April 1, 2008
Boiling Springs, N.C. - Western Carolina scored 10 runs, including a grand slam home run by sophomore Brent Greer, in a decisive first inning as the Catamounts downed Gardner-Webb, 13-6, Tuesday afternoon in non-conference action at Varsity Field.
Western (11-15) sent 14 batters to the plate in the opening frame capitalizing on three walks, three hit batsmen and four base hits, including Greer's fifth homer of the year. He finished 2-for-3, adding a double, with four runs scored and a game-high tying four RBI.
Seniors Barrett Shaft and Jason Haynes each posted multiple hit days by finishing 2-for-4, with freshman Ryan Mathews adding WCU's only other extra base hit with a double. Sophomore Nick Liles also finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Sophomore Daniel Ottone earned his first collegiate win after going four innings in a pre-determined starting role. The Cary, N.C., native only allowed two earned runs, scattering five base hits while striking out four before giving way to freshman Brandon Johnson. Senior Tyler Sexton pitched three innings of effective relief, allowing one unearned run on three hits with six strikeouts while junior Garrett Ozar finished off the ninth in hitless fashion, striking out one.
Liles opened up the game with a single through the right side with a walk to Greer and Shaft hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs in the first. WCU lit the board first on a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Liles from third. Mathews' double to center plated Greer to leave two aboard before consecutive batters - freshman Matt Johns
and Haynes - were hit by pitches with the latter driving in the game's third run.
Sophomore Tyler Kirkpatrick drew a free pass to continue the scoring, with sophomore catcher Stephen Notaro walking after a Bulldog pitching change for one of his two runs driven in on the day to make it a five-run frame. Liles reached for a second time in the inning, scoring a sixth run, ahead of Greer's grand slam - Western's second this season.
Western stretched its lead to a game-high 11 with an insurance run in the third as Greer laced a one-out double to center. Two batters later, Greer scored on a fielder's choice by sophomore Dylan de Graaf.
The Runnin' Bulldogs scratched the board in the home half of the fourth for two, utilizing back-to-back base hits including a single and a double to pull back within 10, 11-1. A second double allowed GWU's second run to score as Western led 11-2 after four.
An inning later, Gardner-Webb used a three-run homer to left centerfield off of WCU reliever Johnson to trim the deficit to six, 11-5, but that was as close as the `Dogs would get as Western added single runs in the eighth and ninth, giving one back in the bottom of the eighth, to provide the final tally.
Western Carolina is scheduled to return home to face the UNC Asheville Bulldogs at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium on Wednesday evening with a first pitch at 7:00 pm. The Catamounts solidified their second win over the Bulldogs in the annual Parkway Series last Wednesday with a 12-10 win at McCormick Field.