April 1, 2011
Mt. Pleasant, S.C. - Western Carolina could not capitalize on opportunities Friday night, out-hitting the College of Charleston 12-to-7 but stranded 13 base runners including at least one in all nine innings in a 6-3 series-opening loss to the Cougars at Patriot's Point.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon. The game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard online at www.CatamountSports.com.
College of Charleston (17-9, 4-3 SoCon) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the home half of the first inning as Jose Rodriguez lifted a one-out, bases loaded sacrifice fly to left to score Cole Rakar with Daniel Aldrich singling through the left side to plate Rob Kral for early advantage.
In the fourth, the Cougars tagged on three more runs to stretch the lead to 5-0. With runners at second and third, Jamie Holler singled through the left side to plate Rodriguez before an infield error allowed two additional Cougars to score for the five-run edge. Rakar hit into a double-play turned by the middle of the WCU infield to end the inning.
Rodriguez finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored while Aldrich was also 2-for-3 with a double.
Consecutive extra base hits to open the bottom of the fifth put the Catamounts on the board. Freshman Aaron Attaway doubled down the left field line in front of senior Austin Schultz who tripled over the centerfielder's head to plate the first run. Junior Ross Heffley, who led the team with a 3-for-4 showing, drove in one of his two runs with a ground out to score Schultz, trimming CofC's lead to three, 5-2.
WCU continued to chip away in the top of the seventh as Schultz laid down a bunt along the third base line, reaching and advancing to third base on an infield throwing error. Two batters later, Heffley flew out to left to score Schultz from third, pulling the Catamounts within two, 5-3. Western Carolina continued to threaten in the frame with an infield bunt single by freshman Adam Martin and a single up the middle by Matt Johns. However, Martin was picked off of second base by the Cougar catcher to end the inning.
In the bottom of the frame, Charleston loaded the bases with two outs and scored on the third of three-straight walks to stretch the lead back to three and setting up the finish.
Matt Benedict (1-2) took the loss for the Catamounts after pitching four and two thirds, limiting the Cougars to four hits but walked six. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native struck out five while allowing five runs in the start. Jeremy Sluder struck out three in an inning of work with Morgan McKinney fanning two in one inning pitched. Andrew Chilcoat struggled with three walks to the three batters he faced, while Andrew Blackwell struck out one in an inning and a third, holding CofC to just one hit out of the bullpen.
Charleston's David Peterson (4-2) earned the win on Friday, scattering 10 base hits and allowing three runs while striking out six with one walk. Kyle Owings earned the save tossing the final two innings with six strikeouts and allowing two hits.