March 27, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. - Kennesaw State rallied from an early seven-run deficit with 11 runs in the middle innings including crossing the plate seven times in the top half of the sixth inning to hand Western Carolina its second-straight home loss, 11-9, Tuesday night in the front-end of a mid-week, home-and-home.
WCU travels to Kennesaw State on Wednesday night with first pitch slated for 5:00 pm. The game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard online at www.CatamountSports.com with air time at 4:45 pm.
Within two runs in the home half of the ninth inning, the Catamounts moved runners to second and third base with just one out before eventually loading the bases, but were unable to pull any closer.
Senior Ross Heffley led the Catamounts with three hits, finishing 3-for-5 with his seventh double and third home run of the season, driving in two. Sophomore Adam Martin smashed his team-leading fourth round-tripper of the year, a two-run shot in the third inning that handed WCU a seven-run advantage.
Seven Catamounts recorded multiple hit games all told with junior Tyler White also drove in two runs on a 2-for-4 showing. Also posting two hits in the loss were Aaron Attaway (2-for-5), Dykota Spiess (2-for-4), Cody Jones (2-for-4) and Julian Ridings (2-for-4).
Freshman hurler Tyler Powell (0-2) suffered the loss after allowing five runs - only three of which were earned - on four well-placed Owl hits amidst the seven-run sixth inning.
Starter Adam Curtis tossed three and two thirds innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and a pair of hit batters. He was chased in the fourth inning after surrendering a two-run home run followed by back-to-back singles and a six-pitch walk that loaded the bases. Jeremy Sluder came on in relief and picked off KSU's Aaron Dobbs from first base to end the threat.
Sluder tossed an inning of one-run, one-hit relief with a walk and a strikeout. Junior transfer, LHP Hunter Brister struck out two in two thirds of an inning, fanning one to end the fifth and the second in the top of the sixth inning before leaving with two men on base. Powell was touched up by three-consecutive RBI singles that simply found their way through the WCU defense. A costly fielding error loaded the bases before Andy Chriscaden drilled a three-run double to left center to hand the Owls the lead.
Chriscaden led the Owls with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate, driving in six runs including two on his home run and three on the double.
WCU senior Darron Dotson threw a career-long 2.1 innings, matching his career-best with three strikeouts against three walks with William Frazier recording the final out of the ninth in a third of an inning pitched.
All told, WCU used seven pitchers and combined to strand 12 Owl base runners on the night.
Entering the ninth inning down two, the Catamounts got back-to-back singles by Jacob Hoyle and Jones to put two on with nobody out. Martin laid down a near-perfect sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third with just one out. Spiess drew a walk to load the bases, but neither Luke Gragg - a mid-game substitution who finished 0-for-1 with a walk - or ninth inning pinch hitter Bryant Noteboom were able to plate the two runners.
Kennesaw State reliever Zak Griffith picked up the victory out of the Owl bullpen, scattering seven hits while allowing four earned runs with three strikeouts. Justin McCalvin set up reliever Caden Ferguson (1) for the save. Ferguson walked and struck out one, allowing one base hit but maneuvered through the ninth inning jam.
Western Carolina (17-8) took the early lead as Hoyle drove in his team-leading 31st run of the season on a sacrifice fly to score White in the home portion of the first inning. An RBI single by Ridings in the second ignited a four-run frame that included a sacrifice fly by White and RBI doubles by both Attaway and Heffley.
Martin's two-run shot in the third made it 7-0 WCU through three complete.
Kennesaw State answered with two in the top of the fourth with one Catamount run in the bottom to answer before the Owls scored a single run in the fifth to trail, 8-3, entering what proved to be the decisive sixth inning. KSU scored seven runs on six hits with one WCU error in the sixth to lead 10-8.
The Catamounts clawed back within a run in the bottom of the sixth, but a base-running miscue and strong throw from KSU right fielder Chris McGowan erased what could have been a game-tying run at home.
WCU visits Kennesaw State on Wednesday before opening another four-game home stand this weekend against the Davidson Wildcats and a mid-week date with Georgia in Cullowhee. First pitch on Friday night is scheduled for 6:00 pm.