March 2, 2003
Cullowhee, N.C. - Senior Alan Beck had a two-run home run and a key defensive play to lead Western Carolina to a 4-3 victory over Liberty Sunday afternoon at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium. With the win, the Catamounts (7-5) complete a weekend series sweep of the Flames (1-4) and improve to 7-0 at home.
With Western trailing 2-0 through 3.5 innings, senior Rod Goldston started the home half of the fourth with a leadoff walk. Facing an 0-2 count, Beck broke up the no-hitter with a blast over the left-center field fence to tie the contest at 2-2. The homer was Beck's fourth of the season and 31st for his career. He additionally leads the Cats with 15 RBI this year, while his career total of 166 ranks seventh on the WCU all-time list.
After Beck's homer, Todd Buchanan, who leads the team with a .422 batting average, followed with a double down the right field line, moved to third on a Brian Sigmon single and scored on a Wayne Kilmer RBI ground out. Sigmon, who had stolen second, advanced on Kilmer's ground out and scored what proved to be the winning run on a balk.
Liberty got on the scoreboard first as Larry Wayne York started the game with leadoff single. He later scored on a two-run home run to left by catcher Erich Cloninger. The Flames only threatened two other times until the ninth, but WCU turned a double play in the fourth and left two LU baserunners stranded in the fifth.
In the ninth, Liberty got a leadoff single by Chad Bryan, but he was erased on a Jeremiah Boles fielder's choice. Doug Bechtold followed with a walk, putting runners at first and second. Pinch hitter Joshua Butcher moved the runners to second and third on a ground out to first. Liberty's number nine hitter David Bote singled the left, plating Boles and making the score 4-3, but D. Bechtold was thrown out at home by Beck to record the game's final out. This marked the second time in two weeks that Beck, who has four assists this season, had hit a home run and thrown a player out at the plate in the same game.
Buchanan led the Catamount offense with two of the team's five hits. Liberty, who out-hit the Cats 10-5, got two hits each from York, Cloninger and Bryan.
WCU starter Brad Josey (2-0) earned the win. The sophomore gave up eight hits and two runs in 6.2 innings with zero walks and four strikeouts. Sylva native Derrick Hawk had a solid performance in middle relief, striking out three of the four batters he faced in 1.1 innings. Senior Ryan Foster pitched the ninth and picked up his first save of the season and the 15th of his career, allowing two hits, one run and a walk. With his next save, he will tie Ward Withrow for third on the WCU all-time list, needing five more saves to become the school's all-time leader.
Liberty starter David Bechtold (0-1) suffered the loss. He lasted 7.1 innings and surrendered five hits, four runs and two walks with six strikeouts. Michael Schaeffer pitched the final two-thirds with no hits or runs allowed.
Western Carolina will continue its current homestand by hosting region rival UNC Asheville on Wednesday. First pitch is set for 3 pm.