March 14, 2009
Charleston, S.C. -
Brent Greer drove in three runs as a part of a game-high 4-for-5 performance at the plate and Chris Masters only allowed two runs on three base hits as Western Carolina evened the three-game Southern Conference series with the College of Charleston with an 8-2 victory Saturday afternoon at Patriot's Point.
The win snapped Western's nine-game losing skid - which dated back to 2003 - to the College of Charleston at Patriots Point. It also ended the Cougars' 19-game home winning streak which was the longest in the nation entering the day.
Game three of the conference series has been moved up to Noon on Sunday in an attempt to avoid inclement weather expected for the South Carolina Lowcountry. The game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard locally in Cullowhee on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 and online at www.WWCUFM.com. Air time is 11:45 pm.
Masters (2-1) was brilliant for Western in the victory, working 6.2 innings and surrendering just three singles on the afternoon. The Marietta, Ga., native struck out seven against four walks. Senior Garrett Ozar earned his first save of the year after working the final 2.1 innings of hitless, scoreless relief with a pair of strikeouts.
Greer finished with three singles and a double off the left field wall to pace the Catamounts, while sophomore Matt Johns hit 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. The duo also combined to turn a double-play in the bottom of the ninth inning. Freshman Ross Heffley continued the strong start to his collegiate career with a 2-for-4 outing with one run both scored and driven in.
Junior Nick Liles scored Western's first run of the game after leading off the game with a walk, but saw his career-best, 15-game hitting streak come to an end after finishing 0-for-4 in the win.
With Western (11-3, 4-1 SoCon) leading by a run, 1-0, hometown product Logan Bland
belted a first-pitch fast ball from CofC reliever Owen Brittles over the fence in left with two aboard for a three-run home run to give the Catamounts a four-run edge in the sixth inning.
College of Charleston (12-3, 4-1 SoCon) tallied its lone runs in the sixth and seventh innings, pulling to within two, 4-2, in the latter. Clay McCord drew a lead-off walk to open the sixth and was plated on an RBI single by Joey Bergman to break-up the shutout. In the seventh, Cole Rakar drew a walk before scoring on a strikeout of McCord that got away from Bland behind the dish. The throw to first bounced across the infield allowing the run to come in from second.
With two on and two out, Ozar came on for Masters and shut the door on a potential Cougar rally by inducing an inning-ending pop-up by preseason All-America selection, second baseman Brandon Sizemore.
Rakar finished 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored to lead the Cougars, while Bergman was 1-for-3 with the RBI single in the sixth.
Western added four insurance runs in the top of the eighth as Johns led off with a double down the left field line before scoring on a throwing error to third after a sacrifice bunt attempt by Bland. Two batters later, Heffley drove in Bland on a RBI single to center. With junior Trevor Collias aboard, both he and Heffley executed a double steal and later scored on a single through the left side by Greer to provide the final tally.
Charleston's Tom Schiller (3-1) suffered his first defeat of the season after being chased after 5.1 innings pitch. He allowed three runs on five hits with four strikeouts countered by four walks. Brittle served up the three-run homer to Bland, with Aaron Decker also giving up four runs on three hits in middle relief.