March 10, 2012
Charleston, S.C. -
Western Carolina erupted for seven runs in the first two innings before stretching the lead with three more in the top of the ninth to even the three-game Southern Conference series with The Citadel with an 11-4 victory Saturday afternoon at Riley Park.
The rubber-match in the three-game conference series is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon at Riley Park. The game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard online at www.CatamountSports.com with a 12:45 pm air time.
Four Catamounts finished with multi-hit games including three with three hits apiece as WCU pounded out 15 hits to pick-up the victory. Earning the start behind the plate, freshman Connor Andrus delivered two doubles to drive in three runs as a part of a 3-for-5 showing at the plate to lead WCU. He was joined with three hits by junior Tyler White (3-of-4) and sophomore Aaron Attaway (3-for-6), while Ross Heffley tallied two hits on a 2-for-4 showing, scoring twice.
Starting pitcher Morgan McKinney (3-1) scored the victory after scattering four hits over five innings while limiting the Bulldogs to one run. The Gainesville, Fla., native worked around four walks with a pair of strikeouts in his third win of the year. Three Catamount relievers including Hunter Brister and Tyler Powell combined to close the game with Preston Hatcher tossing the final inning and two-thirds to shutdown any chance of The Citadel rallying, fanning two out of the bullpen.
Western Carolina (11-4, 1-1 SoCon) pushed across three runs in the top of the first inning. White lifted a one-out single to left center before advancing to second on a wild pitch and to third on a balk. Heffley then drove a 2-2 pitch to left field for an RBI single to put the Catamounts on the board. With Heffley on second, Bryant Noteboom singled through the right side to drive in the second run, with Andrus doubling to the fence in right to plate the third run of the frame.
An inning later, the Catamounts would chase starting pitcher James Reeves with back-to-back singles by Dale Urquhart
and Cody Jones
to put two aboard after just eight pitches. Reliever Zach Sherrill was greeted by a double-steal as Jones swiped second with Grant Richards' throw from home to second allowing Urquhart to scamper home for a 4-0 advantage.
Two batters later, White was hit by a pitch with Heffley drawing his team-leading 14th walk of the season to load the bases. Freshman Jacob Hoyle delivered a sacrifice fly for his team-best 25th RBI to stretch the Catamount edge to five runs with Andrus singling to right to drive in two more runs before the end of the second to plate White and Heffley, giving WCU a 7-0 lead through two.
The Citadel scratched the scoreboard in the home half of the second to trim the margin back to six as Mason Davis drove home pinch runner Hayden Hendry on a single to left field, making it 7-1. Davis led the Bulldogs with a 2-for-3 showing at the plate, reaching base four times including two walks.
WCU got the run back in the fourth as Attaway singled and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-1 through four innings which is where the margin stood until the seventh. The Citadel scored one run on two hits to pull back with six at 8-2 as Justin Mackert driving home Nick Orvin on an RBI double to left center.
Trailing by six, the Bulldogs managed to cut the Catamount advantage in half with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, 8-4. However, half an inning later, Western Carolina pushed across three insurance runs to provide the final tally at 11-4.
Andrus started the ninth inning rally with a double down the right field line where he was lifted for pinch runner Garrett Brown who promptly stole third base for his fourth theft of the year. With two aboard, Julian Ridings laid down the perfect squeeze bunt, reaching first safely as Brown scored to start the rally. Attaway singled up the middle to score Adam Martin who walked, with White later driving home Ridings for the three-run rally.
First pitch of game three is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon.