March 8, 2014
Athens, Ga. -
Western Carolina baseball suffered its second-straight loss at the Georgia Bulldog Invitational on Saturday, dropping a 5-4 decision to the Buffalo Bulls at Foley Field. Buffalo scored all five of its runs in the first four innings while holding off each Catamount surge to earn the win.
Western Carolina (8-4) concludes tournament play against the tournament host, Georgia, on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 pm.
Two Catamounts finished with two-hit games as senior Dykota Spiess went 2-for-4 with a run scored and junior catcher Danny Bermudez was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run. Junior Bradley Strong drove in two runs on a 1-for-2 showing with a run-scoring HBP and a ninth-inning single. Senior Cody Jones also plated a run on a HBP with senior Aaron Attaway driving in one on a sacrifice fly.
As the designated home team in the neutral field meeting, Buffalo (7-2) tallied single runs in the bottom of the first two innings to lead 2-0 through two frames. A Catamount error aided the Bulls run in the first inning with a single and three-straight walks driving in the second.
WCU responded in the top of the third with a two-spot to knot the game at two apiece. Three-straight one-out freebies loaded the bases for the Purple and Gold as Bermudez and Reese Strong both walked ahead of Bradley Strong who was plunked by a pitch. The next batter, Cody Jones, was also hit by a pitch to bring home the Catamounts' first run with Aaron Attaway lifting a sacrifice fly to center to drive in the game-tying marker.
However, the Bulls matched WCU's two-run top of the third with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to reclaim the 4-2 edge before stretching it with a solo run in the bottom of the fourth.
Trailing 5-2, the Catamounts tried to rally in the top of the seventh inning. Pinch hitting freshman Matt Smith was hit by a pitch to start the rally. Bermudez lifted a single to center to put two aboard with nobody out. Reese Strong sacrificed the runners to second and third base for the first out ahead of his older brother, Bradley, who drove a run-scoring sacrifice fly to left to bring home a run and make it 5-3.
In the ninth, the Catamounts were able to pull back to within a run as Spiess singled and was driven home on a single by Bradley Strong. However, even with runners at first and second, WCU couldn't find the equalizer in falling, 5-4.
Freshman Nate Williams (0-1) took the loss in his first career start. He allowed four runs, only three of which were earned, on four hits with three walks against a career-best three strikeouts. Sophomore Jonathan Waszak tossed one inning with a run allowed on three hits and a strikeout with freshman B.J. Nobles also facing two batters out of the bullpen.
Senior T.J. Fussell held the Bulls scoreless over the final 4.2 innings of two-hit relief, striking out eight batters.
Buffalo's starter Anthony Magovney (2-0) scattered four hits over 6.1 innings of three-run baseball while striking out seven to pick-up the win. Ben Hartz scored his first save of the year, tossing the final 2.2 innings while allowing the one run in the ninth inning and a total of three hits with a strikeout.
WCU was out hit in the game, 10-to-7, with seven singles for the Catamounts.