April 10, 2014
Asheville, N.C. - Jacob Hoyle homered twice and drove in three runs to lead Western Carolina past mountain-rival, UNC Asheville, 9-3, Wednesday evening under the lights in nonconference action at Greenwood Field.
With the win - WCU's nation-leading, 11th-straight - the Catamounts complete the seasonal sweep of UNCA, claiming both ends of the home-and-home against the Bulldogs. Western Carolina improved to 22-9 overall while UNCA dropped to 11-23.
Five different Catamount batters combined for the team's seven hits with two posting two-hit games in the winning effort. Hoyle, who stretched his hit streak to 11-straight, jumpstarted WCU's three-run fourth inning with the first of his two home runs, adding a second long-ball in the top of the ninth. Senior Cody Jones also collected two hits, extending his career-long hitting streak to 14-straight games, reaching safely for a 23rd-consecutive game. Jones plated two runs on an eighth-inning double, his team-leading 11th on the year.
Also collecting hits for the Catamounts was J.D. Long, who tallied an RBI on a sacrifice fly, with Bradley Strong recording a double and Dykota Spiess singling up the middle, adding a pair of stolen bases and two runs scored. Danny Bermudez was plunked by a pitch to extend his streak of reaching base safely to 16-straight games.
Ahead 3-1 through four innings, Western Carolina lit the scoreboard for two runs in the top of the seventh inning to make it 5-1. Strong doubled to left before Jones sacrificed him further into scoring position. Senior Adam Martin drew a walk before stealing second base where Hoyle grounded out to score Strong. Martin was later able to trot home on a balk call, scoring the second run.
In the eighth, the Catamounts stretched their advantage to a game-high six as Jones plated a pair on a double, scoring Sandefur and Long. However, the Bulldogs got both runs back in the bottom of the inning as Derek Smith drew a bases loaded walk ahead of Tanner Bush who drove home a run on a bloop single into shallow right field.
WCU capped scoring in the ninth as Hoyle homered to right for the first run. Spiess then walked before swiping both second and third, taking home on a wild pitch to complete scoring.
Sophomore right-hander Colton Davis (3-1) earned the victory in the predetermined start, striking out seven of the 11 batters he faced in three innings. The Commerce, Ga., product allowed just two base runners with one hit and a HBP.
Davis was the first of eight pitchers used by WCU in the victory. Jonathan Waszak tossed two innings with a strikeout before being forced out after taking a line drive off the back of his arm with Alex Barr fanning one in an inning and a third with two hits allowed. Also pitching for the Catamounts were Korey Anderson, John McClure and Hoyle.
Junior Tyler Powell tossed the final two innings to secure his sixth save of the season, taking the mound with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the eighth inning with a 7-2 score. The Charlotte, N.C., native faced seven batters, surrendering just one hit while striking out three. Penciled into the DH position in the lineup, Powell also recorded his first collegiate at bat.
UNCA starter Brian Connolly (2-2) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on just three hits with two strikeouts against a walk and two hit batters. Offensively, lead-off hitter Tanner Bush finished 3-for5
Western Carolina returns home to Childress Field / Hennon Stadium for a three-game Southern Conference series against the Furman Paladins this weekend. Game one is scheduled for 5:00 pm on Friday evening with a special 4:00 pm first pitch on Saturday, preceded by a special Baseball BBQ at 3:00 pm following the football Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo. The baseball series finale is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon.