March 18, 2012
Jacksonville, Fla. -
Western Carolina pushed across four runs in the bottom of the first inning to erase a one-run deficit on Sunday afternoon, cruising to a 10-3 neutral field, nonconference victory over the Fairfield Stags at JU's John Sessions Stadium. With the victory, the Catamounts improve to 15-5 on the year.
Three Catamounts finished with multiple-hit games as Aaron Attaway was 2-for-3, adding a pair of walks in the lead-off role. Cody Jones finished 2-for-5 in the win while Adam Martin recorded a 2-for-4 showing, driving in three runs including two on a triple to right field in the eighth inning.
Senior Ross Heffley drove in two on a 1-for-4 outing while Tyler White walked three times, finishing 1-for-2 with Connor Andrus scoring three times on a 1-for-2 performance, walking twice.
Freshman Jeremy Null (3-0) scored the victory on the mound for the Catamounts, scattering six hits through six innings while allowing three runs, only two of which were earned. Null worked around three walks with six strikeouts to pick up the victory.
WCU's bullpen was near perfect in the final three innings as four hurlers combined to close out the final three frames. Andrew Blackwell tossed an inning and a third, but was chased after three walks. Hunter Brister and Darron Dotson both worked a third of an inning while Vance Chavis fanned two in tossing a perfect ninth inning.
Fairfield (7-10) took an early lead in the top of the first inning after capitalizing on a fielding miscue in the WCU infield. However, the Catamounts got all the runs they would need in the home half of the frame, scratching the scoreboard for four on two hits and taking advantage of a pair
Attaway and White both drew five-pitch walks to put two aboard for Heffley who delivered an RBI single to left field to tie the game at one just three batters into the bottom of the first. A fielding error allowed Jacob Hoyle to score while also plating White for the 2-1 edge. Andrus delivered an RBI single through the right side to plate Hoyle with Martin driving in his first run on a sacrifice fly to left field as the Catamounts led 4-1 after one.
In the third, Andrus drew a one-out walk and promptly moved to third on a wild pitch that catcher Ryan Plourde couldn't locate. Another wild pitch allowed Andrus to scamper home for a 5-1 edge. Dykota Spiess lifted a double to centerfield and scored on a second Stags' error later in the inning as WCU led 6-1 through three complete.
Western Carolina added two runs in the fifth as Spiess drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to score Andrus with Heffley drawing a bases loaded walk to drive in the eighth run with the Catamounts leading, 8-1, through five.
Fairfield added two runs in the top of the sixth inning to trim WCU's advantage back to five, 8-3, but Martin's triple off the fence in right got the two back in the bottom of the eighth as the Catamounts scored the 10-3 victory.
Gavin McCullough (0-2) took the loss for the Stags after giving up eight runs on seven hits through the first four innings. The starter also walked five with one strikeout in the loss. Right fielder Taylor Wosleger recorded two of Fairfield's six hits on a 2-for-4 showing, adding a stolen base for Fairfield.
Western Carolina steps out of conference on Wednesday as it travels over the mountain to face UNC Asheville in a game that was rescheduled from early March. First pitch between the Catamounts and the Bulldogs is scheduled for 6:00 pm at historic McCormick Field, home of the minor league Asheville Tourists.
Wednesday's game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard online at www.CatamountSports.com.
This weekend, the Catamounts host SoCon-foe UNC Greensboro in Cullowhee. Friday's first pitch has been changed to 5:00 pm, with game two scheduled for 2:00 pm on Saturday and the finale at 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon.