March 7, 2010
Greenville, N.C. - Western Carolina made a ninth-inning rally, but fell short as the Catamounts lost to No. 14/21 East Carolina, 5-4, in tight contest on Sunday in the Keith LeClair Classic.
WCU (8-2) held a one run lead for four innings before the Pirates (7-3) hit a pair of back-to-back home runs to take the lead. Western Carolina narrowed a three-run deficit to just one run with a man in scoring position in the top of the ninth. However, the Catamounts fell short as ECU forced a fly out to right field to end the contest.
Freshman Tyler White led WCU with a 3-for-4 afternoon. The first baseman from Forest City, N.C., laced a single in the infield, in the third inning, to give the Catamounts the go-ahead lead at 2-1. White has a nine-game hit streak. Also, the rook has recorded three hits or more in 10 contests this season.
Senior Dylan de Graaf played a pivotal role in the lead-off spot with a 2-for-5 afternoon and tallying a run. de Graaf scored the first run for the Catamounts in the contest after reaching on base with a single.
Tyler Kirkpatrick extended his hit streak to ten games with a single in the seventh. The senior infielder managed a 1-for-3 night with a walk. Austin Schultz and Cory Cronan also got on board with doubles in the game.
Left-hander Vance Chavis (2-1, 2.91 ERA) took the loss after a solid outing. Chavis gave up just two earned runs on three hits with five strikeouts in six and two-thirds innings pitched.
Reliever Andrew Chilcoat allowed the leadoff runner on board in the eighth, before Mat Batts entered the contest. After a wild pitch, ECU extended their lead to 4-2. Brandon Johnson gave up home run later in the inning as ECU jumped ahead, 5-2.
Western Carolina battled in the ninth as Radley Haddad and Kirkpatrick both walked to begin the inning. Cronan's critical double to right allowed Haddad to score. Trevor Collias would record a sac fly to drive in Kirkpatrick and move the tying run to third. ECU closer Seth Simmons ended the threat by forcing de Graaf to fly out to right field.
ECU's Seth Maness (1-2) took home his first win of the year, giving up just two earned runs on eight hits in seven and a third innings tossed. Simmons earned his third save after conceding two runs on two hits in an inning and two-thirds.
The Catamounts wrapped up a successful weekend after defeating two power-six programs in West Virginia and Illinois to place second in the round robin event. Western Carolina returns to the friendly confines of Childress Field / Hennon Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday as they host Southern Illinois - Edwardsville. Both games are scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. first pitch.