Feb. 24, 2013
Greenville, S.C. - For the second time in the past two days, Western Carolina used late inning heroics to force extra innings during the First Pitch Invitational held at Fluor Field. Yet, for the second-straight game, the Catamounts were unable to complete the comeback as a two-out, bases loaded hit batsman drove in the game-winning run as Cincinnati held off WCU, 7-6, on Sunday afternoon.
The loss was the third-straight for the Catamounts and the second, one-run game that ended in extra innings.
Entering the top of the ninth inning trailing by a run, the Catamounts were able to rally, knotting the game at six to eventually force the extra frame. Junior Julian Ridings opened with a single to centerfield before advancing to third by stealing second and then taking third on a wild pitch. Senior Tyler White came through with his second RBI of the game, singling to right center to score the tying run.
Even after pushing across the game-tying run, the Catamounts had work to do to get the game into the 10th inning. A two-out single by Ian Happ gave the Bearcats new life to end the game in regulation. In a carbon copy of the top of the frame, Happ swiped second before taking third on a wild pitch. However, Catamount closer Preston Hatcher was able to strike out Cincinnati's Justin Glass looking to end the threat.
After WCU was sat down in order in the top of the 10th, the Bearcats pulled more two-out magic to get the victory. Securing the first two outs on a fly ball to center and picking off a base runner from first after a walk. A second free pass put Matt Williams aboard ahead of Jeff Murray who singled to put runners at the corners with two away. Playing the percentages, WCU intentionally walked Bearcat catcher Woody Wallace to load the bases only to see the nine-hole hitter Colin Hawk plunked by a pitch, driving in the game-winning run.
Hatcher (0-2) again took the extra innings loss as the eighth different Catamount hurler to throw in Sunday's game. The Atlanta, Ga., native worked two and a third innings in relief, striking out three against three walks while allowing two hits and the one run on the HBP.
Cincinnati reliever Bryan Chenoweth (1-0) picked up the victory out of the bullpen, tossing the final inning and a third of hitless, scoreless relief with two strikeouts.
For a third-straight day, Western Carolina (3-4) jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the first inning Sunday afternoon. Ridings singled to open the first frame and was later driven home on the RBI single to right field by team-leader, White. Jacob Hoyle then singled through the right side to give WCU a two-run advantage with Adam Martin lifting a sacrifice fly to center plate a third run.
However, the lead was short-lived as Cincinnati answered with a three-spot of its own in the bottom of the inning. The Bearcats took advantage of three hits including a two-RBI double by Devin Wenzel. The designated home team added a go-ahead run in the bottom of the second to lead 4-3 after two complete.
In the top of the third, WCU plated the equalizer as Hoyle walked and later scored on an infield RBI ground out by Cody Jones, making it 4-4 through three innings where it would remain until the fourth. Cincinnati (1-5) loaded the bases with no outs and scored two runs on a pair of infield ground outs to pull ahead, 6-4, in the fifth inning.
WCU got one of the markers back in the sixth as Dale Urquhart Jr., drew a one-out walk and eventually came home on one of the four Bearcat errors, clawing back to within a run, 6-5, and setting up the game-tying ninth and finale in the 10th.
White was one of three Catamounts to post a multi-hit game as both he and Hoyle finished 2-for-4 with Ridings also collecting two hits. White drove in two runs for WCU in the loss.
Senior Jon Nadale earned the start but was chased after the three-run, three-hit first inning. Freshman Alex Barr tossed a career-long three innings, allowing two runs on three hits while fanning two. Hunter Brister and Tyler Powell both tossed an inning and a third ahead of Hatcher.
Western Carolina returns to the friendly confines of Childress Field / Hennon Stadium for a two-game, mid-week nonconference set against Longwood. First pitch on both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons is scheduled for 4:00 pm.