Feb. 12, 2003
Cullowhee, N.C. - Sophomore Brandon McDowell struck out five in six innings, while senior Alan Beck went 2-for-3 with five RBI to lead Western Carolina to an 11-1 home opener over High Point Wednesday afternoon at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium. The Catamounts, who improves to 26-9 in home openers since 1969 and winners of its last five home openers, are 1-2 in 2003, while High Point falls to 0-4.
McDowell, left-handed pitcher from Franklin, recorded his first career win, posting a 0-0 mark as a freshman in 10 appearance for the Cats. He pitched five innings and allowed just three hits with an earned run, zero walks and a career-high six strikeouts. A quartet of Catamount pitchers, including Alex Obert, Joe Camac, Derrick Hawk and Brian Barnes, each threw a scoreless inning to close out the game.
Playing with a stiff wind throughout the game, High Point jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second with a leadoff, first pitch home run to center by Ken Keesee.
Western rallied with four runs in the bottom of the third, thanks to back-to-back home runs by Beck and Todd Buchanan. Beck's blast to center drove in Matt Nelson, who got WCU's first hit of the game, and Todd Roper, who walked. Buchanan followed with a line-drive homer to center as well.
The Catamounts added runs in the fourth and sixth innings to take a 6-1 lead. In the fourth, sophomore Jimmy Cochran hit his first career home run, while Clint Ramsey, who had doubled to start the sixth, eventually scored on a Denver Edick sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the seventh, Western added two more runs. Roper reached on a single, stole two bases and scored on a Buchanan triple. Pinch hitter Chris Davis followed with an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
Western capped the scoring with three unearned runs in the eighth. Edick walked and Wayne Kilmer singled to start the frame. After a strike out and a fly out, Roper reached on a throwing error, allowing Edick to score. Beck followed with a double to left-center field to plate Kilmer and Roper.
With his five RBI today, Beck, who was hit by two pitches, moved to eighth on the WCU career RBI list with 156. Buchanan added two hits and scored twice. Kilmer also had two hits, while Roper scored three times.
Nick Thompson led the way for the Panthers with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. Keesee and Matt Gorman added High Point?s other two hits. Chris Hyatt (0-1) picked up the loss, going 4.2 innings with four hits, five runs, one walk and four strikeouts. Relief pitcher Mark Shorey also had four K's with zero walks in 2.0 innings, but surrendered four hits and three runs.
Western Carolina will return to action Feb. 14 as its starts a three-game series with East Carolina. First pitch on Friday is set for 3:00 pm, while games on Saturday and Sunday are scheduled to begin at 2:00 and 1:00 pm, respectively.