March 3, 2006
Charleston, S.C. -
Western Carolina's Steven Strausbaugh was 3-for-3 with two home runs and RBI in the first two innings, giving the Catamounts an 8-0 early lead. However, Charleston Southern scored 14 unanswered, including five in the third inning, four in the fourth and five in the fifth, to claim a 15-11 victory Friday afternoon at Buccaneer field.
Western jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first. After a one-out single by Barrett Shaft, Strausbaugh sent the first pitch he saw over the left field fence.
The Cats padded their advantage with six runs in the top of the second. Trey McDaniel had a leadoff single, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single to center by Grey Gregory. Gregory, who stole second base and third base, scored on Donnie Wilson's single. From that point, Western took advantage of two errors to extend the inning. Wilson advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt then scored on Tim Hallam's triple. Hallam then scored when Shaft reached on an error. Then, for the second time in two innings, Strausbaugh delivered a two-run home run, this time clearing the left-center field fence to give the sophomore six home runs in seven games.
In the bottom of the third, the Buccaneers got on the board, scoring five runs on five singles with a walk and a hit batter. Helio Burgos started things with a one-out walk. After he stole second, Ryan Smart singled to center. Later, with the bases loaded, Justin Fyle singled to drive in one and keep the bases loaded. Anthony Hayes then delivered a two-run single to center. David Perkins would trim the deficit to three with an RBI single to center.
After scoring five in the third, Charleston Southern took a 9-8 lead in the fourth, scoring four runs on five singles. Burgos had a leadoff bloop single and moved to third on a Sean Doherty single. Wes Brundridge plated Burgos with a single up the middle. Fyle followed with single, putting runners at second and third. After a fly out, Perkins drove in Brundridge. On the play, there was a Catamount error, allowing Fyle to score and giving CSU the one-run advantage.
The Bucs kept the offense rolling in the fifth, scoring five runs to take a 14-8 lead. With one out, Burgos and Smart singled and Doherty was hit my a pitch to load the bases. Brundridge then came through with CSU's first extra base hit, driving in two with a double to left center. Fyle followed with an RBI bloop single to center. Hayes made its 14 unanswered runs with a two-run double to left.
The Cats ended their drought in the top of the sixth. Strausbaugh had a leadoff, infield single and Scott Ward followed with a walk. With one out, McDaniel singled to left to bring home Strausbaugh. Western would load the bases, but relief pitcher Brandon Roberts got a fly out and a strikeout to end the threat.
In the seventh, Western added two runs. Hallam had a leadoff walked, followed by a Shaft double. Andy John, pinch hitting for an injured Strausbaugh and entering the game with an 0-1 count, made it back-to-back doubles, plating both Hallam and Shaft on the second pitch he saw. (Strausbaugh was injured while beating out an infield single in the sixth and left in the seventh after swinging and aggravating the injury.)
Charleston Southern added an insurance run in the eighth to provide the final margin.
In addition to Strausbaugh, Western's offense was paced by Hallam, Shaft, McDaniel and Murphy, each of whom had two hits. Caleb McConnell (0-1) suffered the loss.
Western Carolina will return to Buccaneer field Saturday at 1 pm to play game two of the three-game set.