March 19, 2005
Mt. Pleasant, S.C. - For the second consecutive day, the 18th-ranked College of Charleston Cougars used a single run in their final at bat to defeat Western Carolina, handing the Catamounts a 9-8 setback Saturday afternoon at Patriots Point Field.
Brett Anderson started the ninth for the Cougars (15-4, 5-0 SoCon) with a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield. He would eventually make his way to third after a pair of wild pitches by WCU closer Brian McCullen (2-1), despite the two pitches going down as strikes. With the infield in and one out, Phillip Coker lined a single just beyond the glove of shortstop Tim Hallam to give the Cougars the victory.
Western (11-6, 3-2) took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. After a one-out single by Hallam, he moved to second on a ground ball and scored on a Steven Strausbaugh RBI single to center. The Cougars answered with a tally in the bottom half to tie the game at 1-1. Coker drew a leadoff walk, but was gunned down at home on a Brett Gardner double. Brett Barber followed with a single to put runners on the corners. D.J. Wabick then knotted the game with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Cougars started a long line of lead changes in the bottom of the first, scoring twice to make the score 2-1. Matt Kirkpatrick singled and, with two outs, Oliver Marmol doubled to right-center field to plate Kirkpatrick.
The Catamounts regained the advantage with four runs in the top of the fourth to make the score 5-3. Strausbaugh started the frame reaching on an error then WCU loaded the bases with no outs thanks to a Trey McDaniel single and Jared Greenwood walk. CofC starter Danny Gemma got two outs, but Western's number nine hitter Brandon Zollman delivered a two-run single to center. Barrett Shaft then singled down the left field line to drive in Greenwood and Zollman.
Charleston got a run on a pair of doubles from Jess Easterling and Anderson in the home half of the fourth to trim its deficit to two (5-3). The Cougars would eventually load the bases before WCU starting pitcher Derrick Hawk got a ground out to end the inning.
Western got the run back in the of the sixth, making the score 6-3, thanks to a solo home run by Nate Hall, his second round tripper of the series and third of the season.
The run proved key as the Cougars answered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 7-6 lead. Anderson singled and, with two outs Coker walked and Gardner singled to load the bases. Barber followed with a three-run triple just inside the first-base line to tie the game. After a walk, Chris Campbell hit a chopper through the right side to plate Barber and give CofC the lead.
In the top of the seventh, Western took the lead (8-7) once again in the back-and-forth contest, using an error, two walks and two hit batsmen. Hallam started the frame by reaching on an error and, after two outs, would move to third on back-to-back walks to Strausbaugh and McDaniel. New Cougar pitcher Danny Meszaros allowed two runs to score after he hit pinch hitter Blake Murphy and Hall with back-to-back pitches to push two runs across.
The Cougars once again answered to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. Gardner had a leadoff triple and would score on an RBI single by Campbell. Charleston would threaten to score more as it load the bases, but a ground out kept the game tied at 8-8.
In the top of the ninth, Western got the leadoff runner, Strausbaugh, aboard thanks to Charleston's fifth error of the game. Strausbaugh moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but Cougar closer Brett Harker (4-0) got a ground out and a strikeout for his second win of the series and set up CofC's victory in the bottom of the ninth.
Anderson, Campbell and Gardner led the Cougars with three hits each, while Barber had two hits and three RBI. For the Cats, Hallam had two hits, while Shaft, Hall and Zollman each had two RBI.
Thanks to the five Cougar errors, only two of Western's eight runs were earned. However, Western took advantage of the miscues by scoring seven of its eight runs with two outs.
Western Carolina and the College of Charleston will wrap up the three-game set on Sunday (Mar. 20). First pitch at Patriots Point Field is set for 1:00 pm.