March 4, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Senior catcher Adam Martin collected a game-high four base hits including his team-leading second home run of the season while classmate Cody Jones matched a career-high with five runs driven in as Western Carolina scored in bunches to upset No. 15 Clemson, 18-10, Tuesday night in nonconference action at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
WCU (8-2) scored all 18 runs before the fifth inning, producing all it would need in a four-inning stretch including a trio of big frames. The Catamounts lit the scoreboard for six runs in the second, a solo marker in the third, seven in the fourth and concluded it's scoring with four in the fifth inning.
The Catamounts led 18-4 entering the top of the ninth inning before the Tigers tacked on six runs to provide the final tally.
Martin slugged out four hits including two for extra bases, finishing just a triple shy of the cycle. The Marietta, Ga., product got the Catamounts rolling in the bottom of the second inning. Trailing by a run after the top of the first, Martin belted the first pitch of his first at bat over the fence in left center for a two-run home run. He finished with three RBI in the victory - his fourth multi-RBI game of the season and third consecutive.
Jones finished 2-for-4 in the win, driving in a run on a second-inning single and helped break the game open with a three-run double to left center as a part of WCU's seven-run fourth, propelling the Catamounts to a 14-3 lead.
Including Martin and Jones, a combined five Catamounts recorded multi-hit games. Taylor Sandefur finished 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and three runs scored while Dykota Spiess went 2-for-4 with an RBI, two walks and scored three times. Jacob Hoyle also collected two hits including a RBI single in the fourth inning.
The offensive explosion was a welcomed sight for freshman starter, Bryan Sammons (3-0) who scored his third victory of the season in his first career start. The Wilmington, N.C., native pitched around four walks with a career-high five strikeouts, surrendering four runs - only three of which were earned - on six hits in a career-long five innings.
Sammons was one of six Catamount hurlers to throw in the win. Senior Jordan Smith faced the minimum in two innings, aided by an Aaron Attaway to Hoyle double-play, with T.J. Fussell working around a lead-off walk with a strikeout and two fly balls for an inning out of the pen. Sophomore Reece Strong made his collegiate pitching debut with classmate relievers Alex Barr and Colton Davis sharing the three outs in the final frame, Davis tallying a strikeout.
Clemson (6-5) jumped out to the early 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Tyler Krieger doubled to left center before scoring on a single to left by Garrett Boulware. The Tiger advantage carried until the home half of the second inning, the first of four-consecutive scoring frames for the home squad.
Hoyle started the onslaught with a lead-off single ahead of Martin who blasted the go-ahead runs on the round-tripper to left as a part of five-straight Catamounts to reach. Three-consecutive walks loaded the bases before a Bradley Strong reached on an error, but drove home a run.
In the third, sophomore J.D. Long ripped a RBI double to left center to bring home Martin who led off the frame with a base knock to stretch the Catamount advantage to six, 7-1.
The Tigers pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning to claw back to within four at 7-3, capitalizing on a pair of hits and two WCU errors. Steve Wilkerson singled and scored in the frame with Jay Baum recording the other Clemson marker.
The decisive inning, though, came in the bottom of the fourth as 11 different Catamount batters strolled to the plate. WCU scored seven runs on six hits - only one of which went for extra bases. Three-straight batters - Hoyle, Martin and Spiess - collected RBI's in succession with WCU loading the bases on a perfectly executed drag bunt down the third base line by Luke Gragg. Strong then drew a run-scoring walk ahead of Jones who delivered the biggest blow with the bases loaded double.
Clemson had four players tally multi-hit games led by Krieger and Wilkerson, both doubling as a part of three-hit performances. Tyler Slaton collected two hits in a 2-for-5 showing. Wilkerson and Jon McGibbon both drove in two runs to lead the visitors.
Freshman starter Alex Bostic (0-1) took the loss for the Tigers, allowing five runs - four earned - on just two hits in an inning of work. He issued three walks against one strikeout before being lifted. Clemson threw 10 different pitchers in the game, walking a combined nine with two hit batters.
Western Carolina returns to action this weekend in tournament play at the Univ. of Georgia and Foley Field. The Catamounts square off against two first-time opponents in North Florida (Friday, 1 pm) and Buffalo (Saturday, 5 pm) before facing the host Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon at 3 pm.