March 16, 2004
Boiling Springs, N.C. - Western Carolina pounded out 11 hits, including eight extra base knocks and three home runs, to beat Gardner-Webb, 11-2, Tuesday in a non-conference baseball tilt at Varsity Field. The Catamounts (9-11) scored one run each in the first and second inning - then exploding for four runs in the third and three runs in the fourth to put the game away.
Western's Todd Roper led off the game with a single through the left side off of Gardner-Webb starter Josh Martin, then scored later in the inning on an RBI double to left by Denver Edick for an early 1-0 lead. In the second, Western got a leadoff triple from catcher Brian Sigmon, who scored on an RBI fielder's choice by Brandon Zollman to push the lead to 2-0 before Martin could get out of the inning.
The Catamounts opened the floodgates in the third, getting a leadoff solo home run from Chris Davis for a 3-0 lead. After Gardner-Webb recorded a pair of outs to seemingly limit the damage with one runner on, Western's Matt Nelson ripped a triple to centerfield to drive in Edick and Sigmon followed with a two-run home run to left that resulted in a 6-0 lead for the Catamounts. Brandon Martin came in to get the Bulldogs' out of the inning without further damage - striking out Chad McKown to end the inning.
Western Carolina starter Brad Josey (1-1) cruised through the Bulldogs' lineup early to keep the lead safe, not allowing a GWU hit until JD Milford singled with two outs in the fourth.
By that point, Western had stretched its lead to 9-0 on the strength of three unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning. A Bulldog error allowed Roper to reach base, and Edick responded by driving in the Catamounts' leadoff man with an RBI groundout to make the score 7-0. A two out, two-run home run by Jared Greenwood was the big blow in the inning, making the score 9-0 before Brandon Martin could work out of the jam.
Gardner-Webb (8-12) finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, taking advantage of a pair of hit batters and a throwing error to cut the lead to 9-1. Joey Testa and Matt Higginson each reached base after being plunked by WCU relief man Eryk McConnell and, after Ryan Quirello grounded into a fielder's choice, Higginson scored when Edick threw the ball into right field.
Western Carolina added two more runs in the seventh, after GWU reliever Matt Tafazzoli hit two consecutive Cat batters with two outs in the inning. Pinch hitter Mike McGowan responded with a clutch, two-run single to right and the Catamounts saw their lead grow to 11-1.
Neither team would score again until GWU pinch hitter Billy McCarson drove a solo home run to right field to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning - accounting for the Bulldogs' final run of the afternoon.
In its last 41.0 innings, the Bulldogs have scored only four runs - dating back to last week's 2-1 home loss to Furman.
Josey (1-1) picked up his first win of the season for Western, working 5.0 strong innings and allowing only three hits and no runs with three strikeouts. Josh Martin (0-2) took the loss for Gardner-Webb after allowing six earned runs on six hits in 2.2 innings of work. Brandon Martin (1.1 innings) and Zach Ward (2.0 innings) each worked out of the bullpen without allowing an earned run for the Bulldogs.
Davis led Western Carolina's 11-hit offense by going 3-for-5 with a double and solo home run. Sigmon (2-for-3, three runs, 3B, HR, two RBI) and Nelson (2-for-5, two runs, 2B, 3B, two RBI) also posted multiple-hit afternoons' for the Catamounts - who posted three doubles, two triples and three home runs on the day.
Gardner-Webb, which dropped its fifth-straight game, got hits from Higginson (1-for-1), Matt Bridges (1-for-3), McCarson (1-for-1, HR, RBI) and Jonathan McKoy (1-for-4).
Western Carolina will play at three-game Southern Conference series this weekend at The Citadel. Friday's game will start at 6 pm, Saturday's game will start at 2 pm and Sunday's game will begin at 1 pm. All three games will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network.