Feb. 20, 2013
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - A four-run first inning gave Western Carolina the momentum it needed to power past Wake Forest of the Atlantic Coast Conference at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium Wednesday afternoon. The Catamounts (3-1) also used four pitchers who just gave up two runs as senior LHP Adam Curtis tallied his first win of the season as the Deacons tallied their second loss of the season (3-2).
With one out in the bottom of the first, Julian Ridings hit a shot to the right center wall and sped around the bases to pick up the Catamounts first triple of the season. Tyler White came up and hit a first pitch single up the middle of the infield to bring Ridings in for the first run of the day. The next extra-base hit came with the next batter as Jacob Hoyle hit a double down the left field line to move White to third. The hits continued as Austin Neary hit a single up the middle to bring in both base runners. Cody Jones continued the first inning offensive onslaught with an RBI double down the right field line to score Neary, putting the Catamounts ahead early with 4-0 lead.
Right fielder Cody Jones robbed Joe Napolitano of a home run in the top of the fifth as the RF reached up and brought the ball back from over the fence to make the first out in the inning. The Deacons came back with two outs to send one over the fence as Brett Armour sent a line drive over the left-center fence to get Wake Forest on the board.
The Catamounts answered in the bottom half of the fifth with a line drive home run of their own as Julian Ridings hit a shot over the right field fence off Wake Forest pitcher Nate Jones - who entered in the fifth - to again give WCU a four-run cushion. Wake Forest threatened in the top of the eighth, loading the bases off three straight base hits off relief pitcher Bryce Danielson. After the bunt single loaded the bases, head coach Bobby Moranda went to the bull pen to bring in freshman RHP Jonathan Waszak. Waszak saw one batter - Matt Conway - who hit a bloop single to right field which scored one run, making the score 5-2 in favor of the Catamounts. Moranda returned to the bull pen and brought in preseason All-America selection Preston Hatcher. Hatcher promptly struck out the next two batters he saw to get the Catamounts out of the jam.
The Catamounts picked up another run in the bottom of the eighth as Cody Jones picked up his second double of the game, a long hit off the center field fence, scoring Austin Neary from first. Bryant Noteboom pinch hit for WCU in the bottom of the eighth and delivered with a two out double down the left field line to score the Catamounts' seventh run of the game, Cody Jones.
Senior Adam Curtis gave the Catamounts 6.0 excellent innings of work as the southpaw struck out a career-high eight Demon Deacons while only walking one in his first outing of the 2013 season. Freshman Bryce Danielson came in and went 1.1 innings with two strike outs to set up Hatcher's third save of the season. Hatcher struck out four of the five batters he faced in his 1.2 innings pitched.
"Scoring four first inning runs is huge, but Adam Curtis going out and giving up no runs in the first is even bigger," said head coach Bobby Moranda. "It set the stage for us to go out and put up a four spot against a very good Wake Forest team. Curtis really executed. He had way more command than the last time he threw."
The Catamounts next make the short trip to Greenville, S.C., for the Greenville Drive First Pitch Classic at Fluor Field, the site of the 2013 Southern Conference Baseball Championship. Western Carolina opens up the tournament with Michigan State Friday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.