April 1, 2007
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina posted seven runs in the home half of the first inning while starting pitcher Corey Martin allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings as the Catamounts routed The Citadel, 18-3, to outlast the rain and complete the series sweep of the Bulldogs Sunday afternoon at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium.
Sunday's victory gave Western its first series sweep of The Citadel since 1994 when the Catamounts won three-straight over the Bulldogs in Cullowhee.
After sitting the Bulldogs down in order in the top of the first, the Catamounts (17-11, 3-3 SoCon) pushed across all the runs they would need in the home portion of the frame. WCU tallied seven runs on six hits - all singles - with a runs also scoring compliments of a passed ball, wild pitch and on a hit batsman.
Junior Barrett Shaft, who finished the day 3-for-4 and the series at 9-for-12, singled to center on the first pitch he saw from Citadel starter, Justin Smith, to open the inning. Classmate Jonathan Greene then laced a one-out single to left center to score Shaft from second, who advanced on a wild pitch. Back-to-back singles from senior transfer John Ingram and Kenny Smith loaded the bases for junior Steven Strausbaugh, who drove in his first of two runs on the day after being hit by a pitch. Ingram came home on a wild pitch, moving runners to second and third before sophomore Andy John hit an RBI single in the hole at short for the 4-0 lead.
A pair of one-out walks to freshmen Nick Liles and Brent Greer, sandwiched around a run-scoring passed ball, chased Smith in place of Chris McGuiness, who started the game as the Bulldog designated hitter. McGuiness surrendered a two-RBI single to Shaft before recording consecutive outs to end the inning.
The Catamounts would add three runs in the bottom of the fourth, using back-to-back doubles from Ingram and Smith to push the first run in before Liles bounced a two-RBI single through the right side to score the seniors and run the lead to 10-0. The advantage was stretched to a dozen as WCU plated one run in both the fifth and sixth. Junior Blake Murphy blasted his sixth home run of the season, drilling the first pitch of the fifth inning over the middle section of the Purple Monster in left for the 11 run lead. Liles scored in the sixth after opening the frame with a single and a two-base error by right fielder Sonny Meade, touching home on the RBI single by Greer.
The Citadel (17-11, 1-5 SoCon) rallied with a three-spot in the top of the seventh, using a three-run home run down the right field line by Meade off of Catamount reliever, Daniel Ottone, to slice the deficit to 12-3. However, the Catamounts erupted again in the home half of the eighth with six runs to provide the final tally, 18-3.
In addition to posting three hits (3-for-4) for his team-best 17th multi-hit game of the season, Shaft also drove in two and scored one run in the third-straight win for WCU. Liles also recorded three hits (3-for-5) and a game-high tying three RBI, with Ingram, Smith and pinch-hitter Tyler Kirkpatrick each racking up two hits a piece, with the latter going 2-for-2.
Martin was perfect through four innings, facing the minimum number of batters before allowing his only hit of the game, an infield single to second base that was smothered by WCU second baseman, Smith, but did not allow a play to be made to first. The base runner was short-lived, though, as Martin induced a double-play ball, also to Smith, for the first two outs in the frame. Martin finished with a pair of strikeouts and one walk in his first starting appearance of the season, and just the fifth of his career. Catamount pitching, despite surrendering three earned runs, only allowed eight Bulldog base runners on just five base hits, only one of which was for extra bases.
Smith (4-2) suffered the defeat for The Citadel, only lasting a third of an inning while being saddled with seven earned runs, two walks and one strikeout. Right fielder Sonny Meade finished 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI, all coming on the three-run homer.
Western Carolina returns to action this Tuesday, April 3 as it visits the University of Kentucky in non-conference action in Lexington, Ky. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 pm. The game will be broadcast by the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard locally in Western North Carolina on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 or online at www.WWCUFM.com with an air time of 6:15 pm.