March 11, 2012
Charleston, S.C. - Western Carolina rallied from a two-run deficit, scoring two runs in the eighth inning on RBI singles by both Jacob Hoyle and Bryant Noteboom to claim Sunday's rubber-match with The Citadel, 6-5, while also winning taking the series over the Bulldogs.
Trailing by a run, 5-4, junior Tyler White - who led the team with a .636 batting average (7-for-11) and an impressive .750 on-base percentage on the weekend - reached on an infield error to open the eighth inning. Senior Ross Heffley drew his third walk of the day to put two aboard ahead of Hoyle who entered the weekend leading the SoCon in RBI. The Hickory, N.C., native delivered on a 3-1 pitch, punching it up the middle to allow White to race home from second with the game-tying run.
Next batter, Noteboom, drove in what proved to be the game-winning run on a 0-2 pitch, singling through the left side to score Heffley from third to put the Catamounts ahead.
Heffley recorded the first two outs of the ninth inning on a ground out throw from second to first and then caught a line drive to quickly put two away. Joe Jackson laced a two-out single up the middle, by Bradley Strong recorded the final out across the diamond to secure the victory.
Preston Hatcher (2-0) tossed the final two and one third innings of the game to score the victory for the Catamounts on Sunday afternoon. The Atlanta, Ga., native held the Bulldogs off the scoreboard, allowing just two hits with a walk and a strikeout. Freshman Jeremy Null factored in a no-decision after tossing the first four frames, pitching around two walks with five strikeouts. Adam Curtis threw two and two thirds of middle relief with a walk and strikeout before giving way to Hatcher.
Three Catamounts recorded two-hit games as Heffley finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and three walks including one intentional pass. The Snellville, Ga., native added a pair of stolen bases to give him a team-best seven on the year. Howell also drove in two runs on a 2-for-6 performance while White was 2-for-4 with two walks.
Western Carolina (12-4, 2-1 SoCon) got off to a good start with a run in the top of the first inning, capitalizing on Heffley's first walk and stolen base. Hoyle delivered a full-count single through the right side to plate the senior infielder, giving the Catamounts the early 1-0 lead.
The Citadel answered in the second as Drew DeKerlegand doubled to right center to score Justin Mackert. An infield ground out later plated DeKerlegand from third as the Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead through two innings.
White opened the top of the third with a single up the middle and later took second on a failed pickoff attempt at first base. Heffley then scorched a double down the left field line to knot the game at two as White raced home.
The tie was short-lived, though, as the home squad reclaimed its advantage with a solo home run to right center by Joe Jackson, his first collegiate homer. Not to be out done in the top of the fourth, Catamount freshman Dale Urquhart recorded his first career round-tripper, fighting off a first pitch breaking ball for a home run to right field to tie the game at three.
Mackert broke the tie in the fifth inning with his second home run of the series, belting a two-run shot to left center to give the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead through five innings.
Western Carolina got one of the runs back in the sixth inning as Aaron Attaway poked a two-out single down the left field line ahead of White who drew a free pass to put two aboard. Heffley then came through with his second two-bagger of the game, doubling to left center to score Attaway and close the gap to one, 5-4, setting up the eighth inning heroics.
WCU stranded 16 runners during the game while The Citadel left six on base.
Bulldog starter Logan Cribb factored in a no-decision after throwing six innings, allowing four runs - three of which were earned - on seven hits. He worked around three walks with five strikeouts. Ross White (0-3), the second reliever out of The Citadel's bullpen, was tagged with the loss, surrendering two unearned runs on two hits in a third of an inning of work.
Jackson and Mackert combined for four of The Citadel's eight hits with Mackert drive in a pair on a 2-for-2 showing, also walking twice.
Western Carolina has just one mid-week game this week as it hosts No. 17 Clemson and former WCU head coach Jack Leggett at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 pm.