Feb. 26, 2010
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina scored eight runs in the home half of the third inning en route to the fifth-straight win to open the season as the Catamounts throttled Eastern Kentucky, 11-4, Friday afternoon in nonconference action at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. Catamount pitchers combined to record 10 strikeouts against EKU, which was playing for the first time this season.
The win, the Catamounts' fifth-straight, gives Western Carolina its first-ever 5-0 start to a regular season in program history. Game two of the three-game set is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Saturday afternoon.
A combined eight Catamounts drove in runs, including two by catcher Ollie Goulder, while three Catamounts posted multiple hits on Friday. Seniors Dylan de Graaf (2-for-5) and Tyler Kirkpatrick (2-for-5), as well as junior Austin Schultz (2-for-4), each had two base hits in the win. Schultz blasted his team-leading third home run of the season for WCU, and freshman Tyler White legged out his third double of the young season in a 1-for-5 showing.
Starter Jason Sullivan scattered five base hits over six innings for the Catamounts, surrendering four earned runs. The senior worked around a pair of walks with five strikeouts. Transfer Andrew Chilcoat worked two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk while fanning two, and Andrew Blackwell struck out the side in the nine for the Catamounts.
Western Carolina (5-0) climbed on top in the home half of the first inning as de Graaf singled to right center to open the rally and later scored on a two-out ground ball that was booted at third for an unearned tally.
Half an inning latter, Eastern Kentucky tied the game at one with a solo home run to left by Anthony Ottrando.
All eight runs in the WCU third came with one out on the board. Schultz opened the rally with a single and moved to second on an error. The next batter, Ross Heffley, drove him in with a single to right field and scored when White doubled to left. Collias added an RBI double with Goulder plating two runs with a single to right.
After the dust settled from the frame, Western led 9-1 over the Colonels.
EKU added two home runs in the top of the sixth including a two-run shot by Jayson Langfels and Ottrando's second blast to close the gap to 9-4. Yet, WCU added a single run in the bottom of the sixth and Shultz rounded out the scoring with his solo blast in the seventh to provide the final tally.
For the Colonels (0-1), Langfels and Ottrando each posted multi-hit games that included home runs and two RBI apiece. Both of Ottrando's two hits were home runs including a solo shot in the sixth inning after a dropped foul ball for WCU, the Catamounts' lone error in the win.
Western Carolina is scheduled to throw sophomore right-hander Kyle Stewart (0-0, 6.35) on Saturday against EKU's right-hander, Stephen Hefler. First pitch is at 1:00 pm.
Post-Game Notes: - Western Carolina won its fifth-straight game to open the 2010 season ... the Catamount program, despite its tremendous success, had never opened a season at 5-0 ... WCU will vie for the program's best start through six games on Saturday as it has never opened 6-0;
- WCU has homered in all five games to date this season, including one on Friday night by Austin Schultz who leads the squad with three round trippers to date;
- Western Carolina moved Saturday's first pitch to 1:00 pm from the original scheduled time of 2:00 pm because of the Catamount men's basketball game being played in the Ramsey Center at 3:00 pm, live on SportSouth;