April 3, 2005
Davidson, N.C. - After getting a save on Tuesday versus top-ranked Georgia Tech, Brian Barnes struck out a career-high seven batters Sunday afternoon to lead Western Carolina to a 7-4 victory over Davidson at Wilson Field. With the win, the Catamounts (18-10 overall and 7-5 in the Southern Conference) win their third league series on the season, while the Wildcats fall to 12-14, 3-9 SoCon.
Barnes, who tied a career-high with 5.1 innings pitched is 1-0 on the season. He allowed five hits, two runs and three walks. The senior got off to a shaky start, loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first, but got out of the jam unharmed and went on to pitch his second impressive outing of the season. Clint Ramsey, who got into a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth, struck out the final batter he faced to earn his second save in as many days.
For the first time in the series, the Catamounts struck first, scoring three runs on four hits in the top of the first. Shaft had a leadoff single and moved to second when Tim Hallam was hit by a pitch. Jared Greenwood followed with a two-run double to left-center field and scored on an RBI single by Davis.
In the bottom half, Davidson loaded the bases to start the inning with two hits and a walk with no outs. However, Barnes got a ground ball with Nate Hall throwing Ronnie Shore out at home for the first out. Eli Benefield then lined out to third for the second out and Alex Entrekin grounded out to shortstop, allowing Barnes to escape unscathed.
Western tacked on two more runs in the third. Steven Strausbaugh extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a one-out single to left and McDaniel followed with a single to center. Greene brought the two Catamounts home with a single to center.
Davidson broke up the shutout in the bottom of the sixth as Jay Heafner had a leadoff home run, his fifth blast of the season. After Barnes recorded his career-high seventh strikeout, he walked Benefield and gave up a double to Entrekin to leave the game in favor or Bryan Tupper. Pinch hitter Rob Wilson drove in Benefield with an RBI ground out.
The Catamounts got one of those runs back in the top of the seventh, making the score 6-2. Hallam had a leadoff infield single, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a ground out. After a walk to Strausbaugh, McDaniel drove in Hallam with an RBI fielder's choice.
The Wildcats bounced bask with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Michael Muniz had a leadoff single and Shore followed with a walk. After a strikeout, Heafner welcomed new WCU pitcher Luke Miller with an RBI single through the right side of the infield. Jon Kibler then came out of the WCU bullpen and Shore attempted to score on a pitch in the dirt, which ended up being a caught stealing at the plate. After a walk to Zage, Kibler struck out Benefield to keep WCU up by three.
Western regained a four-run cushion once again in the top of the eighth. Hall singled, pinch hitter Grey Gregory walked and Shaft loaded the bases with an infield single with one out. Hallam plated Hall with a sacrifice fly to right field. The teams continued their trend of trading runs as Davidson scored an unearned run in the home half of the eighth. Entrekin led off by getting a three-base error on a fly ball to left. He would eventually score on a wild pitch. With runners on the corners, Davis ended the inning by making an impressive over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right.
The Wildcats made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Ramsey's first pitch of the frame turned into a leadoff double by Heaffner. Ramsey then struck out Zage and got Benefield to pop out. However, a single by Entrekin and a walk to Rob Wilson loaded the bases. Ramsey settled down to strikeout pinch hitter Taylor Shoop to end the contest.
Heafner, one of the top hitters in the SoCon, added to his prowess by going 3-for-3 with two RBI on the day. Entrekin and Muniz each added two hits. Davidson's starting pitcher Matt Meade (1-2) suffered the loss, allowing nine hits and five runs in 4.1 innings.
Western Carolina, who played the last of its six games in six days, will have two days off before hosting UNC Asheville Wenesday (April 6) at 7:00 pm.