April 16, 2004
Statesboro, Ga. -
After Western rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game at 5-5 in the ninth, Georgia Southern pushed the winning run across the plate in the bottom of the ninth as the Eagles (21-17, 12-4 SoCon) handed the Catamounts (17-18, 7-9 SoCon) a 6-5 loss Friday night at J.I. Clements Stadium.
With one out, Mike Economos singled to left and Flint Wipke followed with an infield single to shortstop, putting runners on first and second. Travis Adkinson came through with single to left and drove Economos in for the game winner, despite a close play at the plate after a bobble in the outfield.
Western and Georgia Southern both got outstanding pitching, but both fell victim to faulty defense by their respective fielders. The Eagles had four errors in the field, while Western had one error with two other miscues that allowed four runs to score. The respective closers got the decision. Former starting pitcher Brian Harrison, despite giving up a game-tying solo home run in the ninth, improved to 6-2 on the season, pitching one inning, allowing one hit and one run with two strikeouts. WCU closer Jeremy Ellenburg (3-1) suffered his first career loss, allowing three hits and one run without getting an out in the bottom of the ninth.
GSU starting pitcher John Carroll pitched the first eight innings, allowing seven hits and four runs with a walk and eight strikeouts. WCU starter Caleb McConnell pitched six innings and allowed eight hits and five runs (four earned) with no walks and two strikeouts. Alex Obert saw his first action for the Cats since early March and pitched 1.1 innings, retiring all four batters he faced. Brian Barnes followed on the mound for WCU, retiring all three batters he faced in an inning's work.
Western got on the scoreboard first with one run in the top of the fourth. Chris Davis
had a leadoff double and, after foul out and a strikeout, scored on a two-out single up the middle by Brian Sigmon
Georgia Southern grabbed the lead with three runs on an unusual triple in the bottom of the fifth. Economos singled to center and moved to second on a Wipke single off McConnell's leg. After a foul out, Brandon Ponder hit a high fly ball to right field. However, Chad McKown had trouble locating the ball in the lights and Ponder ended up with a two-run triple. On the play, Ponder would score when a throwing error to third got away.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles extended their advantage to 5-1 with two runs on three hits. Brandon Long had a one-out single. Two batters later and Long running on the play, Greg Dowling doubled off the right field fence to drive in Long. Economos followed with a bloop single to right, plating Dowling.
The Catamounts trimmed their deficit to one (5-4) in the top of the eighth. Todd Roper reached on a two-base error to center. With one out, Denver Edick reached on a walk, the first walk of the ball game by either team. Jared Greenwood, who had struck out in his first three at bats, hit a three-run home run to right-center field, Greenwood's 13th blast of the season.
In the top of the ninth and with two outs, Wayne Kilmer tied the game at 5-5 with a home run to right field, his fourth homer of the season.
Economos, who score the game-winning run, also led GSU with three hits, while Long and Wipke each had two hits. Western's Kilmer and Sigmon each had two hits with Greenwood coming through with a three RBI.
Western Carolina and Georgia Southern will play the second of their three-game set on Saturday at 7 pm. The game will be broadcast on Sylva's WRGC (680 AM) and on www.catamountsports.com. Sunday's game, set to start at 1:30 pm, will be broadcast on Cullowhee's WWCU (90.5 FM) as well as on catamountsports.com.