Asheville, N.C. - Bulldog outfielder Joe Tietjen hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the seventh inning on Wednesday night to propel UNC Asheville over Western Carolina, 5-3, in nonconference action at McCormick Field.
The Catamounts led 3-1 thanks to three, one-run innings in the first, fifth, and top of the seventh before the decisive swing. However, three, one-out singles by the Bulldogs loaded the bases ahead of Tietjen who hit the first pitch of his at bat over the fence in center to ultimately provide the difference.
WCU managed to put a runner aboard in both the eighth and ninth innings to bring the tying run to the plate, but were unable to manufacture a run. A double-play brought the eighth to a close before a groundout ended the game in the ninth.
Freshman Andrew Robinson led the Catamounts with a career-best, three-hit game, finishing the game 3-for-4 with a trio of singles. Redshirt senior Bryson Bowman extended both his hitting streak (nine) and reached base safely streak (24) with a 2-for-3 outing with a HBP, scoring two of the three Catamount runs. Caleb Robinson drove home two on a first-inning run-scoring single and a fifth inning RBI groundout in a 1-for-4 showing.
Senior infielder Nobu Suzuki doubled for WCU's only extra base hit in a 10-hit outing, also reaching on a HBP.
Reliever Jacob Breakfield (0-2) took the loss for the Catamounts, one of eight different pitchers to see action for WCU by design. Breakfield struck out two in an inning of work, but was tagged for four runs on four hits. Left-hander Dillon Bray earned the start, tossing two innings before giving way to Chad Mabini who struck out one in an inning of hitless, scoreless relief. Junior LHP Corey Sikes struck out two in an inning and a third relief before being lifted for Michael Davis who closed out the fifth inning.
Tietjen finished 1-for-3 with a walk and the four RBI as seven different Bulldogs combined for their nine hits. Catcher Andrew Friedholm also doubled for UNCA's only other extra base hit in the win.
Reliever Justin Woods (2-0) picked up the win for UNC Asheville on two innings of relief work, allowing a run on one hit with two strikeouts. Kole Harris, who started the game at shortstop, secured the save by working around a walk in a hitless, scoreless ninth.
Western Carolina (9-15) returns home for a three-game Southern Conference series against The Citadel Bulldogs at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.