March 14, 2004
Cullowhee, N.C. - College of Charleston pitchers Zach Piccola and Brett Harker combined for the school's first no-hitter as the Cougars concluded a three-game sweep of Western Carolina with a 7-0 victory Sunday afternoon at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium.
Piccola (2-0) took the no-hitter into the ninth inning, but loaded the bases with no outs thanks to a walk, a hit batter and another walk. Brett Harker came in from the Cougar bullpen and got a strikeout, a foul out and a line out to end the game. For the afternoon, Piccola only allowed four walks, while striking out six.
Charleston took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Phillip Coker singled to left field on the first pitch of the game, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third. Byron Barber later drove in Coker on a ground out to second base.
The Cougars padded their advantage with four runs in the top of the second. Leadoff hitter Mark Lyons was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a single by Jess Easterling. Brian Hastings followed with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Lyons. Easterling moved to third on a Steve Friend double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Fairchild. After Coker was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second, Brett Gardner delivered a two-run double to left-center field.
Both teams went down relatively quietly through the middle-to-late innings.
However, Charleston capped the scoring with two runs in the top of the ninth. Easterling started the frame with a single and, after a fly out, Friend hit his first home run of the season and the first of the weekend by either team, scoring Easterling on the play.
Easterling and Friend led the Cougars offensively, each going 3-for-4. Friend also drove in two runners, as did Gardner.
For the Catamounts, Brian Barnes (1-2) suffered the loss. The junior allowed three hits and four runs in 1.1 innings with a strike out. Sophomore Caleb McConnell had a solid pitching performance spoiled in the loss. The Waynesville, N.C., native pitched the final 7.2 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs with no walks and four strike outs.
Western Carolina will start a five-game road swing on Tuesday (Mar. 16), playing at Gardner-Webb (3:00 pm). The Cougars will also hit the road on Tuesday, playing at Mercer at 4 pm.