March 13, 2004
Cullowhee, N.C. - The College of Charleston, led by Brian Hastings and Jess Easterling, scored five runs in the top of the fourth inning and held on for an 11-10 victory over Western Carolina Saturday afternoon at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium. The Cougars improve to 11-5 overall and 2-0 in the Southern Conference, while the Catamounts fall to 8-9, 0-2.
Hasting was 4-for-5 with two RBI on the day, while Easterling drove in four on two hits.
Western took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Todd Roper singled to start the home half and Chris Davis followed with a walk. Third hitter Denver Edick executed a hit-and-run, scoring Roper and moving Davis to third. Jared Greenwood followed suit with an RBI single to right-center, once again putting runners on the corners. Alex Gary plated Edick with a sacrifice fly to right for the 3-0 Catamount lead.
The Cougars got on the board with three runs in the top of the second. Brett Anderson had a leadoff double and, after a bunt single by Mark Lyons, scored on a Easterling sacrifice fly. Back-to-back doubles by Hastings and Steven Friend knotted the score at 3-3.
Western regained the advantage with four runs in the bottom of the second, making the score 7-3. The Cats loaded the bases when Matt Nelson was hit by a pitch, Roper walked and Davis singled to left. Nelson scored on balk by CofC starting pitcher Kevin Bulger. After a ground out, WCU loaded the bases once again with a Greenwood walk, chasing Bulger from the game. New Cougar pitcher Nick Chigges came in and walked Alex Gary to score Roper. Brian Sigmon followed with a two-run single up the middle.
Charleston bounced back with three unearned runs in the top of the third, cutting the CofC deficit to one (7-6). Brett Gardner started the frame by reaching on a WCU error. Anderson singled, as did Lyons, the latter scoring Gardner. Hastings followed with a single to center, plating both Anderson and Lyons.
In the bottom of the third, the Cats took advantage of two Cougar errors to score two runs. Matt Nelson led off with an infield single and moved to second on the play thanks to a CofC throwing error. Three batters later, Edick reached on a two-base Cougar error, allowing Nelson to score. Greenwood followed with an RBI single to right.
Charleston took its first lead of the game with five runs in the top of the fourth, making the score 11-9. With one out, Gardner singled and would get to third on an infield single by Barber. Anderson collected his third hit of the game, driving in Gardner in the process. A walk to Lyons loaded the bases and Easterling followed with a three-run double down the left field line. Campbell, who was the ninth batter in the inning, capped the scoring with an RBI infield single to shortstop.
Western cut its deficit to one (11-10) in the bottom of the eighth. Roper and Davis had back-to-back singles and each moved up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by Edick. Greenwood followed with a sac fly to center, plating Roper.
In the top of the ninth, Easterling and Hastings had consecutive singles to start the inning. However, new WCU pitcher Derrick Hawk escaped the threat after a sac bunt, a strikeout and a fly out. Western's Wayne Kilmer tried to get the Cats going with a one-out infield single in the bottom of the ninth, but Cougar relief pitcher Brett Harker got Catamount pinch hitter Dustin Penland to ground out into a game-ending double play.
Harker picked up his second save of the season, pitching the final 2.0 innings. Fellow relief pitcher Nick Chigges (1-1) picked up the win, pitching 5.2 innings with four hits, three runs (one earned), a walk and nine strikeouts.
For the Catamounts, Roper, Davis, Greenwood and Sigmon each had two hits. Greenwood added three RBI, while Gary and Sigmon each drove in two. Eryk McConnell (2-1) suffered the loss, lasting 3.1 innings and allowing 10 hits and 10 runs (seven earned) with a walk and four strikeouts.
The teams will conclude their three-game set with a single game on Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 pm.