April 9, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina rallied to erase a six-run deficit with a six-run explosion in the bottom of the seventh inning on Tuesday night. However, the 17th-ranked Clemson Tigers plated three runs in the top of the ninth inning to upend the Catamounts, 12-9, in front of 1,373 fans at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Clemson claimed its sixth-straight win on the season while also halting a two-game slide to WCU as the Catamounts took both meetings a season ago for the first time in series history. The two teams will play the back-end of the nonconference home-and-home at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on April 24.
The visiting Tigers (22-11) scored runs in first four frames including four in the top of the third inning to build a 9-3 advantage through four complete. Clemson carried its six-run lead until the home half of the seventh inning when WCU rallied for six runs on five hits.
Junior Aaron Attaway got the Catamounts started with a double to right center field before Tyler White squeezed a one-out, run-scoring double down the third base line driving in Attaway. Consecutive walks to Jacob Hoyle and Dykota Spiess loaded the bases ahead of Bryant Noteboom. The senior bounced a grounder to second, reaching on a fielder's choice with Spiess advancing to second base on an error to keep the inning alive, scoring White.
With two outs, sophomore Bradley Strong singled home two runs with Adam Martin delivering the game-tying markers on a sharp single up the middle, scoring both Strong and Austin Neary to knot the game at nine. Even with the rally, the Catamounts were unable to plate the go-ahead score, finishing the seventh inning deadlocked at nine.
Reliever Jon Nadale sat the Tigers down in order in the eighth with the Catamounts likewise going in order in their half of the frame, setting up the ninth.
Steven Duggar drove a one-out double to left center to put the winning run aboard for Clemson, chasing Nadale in favor of set-up man, Tyler Powell. After issuing a five-pitch walk to Tyler Krieger, first baseman Jon McGibbon dropped a single into right field to plate the go-ahead run. The Tigers added two insurance runs as Krieger stole home in the back-end of a double-steal with Tyler Slaton driving in the third run on a single to left field.
Neary drove a one-out double down the left field line in WCU's portion of the ninth inning, but was stranded there as the Tigers closed out the ninth with a strikeout and caught fly ball to deep left to end the game.
Attaway led three Catamounts with multiple hit games, recording his second-straight four-hit outing in a row. The Morganton, N.C., native reached on three singles and a double, while Ridings and Strong both collecting two hits apiece. All told, six of WCU's 12 hits were doubles with Ridings, White, Hoyle, Neary and Strong joining Attaway with a two-base hit.
Nadale (0-2) was the tough luck loser on Tuesday evening for the Catamounts. The fourth reliever used by the Catamounts on the night, Nadale settled things after the home squad had surrendered nine runs to the Tigers through the first three and a third. With his parents in town from California, the Petaluma native tossed a season-long five innings in relief, scattering three hits with four strikeouts and the one run he allowed scoring after he was lifted.
Senior starter Adam Curtis tossed the first two frames, surrendering six runs - only four of which were earned - on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He gave way to freshman Colton Davis for a third of an inning while classmate Alex Barr tossed an inning of relief, allowing two runs on a hit with a strikeout. In the ninth, Powell struck out one in a third of an inning with freshman Jonathan Waszak throwing one pitch to induce a ground out to end the frame.
Clemson reliever Patrick Andrews (1-1) picked up the win in relief, tossing an inning and a third out of the bullpen. He struck out the first batter he faced to end WCU's six-run seventh inning. Scott Firth came on in the ninth to record his first save of the season, allowing the double to Neary before closing the game.
All nine Clemson starters recorded a base hit on Tuesday night as the Tigers hung 14 base knocks on the scoreboard. McGibbon led the way for Clemson with a 3-for-4 outing, driving in four runs while also scoring three times. Krieger went 2-for-3 with two RBIs while Duggar doubled, also scoring three runs.
Tuesday's game opened a nine-game home stand for Western Carolina as the Catamounts return to Childress Field / Hennon Stadium for a three-game Southern Conference series this weekend against the Samford Bulldogs. WCU looks to snap a five-game slide against the Bulldogs after falling in the SoCon tournament and being swept in Birmingham, Ala., a year ago. The Catamounts have won both series with Samford in Cullowhee since it joined the SoCon, taking both by 2-to-1 counts in 2009 and 2011.