March 17, 2013
Mt. Pleasant, S.C. - Western Carolina scored eight times in the final two innings including six runs on seven-straight hits in the decisive eighth to rally past the College of Charleston, taking the Southern Conference series with a 10-6 win Sunday afternoon at Patriot's Point.
For the third time in as many days, the final two innings witnessed game-winning runs with WCU rallying from a four-run deficit to pick-up its first-ever three-game series win over CofC in Charleston.
Five Catamount batters posted multiple-hit games as WCU pounded out 16 hits, mostly coming in the latter stages of Sunday's finale. Adam Martin (3-for-4) and Jacob Hoyle (3-for-5) led the way with three hits apiece for the Catamounts while Cody Jones, Julian Ridings and Tyler White all collected two hits. Hoyle led the squad with three RBI with Ridings, White and Aaron Attaway driving home two apiece.
Both starting pitchers turned in quality starts as Charleston freshman Nathan Helvey limited WCU to just one hit through the first five innings before exiting after the sixth inning, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts. Catamount starter Jordan Smith tossed six and a third, settling after giving up three runs in the bottom of the third to retire nine-straight Cougars before a one-out error in the seventh inning.
A native of Liberty, N.C., Smith struck out six against two walks, surrendering six runs - only four of which were earned - while scattering six base hits in factoring in the no-decision. Jonathan Waszak pitched a third of an inning out of the bullpen.
Reliever Alex Barr (1-0) scored his first collegiate victory on the mound for the Catamounts, striking out one with just one hit allowed in an inning and a third. Barr shut the door on a three-run, seventh-inning Cougar rally before tossing the eighth after the Catamounts had pulled in front, 8-6.
Attaway sparked the six-run rally for the Catamounts with a solo home run over the fence in left field to pull WCU back within three, 6-3. Jones singled ahead of Ridings who laced a double down the right field line with an error in the outfield allowing him to advance to third and scoring a run to close the deficit to two, 6-4. With Ridings on third, White blasted his team-leading seventh home run of the season, tying the game at six with his homerun to left center.
Continuing the hit parade, Austin Neary singled to left before scoring what proved to be the game-winning run on a RBI double to left center by Hoyle. With two aboard, Bradley Strong plated a run on a sacrifice fly scoring Hoyle to cap the six-run rally.
WCU tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the ninth as Hoyle singled down the left field line to plate Ridings and White to provide the final tally.
In the bottom of the ninth, Catamount closer Preston Hatcher worked around a lead-off walk by inducing a fly ball out to right before striking out the final two in the order to secure the victory.
College of Charleston reliever Drew Freie (3-3) took the loss, giving up four earned runs on four hits without recording an out during WCU's six-run eighth. Blake Butler and Morgan Phillips combined for half of CofC's eight hits, both posting 2-for-4 outings on the afternoon.
The Cougars took a 3-0 lead in the third inning, capitalizing on a lead-off walk and three base hits including two doubles. Alex Pastorius drew the free pass before Morgan Philips doubled to centerfield to break the scoreless tie. Blake Butler singled home a run before taking second on the throw to the plate, later crossing the dish on RBI double to right center by Ben Boykin.
Western Carolina chipped away at the margin with two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Martin singled to open the frame and was moved around to third on a single by Bradley Strong. Attaway put the Catamounts on the board with a sacrifice fly with Ridings also flying out to score a run, plating Strong to make it 3-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, CofC again scored three runs, pulling out to a series-high, four-run lead at 6-2. A one-out error was followed by consecutive doubles to score two runs and chase starter, Smith. A two-out single by Gunnar Heidt pushed across the third run, putting the Cougars comfortably ahead, 6-2, before WCU's offensive finish over the final two frames.
Western Carolina returns to action on Wednesday (March 20) as it travels to Knoxville, Tenn., for a mid-week game against SEC-foe, Tennessee. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm.