Feb. 21, 2004
Cullowhee, N.C. - Wright State scored three runs in the top of the ninth to win game one, 8-6, of a Saturday doubleheader versus Western Carolina. However, Catamount freshmen Blake Murphy and Eryk McConnell, each from Waynesville, N.C., led WCU to a 14-1 decision in game two at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium. Western, playing its 2004 home opener, now owns a 1-4 record, while Wright State, playing its 2004 season opener, is 1-1.
In game one, the Raiders took advantage of an error and five hits to rally for the win. Ross Oeder started the ninth with a seeing-eye single through the right side of the infield. After a sacrifice bunt by Matt Barhorst, Oeder wound up on third on a wild pitch. Chris Coleman singled up the middle to trim the Raiders' deficit to tie the game at 6-6. Bryan Vickers delivered a one-out single, moving pinch runner Justin Wilson to third. A stolen base by pinch runner Jack Chalupa put runners one second a third. Ross Vegedes plated Wilson and advanced Chalupa to third on an infield single. Chalupa capped the scoring, coming home an a WCU throwing error.
Wright State jumped out to an early lead as Barhorst had an RBI double in the first. Western tied the game at 1-1 in the second. Brian Sigmon doubled to start the bottom half, moved to third on ground out and scored on a Matt Nelson sacrifice fly.
In the fourth, the Raiders put two runs on the board thanks to a two Catamount errors. Pat Masters' solo home run in the sixth made it a 4-1 game in Wright State's favor. However, Western took advantage of two Raider errors and trimmed its deficit to one in the bottom half. Alex Gary singled and eventually scored on a Mike McGowan double. McGowan would score after a Sigmon single and Wright State throwing error.
Wright State pushed its advantage back to two runs with an RBI double by Barhorst in the top of the seventh, making the score 5-3. In the bottom of the seventh, Western got an RBI ground out by Jared Greenwood and a two-run home run by Alex Gary to make the score 6-5.
Wright State's Kevin Kuntz (1-0) picked up the win in game one, pitching 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball with two hits allowed. Nathan Stephens earned the save, getting two strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth. WCU junior Clint Ramsey (0-1) took the loss. He allowed three hits and three runs in two-thirds on an inning.
In game two, former Tuscola High teammates Murphy and McConnell, who were co-conference Players of the Year in high school, had breakout games. McConnell (1-0) got his first collegiate start and was impressive in five innings of work. He only allowed one run and three hits, while walking two and striking out eight. Murphy, getting the first collegiate action of his young career, was 2-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI.
Western got on the board first with an RBI Greenwood single. Wright State knotted the game at 1-1 with solo home run by Wilson.
In the bottom of the third, Murphy blasted a three-run home run to center. The Cats put the game out of reach in the bottom of the fourth, scoring six runs in the frame. Chris Davis hit a two-run home run, Gary had an RBI double and Murphy added a second three-run home run, which was the first homer to clear the 14-foot high section of the new "Purple Monster" in left field.
Western added four more runs in the fifth to provide the final 14-1 margin as Sigmon and Denver Edick each hit a two-run home runs for the Cats.
For the Catamounts, Davis was 5-for-7 in the doubleheader, including a 3-for-3 performance in game two. Gary was 4-for-8 with three RBI in the two games, while Sigmon was 4-for-6. In game one, Roper and McGowan each had two hits. In game two, Edick was 2-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored, while Greenwood was 3-for-4.
For the Raiders, Oeder and Vagedes each had three hits in game one, while Vickers had two hits in game.
Western Carolina and Wright State will play the third of their three-game series on Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 pm.