April 5, 2014
Greensboro, N.C. - Jacob Hoyle blasted a solo home run over the fence in right field in the top half of the 10th inning as Western Carolina claimed its Southern Conference series over UNCG with a 13-12 win Saturday afternoon at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
The two teams combined for 25 runs on 34 hits including eight for extra bases in the slugfest. Six of WCU's 16 hits went for extra bases including four doubles, a triple and the go-ahead home run.
With two, one-run wins in the first two games at UNCG - including its first extra-inning win of the year on Saturday - WCU claimed its 10th-straight SoCon series dating back to late March of 2013. The Catamounts have won 23 of their last 25 SoCon games dating back to last season.
Game three of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon with a 1:00 pm first pitch. Fans can follow the action on
Western Carolina (19-9, 7-1 SoCon) lit the scoreboard for 11 runs over the first three frames and led 11-4 after three complete on Saturday. Senior Cody Jones drove home the game's first run on a RBI double, scoring Bradley Strong who opened the game with a single before promptly stealing second and taking third on a wild pitch. With Jones at third, Hoyle collected his first RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 for WCU after one.
Jones stretched his current hitting streak to 11-straight games, finishing with four hits while also reaching base for the 20th-consecutive game, all career highs.
In the second, back-to-back, one-out walks put two aboard before J.D. Long coaxed a full-count, HBP to load the bases. Jones collected his second RBI on an infield single off the UNCG starting pitcher before senior Adam Martin added to his team-leading 41 RBI with a three-run scoring double off the fence in right to make give the visitors the 6-0 advantage.
UNCG (14-15, 2-5 SoCon) rallied back with three runs in the home portion of the second to cut the deficit in half. The Spartans scored on three-consecutive singles with a ground out and a WCU error allowing two additional markers to cross to make it 6-3 after two.
The Catamounts seemingly opened things up in the top of the third inning, plating five runs on four hits to make it, 11-3. WCU loaded the bases after a single by Danny Bermudez and walks to Dykota Spiess and pinch hitter, Taylor Sandefur - the latter coming intentionally. Long then doubled to left center field to drive home two runs before Strong tripled to the same location, plating two more before Jones capped scoring with a RBI single into left field.
For Strong, the triple was the 12th of his career and moved him into sole possession of third in school history, just three shy of the school career record.
However, the Spartans continued to battle, scoring two in the bottom of the fifth to trim the deficit to five, 11-6. The Catamounts added a needed insurance run in the top of the seventh inning to make it 12-6 as Strong drove home Luke Gragg.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, UNCG manufactured six runs on four hits and capitalized on three WCU walks to tie the game at 12 apiece. After Sean Guite singled up the middle with one out, the Spartans drew three-straight walks with the third to Eric Kalbfeisch driving in the first run. Jordan McDonald drove a sacrifice fly to deep center field where Cody Jones made a running, over-the-shoulder catch to limit the Spartans to one run, making it 12-8.
UNCG continued its eighth-inning rally as pinch hitter Aaron Wright plated two with a single to right center to make it a two-run game. Nin Marrero singled to make it a one-run game before Zac MacAneney drove in the game-tying run with another single for the Spartans.
After a scoreless ninth inning, WCU pulled back in front in the top of the 10th inning. On the second pitch of the frame, Hoyle belted his seventh home run of the season - and second of the series - to put the Catamounts ahead for good, 13-12.
Reliever Tyler Powell (1-0) picked up the win after tossing an inning and two thirds out of the bullpen with freshman Bryan Sammons scoring his second career save, retiring the final two batters in extra innings.
WCU starter T.J. Fussell worked three innings, striking out three against two walks while allowing four runs - three earned - on eight hits. He was lifted for Jonathan Waszak in the fourth inning with the Wendell, N.C., product tossing three innings allowing two runs on six hits with a strikeout. Alex Barr (1.2 IP) and Colton Davis (0.1 IP) also threw in relief for WCU in the win.
Four Catamount hitters recorded multi-hit games led by Jones with a career-best, 4-for-5 day, driving in three runs - one in each of the first three innings. Junior Bradley Strong finished 3-for-6 with a triple and three RBI, while Hoyle (2-for-5) and sophomore Danny Bermudez (2-for-6) tallying two hits apiece. Senior Adam Martin drove in three to add to his team-leading RBI count on a bases loaded double in the four-run second inning.
For the Spartans, five players recorded multi-hit games including three - MacAneney, L.J. Kalawaia, and McDonald - tallying three hits apiece. Reliever Tyler Frazier (1-1) suffered the loss after allowing just one run on the one hit to Hoyle, walking two against two strikeouts.
The series concludes on Sunday with a 1:00 pm first pitch.