March 26, 2010
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina fell short in a seesaw contest that included four lead changes as the College of Charleston snagged an 11-8 victory in the series-opener on Friday evening at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. The Cougars improved their record to 14-5 overall and 5-2 in the Southern Conference, while WCU fell to 13-7-1 overall and 1-5-1 in conference action.
Friday's tilt-a-whirl contest featured a combined 13 walks, eight hit batters, seven wild pitches, two passed balls and a balk. The Catamounts out-slugged CofC, 11-to-8, in the contest.
WCU jumped ahead 1-0 before the Cougars countered with four unanswered runs. A sixth-run frame catapulted Western Carolina to a 7-4 advantage before CofC out-gained the Cats 7-to-2 in the final three innings.
Five Western Carolina batters collected multiple hits as the three-thru-four hitters combined for eight hits and five RBIs.
Catcher Ollie Goulder led WCU with a 2-for-3 evening with two RBIs, two walks and a run scored. Goulder hit his team-leading sixth home run in the sixth inning. Right fielder Cameron Dullnig also had a pair of hits and RBIs, including his team-high seventh double.
Senior Dylan de Graaf hammered his first solo shot of the season in the second with a bomb to left field to give the Cats a 1-0 lead. De Graaf finished 2-for-5 with a run and RBI. Ross Heffley anchored a pair of hits, while Matt Johns hit a comfortable 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter.
The Cats used six pitchers in the contest, as starter Jason Sullivan tossed four and a third innings in the no-decision. The right-hander gave up just two runs on two hits with six walks after missing his start at Appalachian State on March 19.
Andrew Chilcoat surrendered two runs in an inning, before Mat Batts tossed a third of an inning in situational relief. Junior Brandon Johnson gave up two runs in an inning and a third before Daniel Ottone came into a save situation in the eighth inning. Ottone (0-2) took the loss, giving up five runs on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk in one inning of work. Andrew Blackwell wrapped up the game in the ninth, retiring the four batters he faced.
Western Carolina rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the bottom of the sixth with a six-run home-half. WCU used three doubles in the frame to take a three run lead. Goulder hit the second home run of the contest with a two-run bomb to left field. Radley Haddad walked in his pinch-hit appearance for Cory Cronan. Haddad added the tying run with a Tyler Kirkpatrick double. Kirkpatrick added another run after Matt Johns roped a double to left field. Austin Schultz's single to center field allowed Johns to add the fifth run in the inning. Schultz capped the six-run rally after scoring from a Dullnig double to right centerfield.
The College of Charleston answered with a three-run eighth that resulted in an 8-7 lead for the Cougars. Dullnig's single up the middle drove in Johns to give tie the contest at 8-8. CofC again answered back with another trifecta of runs to take the 11-8 advantage.
Closer Heath Hembree (4-0) earned the win for the Cougars holding the Cats scoreless in the final inning and a third. Second baseman Joey Bergman led the CofC offense with a 2-for-3 evening, four RBIs and three walks.
Western Carolina will resume the series on Saturday with a two full nine innings doubleheader. The game for Sunday was moved to Saturday due to the potential of inclement weather. The first contest will start at 2:00 p.m. with the final game of the series beginning thirty minutes after the conclusion of game one. Live stats coverage of the games will be available online at CatamountSports.com.