March 5, 2003
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina shortstop Wayne Kilmer went 3-for-4, including a three-run home run, to help the Catamounts defeat region rival UNC Asheville Wednesday afternoon at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium. Western, winners of seven straight, improved to 8-5 on the year, while the Bulldogs fall to 3-7.
The two teams combined for seven runs in the second inning. UNCA got a leadoff single by Bill Carley, then Steve Burnich delivered a one-out infield single. After a sacrifice bunt, Jake McGoniga singled to center, plating Carley and Burnich. McGoniga ended up on third on his single, thanks to a Catamount error, and later scored on another WCU miscue to make the score 3-0.
In the bottom half of the inning, Western got a leadoff walk by catcher Denver Edick, who advanced to second on a balk. On the next pitch, sophomore designated hitter Jimmy Cochran drove in Edick with a single to center. Clint Ramsey followed with a walk to put runners on first and second. UNCA starter Brad Beck appeared to be in the clear after striking out Alex Gary, who had two hits in the game, and Chris Davis. However, Kilmer took a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall to make the score 4-3.
The Catamounts put a pair of insurance runs on the board in the third, which proved to be the difference in the ballgame. After a one-out single by Todd Buchanan, Edick, who drew three of WCU's four walks on the day, once again walked to put runners on first and second. Two batters later, Weaverville's Clint Ramsey had a two-run double to left to make the score 6-3.
The teams only combined for five hits over the next five innings. However, with one out in the ninth, the Bulldogs' bats began to produce. Pinch hitter Josh Coyle doubled down the left field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Then, pinch hitter Charles Pippitt delivered a two-out, seeing-eye single through the right side to drive in Coyle. McGoniga followed with a single to right to put runners on the corners. A second wild pitch in the inning allowed Pippitt to score. UNCA catcher Grant Rembert walked, chasing WCU pitcher Ryan Foster. Sylva native Derrick Hawk got Steve Sherman to hit into a fielder's choice to end the game.
Seth Foster started on the mound for Catamounts, but did not factor in the decision, giving up six hits and three runs (two earned) with two stikeouts in two innings. Relief pitcher Joe Camac (1-1) pitched the third and fourth innings and was credited with the win. The senior did not allow a hit or a run and struck out three of the seven batters he faced. A trio of WCU pitchers kept the Bulldogs in check through the middle part of the game. Alex Obert allowed a hit in one inning. Ryan Basner worked the sixth and seventh innings, allowing no hits, runs or walks with two strikeouts. Ryan Foster started the ninth and gave up three hits, two runs and a walk with two strikeouts. Hawk, a transfer from Spartanburg Methodist, got his only batter faced out to pick up his first save as a Catamount.
UNC Asheville out-hit the Catamounts 10-9, thanks to three hits by Sherman and two by McGoniga. Beck (0-2) took the loss for the Bulldogs, giving up five hits and six runs in 2.2 innings with three walks and four strikeouts. Relief pitchers Seth Denton and Dustin Sode closed the game out. Denton surrendered four hits in 4.1 innings, but did not allow a run, while Sode used a double-play to pitch a 1-2-3 eighth.
Western Carolina will begin the Southern Conference portion of its schedule this weekend with a three-game set versus The Citadel. The Cats and Bulldogs will play single games on Friday (3 pm), Saturday (2 pm) and Sunday (1 pm) at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium.