March 21, 2010
Boone, N.C. - Rain showers that peppered Beaver Field / Smith Stadium all afternoon turned into downpours amidst the bottom of the fifth inning prompting officials to call Sunday's Western Carolina - Appalachian State series finale in the top of the sixth after an hour and a half rain delay leaving the teams tied at four.
The rain intensified even more between innings and the umpires called for the tarp before the sixth got underway. The rain never let up and the game was called at 4:52 pm, nearly four hours after the contest's first pitch was thrown. The tie is the first for Appalachian (14-3-1, 2-3-1 SoCon) since 2006 and the first for Western Carolina (13-6-1, 1-4-1 SoCon) since 1999 - an 8-8 deadlock with High Point.
After Western Carolina failed to plate runs despite having two aboard with one out in the top of the fifth, Appalachian State tied the game in the home half of the frame with a two-out, two-run home run to right field by Wes Hobson, who finished 2-for-3 and drove in three of the Apps four runs.
The Mountaineers then used a single and a pair of walks to load the bases and continued to threaten after Hobson's homer. Knotted at four and with three Mountaineers aboard, WCU closer Daniel Ottone was summonsed from the bullpen where he induced a ground ball to end the threat and what proved to be the game.
ASU out hit the Catamounts 8-to-3 in the game, but handed out six walks and committed a pair of errors in the game.
Trailing 2-0 after the first inning, WCU junior Austin Schultz went opposite field for his fourth home run of the season to cut the Mountaineer advantage in half, 2-1, through two innings. Schultz finished with two of WCU's four runs scored in the tie.
Two innings later, the Catamounts continued their rally by plating three runs to pull ahead for the first time, 4-2. Tyler White, who reached on a fielder's choice hit to center field, scored from second on an RBI single up the middle by Tyler Kirkpatrick to tie the game at two. Consecutive walks to Matt Johns and Trevor Collias drove in WCU's third run for the 3-2 lead, and Cameron Dullnig plated the fourth run by reaching on a fielder's choice after beating out the play at first on a near double-play ball.
The inning ended as the Catamounts tried a double-steal from first and third as John was caught stealing after Dullnig attempted to draw a throw after taking off from first.
Sophomore Kyle Stewart got the start for the Catamounts recording one strikeout, but with impending weather was lifted in the second inning for reliever Andrew Chilcoat. The White Hall, Md.., native tossed the next 2.2 innings for the Catamounts scattering two hits with a pair of walks against a strikeout. Chilcoat was tagged with one run with lefty Mat Batts surrendering the home run off a rain-drenched, muddy pitching mound.
Ottone recorded a third of an inning of relief of Brandon Johnson for WCU.
For Appalachian State, three pitchers saw action as Ryan Arrowood lasted 3.1 innings before being pulled for left-hander Will Helms who tossed two-thirds of an inning. Taylor Miller continued his success in relief for the Mountaineers from Friday's game, working a hitless inning with two strikeouts that thwarted a would-be WCU rally in the top of the fifth, stranding two runners in scoring position.
Western Carolina returns to action on Tuesday as it travels to UNC Asheville for a 3:00 pm contest. The game was originally scheduled to be played at McCormick Field, the home of the single-A Tourists, but instead will be held at UNCA's on-campus Greenwood Field.