April 2, 2010
Cullowhee, N.C. - After battling through seven innings of a scoreless pitcher's duel Friday night, New York Tech scored four unearned runs in the top of the eighth and held off Western Carolina's rally bid over the final two frames as the Catamounts dropped the opener of the three-game, nonconference series, 4-3, at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
The two teams combined for 17 hits and stranded 24 base runners - 13 by NYIT and 11 by WCU - with each team turning three double plays for a total of six through in game one. The second game is scheduled for a 3:00 pm start on Saturday afternoon. Red-shirt sophomore left-hander Vance Chavis is slated to take the hill for the Catamounts.
NYIT's Jerry Smith, who reached on a walk, broke the scoreless tie in the visitor's half of the eighth inning, coming home on a costly error at short. Pinch runner Robert Loftus plated a second unearned run as Sebastian Grazziani stole second and the throw down scooted into centerfield. Third baseman Effrey Valdez drove in the third run with a single through the right side.
What proved to be the game-winning run scampered home on a double-steal by NYIT. Valdez took off for second with the pitch with the Catamounts attempting to entice the runner from third with a pop-up throw to short. The apparent pick-off attempt opened a window for Ryan Campbell to race home, sliding in just ahead of the throw-back to the plate, giving the Bears a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, WCU responded with a three-spot and threatened for more. Catcher Ollie Goulder opened the frame with a single through the left side, advancing to second on a ground out. Junior Matt Johns laced an infield single to short to put two aboard ahead of freshman Tyler White, who drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases and chase NYIT starter, Preston Wasmund. On the very next pitch - the first unfurled by reliever Jon Costa - senior Tyler Kirkpatrick uncorked a three-RBI double to right center. The relay throw home overshot the plate, but Costa was able to corral the ball and gun down Kirkpatrick trying to advance to third for the second out.
Trevor Collias singled through the right side and later stole second to continue the inning, but a ground out to second ended the threat with the Catamounts trailing by a run. Costa recorded a third of an inning with the one hit allowed.
Wasmund was tagged with three earned runs in 7.1 innings pitched. He handed out four walks and one hit batter, countering with three strikeouts in earning his second victory of the year.
Needing one marker to continue play in the ninth, Western Carolina managed to put two aboard as NYIT closer Mike Roth plunked both Cameron Dullnig and Goulder. However, de Graaf hit a bouncing ground ball to second that was taken by Campbell who applied a swipe tag on Goulder trying to advance to second and then gunned out de Graaf at first for the game-ending double-play.
Matt Benedict scattered six base hits and worked around six walks with four strikeouts in 6.2 innings to record a no-decision in the starting effort. Andrew Chilcoat tossed a third of an inning in relief, with junior Brandon Johnson saddled with the loss after allowing three unearned runs with two walks. Senior Daniel Ottone threw the final inning and a third of scoreless relief, allowing two base hits and fanning two.
Johns and Collias had the only multi-hit games for the Catamounts, each going 2-for-4 while White drew a trio of walks to go along with his 1-for-1 showing at the plate. For the Bears, Valdez tallied three hits in five appearances, while Jerry Smith was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks.