April 9, 2004
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Western Carolina's Chris Davis and Brian Sigmon each went 3-for-4 with solo home runs to lead the Catamounts to a 9-6 victory over Furman Friday night at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium. Western improves to 15-17 overall and 5-8 in the Southern Conference, while Furman falls to 10-18, 4-6.
Western jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but Furman scored three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to tighten the game. However, the Catamounts were able to score single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to hold on for the win.
Western took an early lead scoring two runs on two hits in the bottom of the first. Wayne Kilmer drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a Todd Roper single. Davis followed with a single to right, scoring Kilmer and sending Roper to third. Roper then scored on Denver Edick ground out.
The Catamounts padded their advantage with two runs in the bottom of the second, making the score 4-0. Chad McKown had a one-out walk and moved to second when Brandon Zollman reached on a fielding error. Alex Gary followed with an RBI single to right, scoring McKown and moving Zollman to third. One pitch later, Kilmer lined out to center, allowing Zollman to score on the sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the third, the Cats made the score 6-0. Davis hit a leadoff home run to right, his sixth blast of the season. Edick was hit by a pitch and, with one out, Sigmon executed a perfect hit and run, moving Edick to third. On the next pitch, McKown plated Edick with an RBI single up the middle.
In the bottom of the sixth, Western made the score 7-0. Gary started the home half with a walk. Kilmer laid down a sacrifice bunt. Gary was able to move to third on the bunt and later to home on the play thanks to a Paladin throwing error.
Furman got on the board with three runs in the top of the seventh, making the score 7-3. Dominic Franchini and Matthew Betsill had back-to-back doubles, the second being an RBI. Case Cassedy reached on an error, allowing Betsill to score. After a fly out, A.J. Davidiuk singled, moving Cassedy to third, and Will Stembridge drove in Cassedy with a single through the left side.
Western answered with a single run in the bottom of the seventh (8-3). With two outs, Sigmon hit his fourth home run of the year, clearing the left-center field fence, chasing Furman relief pitcher Ryan Hudson.
The Paladins cut their deficit to two (8-6) with three runs in the top of the eighth. Derek Norman had a leadoff walk and moved second on Franchini single. Betsill followed with an RBI single to right and Cassedy drove in two with a double down the right field line. After WCU relief pitcher Jeremy Ellenburg got a strikeout, the Cats went to Brian Barnes out of the bull pen. Barnes picked Cassedy off second and got a strikeout to end the threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, Matt Nelson had a leadoff single and Gary walked. Nelson would be thrown out stealing, but Gary took second on the play. After a fly out, Roper singled to left, driving in Gary and providing the final 9-6 score.
Western's Daniel Lindner came in and pitched a perfect ninth to record his second save of the season. Catamount starting pitcher Caleb McConnell, who got a complete-game win last Saturday at East Tennessee State, improved to 2-1 on the season. The sophomore from Waynesville, N.C., pitched 7.0 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs (two earned) with one walk and four strikeouts.
Offensively for Western, in addition to Davis and Sigmon, Roper and McKown added two hits, while Gary scored twice, including what proved to be the game-winning run in the sixth.
For the Paladins, Franchini, Betsill, Sam McLain and Stembridge each had two hits with Betsill and Cassedy each driving in two. Furman starter Kyle Funk (1-4) took the loss, pitching 4.1 innings and allowing nine hits and six runs (five earned) with two walks and a strikeout.
Western and Furman will play the second of their three-game set on Saturday at 4 pm. After the game, the Department of Athletics will host an Easter Egg Hunt in the outfield at Hennon Stadium. The annual event is open to all children ages eight and under.