Feb. 28, 2004
Cullowhee, N.C. - Down 6-5 in the bottom of the fifth of game one, WCU senior second baseman Todd Roper hit his first career home run -a three-run blast - and the Catamounts held on for a 17-11 victory over Wagner. Western (4-4) came back to score 10 first-innings runs and cruised to a 15-3 win on game two, sweeping a Saturday doubleheader with the Seahawks (0-2) at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium.
Roper not only hit his first career homer, but became the first player to clear the 20-foot section of the newly installed "Purple Monster" in left field. The Greenville, S.C., native finished game one by going 3-of-6 at the plate with four RBI and three runs scored. He was 1-of-4 in game two, scoring three runs.
Wagner jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, chasing WCU starter Brad Josey through three innings. Josey allowed five hits and four runs, while walking two. Western did score three in the bottom of the second and two in the third to take a 5-4 lead. However, the WCU pitching continued to struggle and Alex Obert, who started the fourth inning for the Cats, allowed three hits and two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Now with Wagner leading 6-5, Roper provided his three-run blast to put the Cats back on top, 8-6.
Wagner would add single runs in the sixth and seventh inning, tying the game at 8-8. Freshman Matt Teague, who was pitching in the seventh when Wagner tied the game, was credited with the win thanks to five Catamount runs in the bottom of the seventh, giving WCU a 13-8 lead. Teague, who allowed four hits and three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings, was unable to close things out, giving way to Derrick Hawk with one out in the eighth. Hawk only allowed one hit and one unearned run in his 1.2 innings to pick up his first save of the season.
Offensively for the Cats in addition to Roper, Chris Davis went 5-for-6 with two RBI, while Denver Edick, Brian Sigmon and Matt Nelson each added three hits. Blake Murphy was 2-of-5 and drove in four. For the Seahawks, Joey Malfettano had two doubles in their 2004 season opener. He finished with three hits, while Nick Papa, Troy Sogluizzo, Sean Ferguson and Michael Picrello each had two hits.
In game two. Eryk McConnell (2-0) picked up where he left off last week, pitching his second consecutive strong game. McConnell only pitched 3.0 innings, allowing three hits and zero runs, and struck out two. The Cats took advantage of an early 13-0 lead through two innings to get extra work for their bullpen as five pitchers threw the final six innings, allowing a combined seven hits, three runs and one walk with four strikeouts.
In the first, Western scored 10 runs on seven hits. in the second, Western pushed three runs across the plate without the benefit of a base hit. Wagner, who committed an error in the frame, saw pitchers Jon Polonitza and Dan Lanzano combine for four walks and four wild pitches to give the Cats a 13-0 lead.
The Seahawks got on the board with two runs in the fifth and one in the seventh to make the score 13-3. The Cats provided the final margin with two runs in the bottom of the eighth.
In game two, Jared Greenwood was 2-of-4 with three RBI and Brandon Zollman was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Edick, who was officially 1-for-1 in game two, drove in three and scored twice. Alex Gary added two RBI as well.
Wagner was led by Chris Dick, Matt Mastianni and Joseph Mercurrio as each collected two hits.
The two teams will return to the diamond Sunday for a single game. First pitch is set for Noon.