March 10, 2013
Davidson, N.C. - Tyler White led four Catamounts with multi-hit outings on Sunday with a 3-for-4 performance, blasting his team-leading sixth home run of the season as Western Carolina claimed a 5-2 victory over the Davidson Wildcats to win its Southern Conference opening series.
White got the Catamounts on the board in the first inning with a two-run home run to left for his two RBI, adding a pair of singles and an intentional walk. Junior Cody Jones collected two extra base hits in a 2-for-5 showing, doubling and hitting his first home run of the season, while Austin Neary (2-for-5) and Luke Gragg (2-for-4) both had two-hit games.
On the mound, left-hander Morgan McKinney (1-1) evened his record on the season, limiting the Wildcats to just one run on three hits through six innings of work. The Gainesville, Fla., product pitched around two walks with six strikeouts in just his second start of the season.
WCU's bullpen worked the final three innings as Tyler Powell struck out three against one base hit in two innings of work while senior Preston Hatcher surrendered one run on a solo home run in the ninth of a non-save situation, striking out one.
After White put the Catamounts (9-7, 2-1 SoCon) on top by two after the top of the first, Davidson answered with a manufactured run in the home half of the second. A lead-off single by Lee Miller followed by a walk to Andrew Barna put two aboard with nobody out in the second frame. Designated hitter Ryan Lowe sacrificed the runners into scoring position with Michael Zeblo driving home Davidson's first run with a sacrifice fly to right field.
WCU's lead remained at just the one run until visitor's half of the sixth inning. Sophomore Jacob Hoyle drew a lead-off walk before advancing to second on an infield ground out by Bryant Noteboom. Junior Luke Gragg, starting his sixth-straight game, singled to center to drive Hoyle home, pushing the Catamount edge back out to two, 3-1.
Solo runs in the top of the seventh and ninth innings handed WCU a 5-1 edge through eight and a half innings. Sophomore Austin Neary singled to right in the seventh to drive home Aaron Attaway to cap a two-out rally. Then in the ninth, Jones belted his first home run of the season with a one-out shot over the fence in right center field for the team's fifth run.
Down to its final three outs, Davidson got a two-out solo home run by Barna to left to provide the final tally, 5-2.
Davidson (6-5, 2-4 SoCon) starter Rob Bain (0-1) took the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits, both walking and striking out two. Barna finished 2-for-3 with the homer, pacing the Wildcats' offense in the series finale.
Amidst a stretch of playing eight of nine games away from home, Western Carolina returns to the friendly confines of Childress Field / Hennon Stadium for the lone home game of that span as it hosts Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday (March 15) evening in Cullowhee. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 pm.