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Sammons Fans Seven as WCU Downs Mountain-Rival UNC Asheville, 4-1

Redshirt senior Taylor Sandefur drove in two runs on a bases loaded single in the eighth inning as Western Carolina defeated UNC Asheville, 4-1. (Photos by Mark Haskett)

April 1, 2014

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Cullowhee, N.C. - Left-handed starter Bryan Sammons struck out a career-high seven and redshirt senior Taylor Sandefur drove in two on an eighth-inning single as Western Carolina downed mountain-rival, UNC Asheville, 4-1, Tuesday evening at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.

Western Carolina (17-9) won its sixth-straight game, and has victories in nine of its last 11 games overall on the season while improving to 12-1 at home this season. UNCA fell to 9-19 on the year.

Sammons, a freshman from Wilmington, N.C., earned his fifth victory for the Catamounts, working a career-long 7.2 innings. After struggling through the first frame where he issued three walks including one to drive in UNCA's lone run, the south paw settled to induce a double-play ball to end the frame and started a stretch where he recorded 11-consecutive outs. Sammons scattered five hits and allowed just the one run to earn the victory.

Junior closer Tyler Powell picked up his fourth save of the season, facing just four batters over the final inning and a third of relief.

Sandefur led two Catamounts with multi-hit games, finishing 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and the two RBI. Junior Jacob Hoyle also collected two hits on a pair of singles up the middle, finishing 2-for-4. Catamount catcher Danny Bermudez had the lone extra base hit of the game for WCU with a second inning double to stretch his consecutive games reach streak to 11, while senior Cody Jones singled and was hit by a pitch to make it 18-straight games in which he's successfully reached base.

UNC Asheville took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, capitalizing on a double by Tommy Houmard and three-consecutive walks by Catamount starter, Sammons - the third of which was issued to Eli Miller to drive home game's first run.

The margin stayed at one until WCU answered in the home half of the fourth as the opportunistic Catamounts scored runs on a pair of bases loaded free passes. Jones was plunked by a pitch to start the two-out rally with Bermudez drawing a walk before Sandefur was also hit b a pitch to load the bases. Pinch hitter Luke Gragg drove home the game-tying run on a third hit batter in the frame before Reece Strong drew a pinch hit walk to make it 2-1 in favor of the home squad.

In the eighth inning, Sandefur stretched the WCU lead with a two-run base hit with the bases loaded to provide the final tally. Hoyle laced a one-out single up the middle before Jones stretched his hit streak to nine with a single to right field. After a wild pitch moved both runners up 90 feet, UNCA intentionally walked Bermudez to get to Sandefur. The Mechanicsville, Va., product drove a 0-1 pitch up the middle to plate two for the 4-1 edge.

Houmard and catcher Pete Guy both had two hits apiece to pace the Bulldogs. Reliever Nick Schavone (1-2) took the loss for UNCA in relief. The fourth pitcher out of the bullpen on Tuesday, UNCA's Corey Randall, struck out seven in just 3.1 innings of work.

Western Carolina returns to Southern Conference play this weekend, visiting UNCG for a three-game series that gets underway Friday at 6:00 pm. All three games will be broadcast by the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard online with live streaming audio at 540 AM WRGC in Sylva is also slated to carry the CSN broadcast on Friday evening.