March 16, 2013
Mt. Pleasant, S.C. - College of Charleston scored four-unanswered runs between the seventh and eighth innings, erasing Western Carolina's two-run, 4-2, lead on Saturday afternoon to even the best-of-three Southern Conference series with a 6-4 win at Patriot's Point.
Sunday's rubber match features a pair of right-handers as WCU junior Jordan Smith (1-2, 5.73 ERA) squaring off against CofC freshman Nathan Helvey (2-1, 3.57 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm with Catamount Sports Network coverage online at CatamountSports.com beginning at 12:45 pm.
Tied at two after Austin Neary drove home Cody Jones on an RBI single to left field in the top of the sixth inning, Western Carolina (11-8, 3-2 SoCon) pushed two runs across in the top of the seventh to take a 4-2 advantage. With Bryant Noteboom on at first, catcher Danny Bermudez doubled off the fence in left to put runners at second and third with one out. Aaron Attaway then delivered a single to center, driving in the two runs.
The lead was short-lived, though, as the Cougars responded in the bottom of the frame to again knot the game with a pair of markers, capitalizing on WCU's miscues. A one-out double by Alex Pastorius chased Catamount starter Morgan McKinney, who later scored on a WCU error on a dropped pop-up in shallow center field. The next batter was hit by pitch with a passed ball putting runners at second and third still with just one out.
CofC's Bradley Goodson then laid down a perfect infield bunt to drive home the tying run, 4-4. With the Cougars continuing to threaten, reliever Tyler Powell got pinch hitter Tyler Jackson to bounce into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
WCU threatened in the top of the eighth inning, getting back-to-back singles by Julian Ridings and Neary with Luke Gragg successfully sacrificing the runners into scoring position. However, Charleston ended the threat with a pop-up in foul territory and a fly ball out to the outfield.
In the decisive eighth inning, the Cougars took advantage of three-straight one-out hits including a single by back-to-back doubles by Morgan Phillips and Pastorius with a close play at the plate reminiscent of Friday night when Carl Wise came home for the go-ahead run. Pastorius drove home Phillips with the insurance marker, 6-4.
The Catamounts threatened in the ninth, loading the bases with two outs as Cody Jones reached on a hard-hit ball up the middle before Tyler White drove his second double of the series into left field to put runners at second and third. Ridings drew a walk to load the bases but the Cougars and reliever Dre Watts (1-0) shut the door to secure the victory.
Bermudez led the Catamounts with a 3-for-4 outing with a double while Attaway paced the squad with three RBI, matching teammates Tyler White and Austin Neary with 2-for-5 showings at the plate. Powell was saddled with the loss, tossing an inning and two-thirds out of the pen in relief of starter Morgan McKinney who struck out two in six and a third innings, scattering six hits.
College of Charleston (11-7, 3-2 SoCon) opened the scoring as Cody Martin singled to left field to drive home Wise for the 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Half an inning later, the Catamounts responded with Attaway's first RBI of the game, driving home Danny Bermudez to tie the game at one apiece.
In the fifth, the Cougars again pulled in front as Gunnar Heidt pushed a sacrifice bunt to the right side of the infield, scoring Phillips from third to make it 2-1 Cougars through five complete. WCU responded again half an inning later as Jones singled through the right side before taking second on a fly out to center. Neary drove him home on a single to left, knotting the game at two apiece, setting up the finish.
The series finale is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon at Patriot's Point.