March 18, 2003
Asheville, N.C. - UNC Asheville pinch hitter Nick Jaksa delivered a single to left-center in the bottom of the 11th inning to drive in Josh Coyle for the game winner as the Bulldogs handed Western Carolina a 3-2 loss on a wet afternoon at Greenwood Field.
Coyle started the bottom of the 11th with an infield single and advanced to second on a fielding error on the Catamount third baseman. Jaksa then ripped the second pitch he saw to the gap allowing Coyle to score easily.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Coyle hit his fourth home of the season. The Catamounts tied the game in the top of the fourth when Todd Buchanan got a leadoff walk and Rod Goldston followed with a single to right. WCU catcher Denver Edick doubled down the right field line to plate Buchanan and move Goldston to third. UNCA relief pitcher Steve Cook struck out the next two, walked the basses loaded, then got out of trouble with a third strikeout to end the inning.
UNC Asheville regained the advantage in the bottom of the fifth. Charles Pippitt, who had reached on a fielder's choice, moved to second on a Matt Roberts single. Matt Sherman followed with a sharp single to center, which was nearly snagged by the WCU shortstop, to drive in Pippitt.
Western knotted the game at 2-2 in the top of the seventh. Todd Roper got a leadoff double and moved to third on Wayne Kilmer's bunt single. Kilmer was then caught stealing, but Roper was able to score on the play.
Both teams had several chances to take command in the game, but Western left 12 runners on base and UNCA left eight.
Bulldog relief pitcher Seth Denton (1-0) picked up the win. He pitched 1.1 innings and allowed no hits, runs or walks, while striking out one. Brian Barnes (2-3), who pitched the last four innings, took the loss. He allowed four hits and one run in 3.0 innings (he did not get an out in the 11th), while striking out four. UNCA used five pitchers in the game, while the Catamounts utilized four.
Roberts, Sherman and Coyle each collected two hits to lead the Bulldog offense. Western got two hits each from Roper, Kilmer and Edick.
The Catamounts will host a three-game series with East Tennessee this weekend, playing at 3 pm on Friday, 1 pm on Saturday and 1 pm on Sunday. Western will complete the homestand by playing its first ever night home game at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium when nationally-ranked Clemson comes to town. First pitch for that contest is set for 7 pm on Mar. 25.