March 1, 2009
Los Angeles, Calif. - Junior Brent Greer went 3-for-3 while sophomore Tyler Kirkpatrick had a 3-for-5 day at the plate with two RBI as Western Carolina beat the No. 24 USC Trojans, 9-3, Sunday to win the nonconference series at Dedeaux Field. True freshman Ross Heffley added two doubles for the Catamounts to finish with five hits in the series, four for extra bases.
For the three-game series, the Catamounts out-hit the Trojans 29-to-19 with a .374 batting average. Also, WCU did not commit an error in the series versus 10 miscues for USC.
Senior Corey Martin earned the win in his start for WCU (5-1), throwing five scoreless innings and allowing four hits with five walks and one strikeout. Sophomore Matt Benedict and junior Daniel Ottone had a scoreless inning in relief, with Friday's hero, senior Garrett Ozar, tossing two innings with two strikeouts while surrendering all three Trojan runs, only two of which were earned
USC fell to 3-4 on the season as the Trojans committed five errors in the game.
Western led 5-0 until a three-spot for the home squad in the bottom of the eighth closed the game to within two runs. However, the Catamounts bounced back with four runs in the top of the ninth, capitalizing on two hits and three of USC's errors to secure the victory.
Greer and Kirkpatrick led off the second inning with back-to-back singles off starter Anthony Vasquez. Junior transfer Trevor Collias grounded into a 6-3 double play, but scored Greer for the game's first run. Heffley hit his first double to lead off the WCU fourth and scored on J.C. Lyons' RBI single, who advanced to second when USC first baseman Keith Castillo mishandled the throw from center. Greer then singled and Kirkpatrick brought home Lyons with an RBI single. With the bases loaded, Dylan de Graaf hit a chopper to second as Trojan second baseman Joe De Pinto bobbled the ball to score the Catamounts' fourth run of the game.
After Heffley's RBI double for a 5-0 lead in the seventh, the Trojans got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth. Robert Stock blasted a two-run homer to right and pinch hitter Ricky Oropesa brought home Vasquez with an RBI groundout. WCU responded with the four-run ninth to close out the series win.
Western Carolina wraps up its four-game California road swing on Tuesday, March 3 when it visits San Diego, which is ranked as high as No. 11 in the Baseball America poll. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 pm PT / 5:00 pm.