Feb. 28, 2006
Cullowhee, N.C. - Of Western Carolina's 18 hits, 11 were for extra bases, including seven doubles, three home runs and a triple, to power past region rival UNC Asheville Tuesday afternoon at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium. Steven Strausbaugh, who hit his fourth blast in six games, Barrett Shaft and Trey McDaniel each homered as the trio combined for 10 of WCU's 16 RBI in the game.
Western Carolina took an early 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Tim Hallam had a leadoff double, advanced on a ground out and scored on Strausbaugh's sacrifice fly to center.
The Bulldogs answered in the top of the second. John Whited delivered a two out single and moved to second on the play on a throwing error. Kyle Smith followed with an RBI double to left. UNCA then took a 2-1 lead in the third. Johnny Martinez had a one-out single, while Elliott Arrington walked and Brett Robinson was hit by a pitch to load the bases and chase Catamount starter Corey Martin. Martinez would score on a passed ball, but WCU relief pitcher Mike Buda got a strikeout and a ground out to end the threat.
In the home half of the third, the Cats regained the advantage with a five spot in the frame, making the score 6-2. WCU strung together five straight hits to score four runs, including a single by Donnie Wilson, a triple by Hallam, a double by Shaft, a single by Strausbaugh and a double by Scott Ward, who was 3-for-4 on the day. After a strikeout, McDaniel got the Cats back on track with an RBI double to cap the scoring in the inning.
After avoiding a bases loaded jam without allowing a run in the top of the fourth, Western padded its advantage with five runs in the fourth. After a leadoff double by Wilson, Shaft, who had three hits, hit a two-run home run to right, his first blast of the season. Jonathan Greene welcomed new UNCA pitcher Andrew Alexander with an RBI single, followed by a two-run double by Blake Murphy.
In the fifth, UNCA cut into its deficit, scoring two runs to make the score 11-4. Robinson had a leadoff double and scored one batter later on Charles Pippitt's two-run homer, his second of the season. However, the Catamounts used the long ball in the bottom of the fifth to take a 14-4 lead. Strausbaugh's three-run blast marked his fourth home run of the season.
UNCA's Anderson, the designated hitter, made it a 14-5 game in the top of the sixth on a one-out, solo home, marking his first round-tripper of the season. In the bottom of the seventh, McDaniel hit a WCU's third home run of the game and his second of the season, putting the Cats up 16-5.
Junior college transfer Tyler Johnson (1-0) was credited with the win. He pitched 1.2 innings in relief, allowing a solo home run with two strikeouts. Brandon McDowell, Bryan Corbett and Greg Holland pitched the final three innings, allowing just one hit between the three.
Bulldog starter Ben Buchanan (0-3) suffered the loss. He pitched 3.1 innings and allowed 10 hits and 10 runs with two walks and a strikeout. Offensively, Anderson, Kyle Smith and Matt Henson each had two hits, while Pippitt drove in two.
Western Carolina will hit the road for a nine-game road swing, not returning to Cullowhee until hosting Princeton in a doubleheader on Mar. 18. The nine-game road swing starts Friday at Charleston Southern. After three games with the Buccaneers (Mar. 3-5), Western will travel up the coast to play at UNC Wilmington for two games (Mar. 7-8), then play at Elon (Mar. 10-12) in the teams' SoCon opener and conclude the swing with a game at Georgia on Mar. 15.