March 12, 2004
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Brett Gardner, Byron Barber, Jess Easterling and Chris Campbell each had three RBI to lead the College of Charleston (10-5, 1-0 SoCon) to a 19-3 victory over Western Carolina (8-8, 0-1) Friday afternoon at Childress Field Hennon Stadium. The game was the 2004 conference opener for both teams and was Western's worst defeat at home since suffering a 27-3 setback to Old Dominion in 1995.
The College of Charleston jumped out to an early 2-0 in the top of the second. Easterling drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a single by Brian Hastings. After a strikeout, second baseman Campbell had a double to center, bringing home Easterling and Hastings.
In the bottom of the second, Western cut its deficit in half (2-1). Matt Nelson reached on a fielder's choice, moved to third on a single by Brandon Zollman and scored on a Todd Roper RBI ground out.
In the fourth, the Cougars padded its advantage with six runs to make the score 8-1. Hastings had a leadoff bunt single and, after two ground outs, scored on a wild pitch. With two outs, Phillip Coker was hit by a pitch and would score on consecutive singles by Gardner and Barber. Gardner and Barber would eventually score on a WCU throwing error. After a walk, Easterling delivered a two-run single to left, scoring Anderson and Mark Lyons.
The Cougars tacked on two runs in the fifth, making the score 10-1. With two outs, WCU committed an error to allow Campbell to reach. Coker was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second and Gardner followed with a double to right center, bringing home the two runners. The Cougars put two more runs on the board in the sixth. Barber started the frame with a single. After two outs, Barber scored on a single by Easterling. Hastings and Steve Friend each followed an RBI singles, making the score 13-1.
Charleston made it 14-1 in the top of the seventh, taking advantage of a WCU error. Coker had a leadoff infield single, but moved to second on a WCU throwing error. Back-to-back ground outs, the second an RBI by Barber, plated Coker. The Cougars continued their assault with five runs in the eighth. Lyons and Easterling had singles to start the frame. After a strikeout, Friend doubled to score Lyons. The Cougars took advantage of two WCU errors on one play to score two. Campbell reached on a WCU fielding error, allowing Easterling to score, then a WCU throwing error allowed Friend to score from second. After a fly ball, Gardner delivered a two-out, RBI triple to right-center. Barber followed with an RBI infield single, making the score 19-1.
The Cats put two runs on the board in the bottom of the eighth to provide the final 19-3. Brian Sigmon had a leadoff double and Nelson put runners on first and third with a single. After a strikeout, Dustin Penland brought the two home with a double to left-center.
For the Cougars, Barber led the way with a 4-for-5 performance, while Gardner, Easterling and Hastings each contributed three hits. Reid Price (1-2) pitched seven solid innings to earn the win, allowing four hits, one run and four walks with six strikeouts. Matt Botzum pitched the final two innings for the Cougars.
Western's Jared Greenwood was 2-for-4, while reserve Penland was 2-for-2 with two RBI. Junior pitcher Brad Josey (0-1) took the loss, pitching 3.2 innings. He allowed seven hits and six runs (four earned) with four walks and two strikeouts.
The two teams will resume action Saturday (Mar. 13) at Hennon Stadium with first pitch set for 2 pm.