29, as the Catamounts swept day two action of the Black and Gold Tournament edging host Alabama State 9-8 and knocking off Jacksonville State 8-6 Saturday in day two action.
The Catamounts combined for 17 runs in the two games.
Western Carolina 9, Alabama State 8
Tied at eight after six innings, Western Carolina got the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh thanks to an RBI double by Bailey Huneycutt and sat Alabama State down in order in the bottom of the seventh for the victory.
How it Happened
- Alabama seemed to be sitting pretty after posting five runs in the bottom of the second inning.
- Western Carolina started clawing back one run at a time starting with a lone run in the top of the third. Freshman Huneycutt hit a double to left center and scored from a groundout to shortstop by Erica Hayes.
- Alabama State got the run back with a run in the bottom of the third to lead 6-1.
- The Catamounts tacked another lone run in the top of the fourth thanks to an RBI single by Shaina Reed scoring Gibbons who opened the inning with a double to center field.
- It was the fifth inning which really got Western Carolina back into the game as the club exploded for four runs. Lauren Perillo got things started with a single but was eventually erased at third but not before Hayes reached on an error and Gibbons and Ashlyn Long got on base thanks to fielder’s choices to load the bases. Hayes reached home on a walk drawn by Madison Armstrong and then Long scored on a wild pitch. The inning was capped off by an RBI double by Reed.
- Western Carolina took the first lead of the game plating two runs in the top of the sixth to lead 8-6. Pinch hitter Cheyenne Mathews got it started when she was hit by a pitch followed by a walk by Huneycutt. A pinch-hit single by Myra Twitty loaded the bases for WCU and with one out Long hit a sacrifice fly to score pinch runner Chloe Plesset. Gibbons’ second double of the game scored Huneycutt.
- Alabama State tied the game scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
- Reed was hit by a pitch and Watts reached on an error to get runners on for WCU to open the seventh. Huneycutt hit a one-out double to score Reed allowing the Catamounts to again capture the lead 9-8.
- Relief pitcher Kayla Brewer closed out the game going 1.2 scoreless innings entering in the sixth inning. She sat Alabama State down in order in the bottom of the seventh to squelch any idea of a rally.
Inside the Box Score
- Gibbons paced the Catamounts going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a pair of doubles.
- It was pitching by committee for the Catamounts in the game as three hurlers saw action. Junior college transfer Kylie Shay tossed 2.0 innings, junior Kinsey Liscio went 3.1 and Brewer closed it out earning her first win of the season.
- Huneycutt and Reed each had a pair of hits and Reed had three RBI.
Western Carolina 8, Jacksonville 6
Tied 6-6 after seven innings, the pair of teams went to extra innings and Western Carolina plated two runs in the extra frame to secure the win.
How it Happened
- Western Carolina put Jacksonville State on notice in the opening inning exploding for four runs and it all started with one swing of the bat as lead-off hitter Hayes launched a shot over the right-field wall. That opening run spurred WCU on as with one out Gibbons doubled and moved to third from a wild pitch. Armstrong drew a walk and Gibbons scored from an RBI single by Reed. Armstrong and Reed scored on a fielder’s choice attempt that turned into a Jacksonville State error.
- It was still the Catamount show in the second inning as WCU upped its lead to 5-0 when Long doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice RBI by Reed.
- Jacksonville State scratched out a pair of runs in the bottom of the second.
- A long-awaited homerun by Gibbons highlighted the fourth inning getting back one of the runs to lead 6-2.
- Jacksonville State scored four unanswered runs, two in the fifth and two in the sixth, to tie the game 6-6 after six innings.
- After a scoreless seventh, it was on to extra innings.
- In the extra frame, the international tie-breaker rule was enacted placing pinch runner Plesset on second who promptly stole third. An RBI fielder’s choice by Danielle Chapman scored Plesset and WCU was back on top 7-6. The Catamounts added an insurance run courtesy of an RBI double by Hayes.
- Jacksonville State stranded a pair of runners in their half of the eighth to end the game.
Inside the Box Score
- Gibbons and Hayes each hit home runs in the game and had a pair of hits.
- Western Carolina weathered 12 hits by Jacksonville State. The Catamounts had six hits.
- Brewer got the start tossing six innings. She gave up six runs on 11 hits and struck out two. She left with the game tied 6-6 and got the no-decision.
- Liscio replaced Brewer in the sixth tossing two scoreless innings allowing one hit and striking out one. She earned her first win of the season.
News & Notes
- Gibbons is tied with former Catamount standout Lauren Ross for homeruns in a career, in the WCU record books, with 29. She needs one to be the new reigning home run champion.
- Gibbons is also chasing the Catamount RBI record. She currently ranks second with 103 and needs four to usurp former Catamount Taylor Sigmon who ended her storied career with 106.
- But wait, we still aren’t done with Gibbons. She now has 28 doubles in her career tying her with teammate Armstrong for fifth place in the record books.
- In the pair of games on Saturday Gibbons hit .555, had five hits, scored four runs, had two doubles and had two RBI.
- In the two games combined, Western Carolina had 15 hits and scored 17 runs with eight doubles and two home runs.
- The Catamounts win over Jacksonville State may turn out to be a signature win as the Gamecocks shutout Southern Conference foe Mercer, last weekend, 15-0 in five innings, They were also the 2018 OVC Champion and an NCAA Tournament team.
- Western Carolina’s extra-inning game against Jacksonville State was the Catamounts’ first of the season.
Western Carolina will look to complete its suspended game with UT Martin on Sunday at 2 p.m. before closing out the day with the regularly scheduled game against Alabama A&M. at 3 p.m.
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