April 12, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Furman scored three unearned runs with two outs in the top of the ninth inning on Saturday to thwart the Western Carolina comeback as the Catamounts dropped game two of their Southern Conference series with the Paladins, 9-6. The series rubber match is scheduled for Sunday afternoon with first pitch at 1:00 pm.
Fans can follow the game with live GameTracker (free) and live streaming video through Catamount All-Access (subscription) available online through CatamountSports.com. Live audio (free) is available through the Furman broadcast with Dan Scott on the call through FurmanPaladins.com and via local transmitter at 105.9 FM.
The loss was just the second at home this spring for the Catamounts, while also halted WCU's 12-game winning streak which had been the longest active streak in the nation.
Furman (12-23, 3-8 SoCon) put its first two men aboard in the decisive top of the ninth inning as Hunter Burton walked and Jake Jones singled up the middle. WCU got its first out of the inning as Alex Abrams popped up to first base on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt. The Catamounts got the second out of the frame on a fly ball out to right center field with Burton tagging and taking third to put the go-ahead run 90- feet away.
WCU (23-10, 9-2 SoCon) was nearly out of trouble when Jordan Simpson chopped one up the middle, but the throw to first was hard to handle allowing the go-ahead run in Burton to score. Carter Grote then drove home a second run on a RBI single through the left side with the final insurance run scoring on a soft single on the infield by Jarrod Rickman.
Grote finished 4-for-5 with three RBI with Simpson posting a 3-for-5 outing with two runs scored. Heath Burton drove home two runs to match Grote for the team-high for the Paladins.
In the home half of the ninth inning, senior Dykota Spiess drove a two-out single to shortstop, but was forced out at second base to end the game. Spiess finished 3-for-4 with two RBI while catcher Adam Martin posted a 2-for-4 day with a double and a bunt single. Junior Jacob Hoyle extended his current hitting streak to 13-straight games with a first inning RBI single up the middle.
Junior Colton Davis (3-2) suffered the loss, allowing three unearned runs in an inning and two thirds out of the bullpen. The Commerce, Ga., product countered two walks with a pair of strikeouts, allowing the three unearned runs on three hits. Freshman left-hander Bryan Sammons came on in the third inning and struck out seven batters in four and two thirds shut out innings.
Furman recorded three, three-run innings to snap its seven-game winless drought, limiting WCU to four, single-run frames through the first five innings to lead 6-4 through five complete. The Paladins pushed three runs across in the top of the first inning and matched that output with a three-spot in the top of the third.
Western Carolina scored twice in the home half of the seventh inning to knot the game at six apiece, setting up the final frame. Martin opened the inning with a bunt single down the third base line before promptly stealing both second and third to move into scoring position. After a 10-pitch at bat, Spiess singled through the right side to drive his classmate home, trimming the Furman lead back to one, 6-5.
The inning continued as Luke Gragg drew a walk after Spiess stole second to put two aboard with one out ahead of Danny Bermudez, who tied the game with a RBI single into center field. The go-ahead run was at second base when a double-play ended the WCU rally, leaving the game deadlocked.
Furman's Elliott Warford (2-2) picked up the victory after tossing the final two and two thirds innings in relief. The junior right-hander held the Catamounts scoreless and to just two hits, striking out a pair. Paladin starter Jacques de Gruy struck out 10 batters in five and a third, allowing four earned runs while scattering eight hits.
Game three is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon in Cullowhee.