April 16, 2014
Knoxville, Tenn. -
No. 29 Tennessee used three, two-run innings to build a lead its bullpen maintained over the final five frames as four Volunteer pitchers held the potent Catamount lineup hitless after the fourth inning on Wednesday night as Western Carolina dropped a 6-2 decision at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in nonconference action.
Western Carolina dropped to 24-12 overall on the season after its eighth-hour of baseball over the past two days. Tennessee earned its 24th seasonal victory, moving to 24-11 on the year.
Eight different Catamount hitters combined for WCU's eight base hits on the night. Junior Bradley Strong doubled in the top of the first to eventually score the game's first run. It was his third, two-base hit in the past two outings this week. Strong came home on a sacrifice fly by Adam Martin (1-for-3) for his team-leading 43rd RBI of the season.
Freshman Matt Smith collected his first collegiate extra base hit with a lead-off triple off the wall in right center field in the fourth inning, scoring on an infield bunt single by J.D. Long as the Catamounts used the squeeze play for a second-straight night. However, after Long's bunt single, the Volunteers retired the next 17 Catamount batters in order to pick up the win - their third-straight over WCU.
Catamount starter Bryan Sammons (6-2) took the loss after surrendering two, two-out runs on three hits in the bottom of the first inning. WCU used a combined six pitchers with sophomores Alex Barr and Jonathan Waszak recording strikeouts. Barr and Bryce Danielson both tossed a team-high two innings out of the pen with the latter retiring the first five batters he faced before an infield single by Will Maddox who was later thrown out by Martin trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt.
All told, WCU's six pitchers issued 10 walks while the hitters struck out a combined 12 times in the loss.
Tennessee starter Bret Marks (3-0) earned the victory after a two inning, pre-determined start. Marks allowed the Strong double as one of three hits with the one run against, striking out two. Reliever Drake Owenby struck out four in two innings but was tagged for a run on five hits. The combination of Trevor Bettencourt (2.0), Peter Lenstrohm, Josh Peterson and Andrew Lee were perfect for the Vols over the final five, combining for six strikeouts.
Offensively for Tennessee, Christin Stewart reached five times with a 4-for-4 showing at the plate and a walk while designated hitter Nick Senzel was 2-for-2 with a trio of walks. Scott Price drove in two on a first inning two-out double.
Western Carolina returns home to host The Citadel (15-23, 2-13 SoCon) in a three-game, Southern Conference series at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium this weekend. The Bulldogs are coming off a 10-8 upset win over sixth-ranked South Carolina on Wednesday night at Riley Park in Charleston.
Game one is scheduled for 5:00 pm on Friday with Saturday's game scheduled for 2:00 pm. First pitch of the series finale is Sunday at 1:00 pm.