March 5, 2010
Greenville, N.C. - Right-hander Jason Sullivan pitched a three-hit complete game shutout to give Western Carolina the 1-0 victory over Big East foe West Virginia in game one of the seventh annual Keith LeClair Classic at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Friday's victory continued the Catamounts' best start in school history as WCU improved to 7-1. West Virginia dropped to 2-6 with the loss.
Sullivan (3-0) allowed only three hits in the contest as he inked his first complete game shutout of his career. The right-hander fanned eight Mountaineers in the victory, just one shy of his previous career-mark set against Gardner-Webb on Feb. 19.
Senior Tyler Kirkpatrick scored the lone run in the contest with his solo home run to left field in the third inning.
With Sullivan's complete game, Catamount starters have recorded two consecutive complete games. Last Sunday against Eastern Kentucky, left-hander Vance Chavis went the full nine innings as WCU defeated EKU, 5-4.
"That game was all about Jason Sullivan commanding the strike zone with three pitches," noted Catamounts coach Bobby Moranda. "He was outstanding. He made some huge pitches with runners in scoring position."
Kirkpatrick, a native of Charlotte, N.C., anchored his fourth roundtripper of the season to lead the Catamounts. On the year, the senior infielder has notched a team-high 14 hits and is tied for the team lead in RBI with eight. Kirkpatrick has recorded a hit in all eight contests this season.
Western Carolina notched two of their three hits in the ninth as Ross Heffley and Tyler White both hit singles off of West Virginia reliever Chris Enourato. The righty settled down to retire Austin Schultz with a fly out to right field.
"I thought we played great defense," said Moranda. "We made some good plays. Tyler Kirkpatrick had a big hit. It was great to get a win over a solid power-six program."
Mountaineer starter Jarryd Summers threw eight complete innings, giving up just one hit with 11 strikeouts in the contest.
In total, WVU managed three hits in the game, including a pair hit by freshman Matt Frazer. Frazer led off with a single in the bottom of the second and advanced to second before Sullivan retired the next two Mountaineers. Later in the fourth, Frazer would hit a two-out single to right field before Matt Malloy would ground out to third to end the inning. The biggest WVU offensive threat came in the sixth when Grant Buckner doubled down the left field line. Buckner would again be stranded as Sullivan fanned another Mountaineer to retire the side.
Western Carolina will play Big Ten opponent Illinois on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Right-hander Kyle Stewart (0-0, 6.97 ERA) will be on the mound for the Catamounts. GameTracker will be available online at CatamountSports.com.