April 17, 2004
Statesboro, Ga. - Western Carolina jumped out to a 5-0 lead but committed six errors in the field as Georgia Southern (22-17, 13-4 SoCon) rallied to hand the Catamounts (17-19, 7-10 SoCon) a 6-5 loss Saturday night at Clements Stadium thanks to a one-out sacrifice fly by Grant Burruss in the bottom of the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth and the game tied at 5-5, Brandon Ponder had a leadoff single and James Payne followed with a double to center. However, Ponder was gunned down at home on a Brandon Zollman - to - Todd Roper - to Brian Sigmon play at the plate. Brandon Burnsed put runners on the corners with a single. Burruss gave the Eagles their first lead of the game with his sacrifice fly to center, plating Payne for the game winner.
Brian Harrison, who got the win last night, pitched the ninth, to get his fourth save of the year. He walked one and struck out one, allowing no hits or runs. Fellow reliever Dustin Evans improved to 4-4 on the year, pitching 3.0 innings in relief. He allowed three runs, but did not allow a run or a walk, while fanning four Catamounts.
WCU starting pitcher Brad Josey was solid, but was the tough-luck loser, falling to 3-3 on the year. He pitched 7.1 innings and allowed 11 hits, a walk and six runs. However, thanks to WCU's six errors, only two of the runs were earned and he struck out five.
As they did last night, Western got on the scoreboard first, scoring a single run on three hits in the top of the second. Denver Edick had a leadoff double and moved to third on a Jared Greenwood single through the right side. After a strikeout, Alex Gary looped a single down the right field line, scoring Edick on the play.
Also, as he did last night, Wayne Kilmer hit a solo home run, putting WCU up 2-0 in the top of the third with his fourth blast of the season. Roper followed with a bunt single and moved to second on a ground out. Edick delivered his second double of the game, driving in Roper and giving the Cats a 3-0 advantage.
Western padded its advantage with two runs in the fourth, making the score 5-1. Gary started the frame with a single to left and moved to second on a Clint Ramsey sacrifice bunt. Although Matt Nelson struck out, he reached first base on a wild pitch and Gary was able to move to third. Kilmer tried to bunt, but was thrown out at first. However, his bunt was good enough to move Nelson to second. Roper followed with a seeing eye single through the left side of the infield, scoring Gary and Nelson.
In the home half of the fourth, the Eagles took advantage of two hits and two WCU errors to cut their deficit to two (5-3). Lead off hitter Jason Hurst sent the first pitch he saw over the left-center field fence, making the score 5-1. After a strikeout, Travis Adkinson reached on an error and Ponder singled. Payne then found a hole through the left side on a hit-and-run, driving in Adkinson on the play. WCU attempted to throw out Ponder at third, the ball got away, allowing Ponder to score.
In the bottom of the fifth, GSU tied the game (5-5), again, thanks to two Catamount errors in the inning. On the first two pitches of the inning, Georgia Southern put runners on second and third with a single by Greg Dowling and a double by Mike Economos. The Eagles then loaded the bases with no outs when Hurst reached on a fielding error. Josey got two strikeouts and looked to be in control. However, an infield hit allowed Dowling to score. On the play, WCU had a throwing error, allowing a second run to score and tie the game. Of the Eagles first five runs, four were unearned.
The Cats threatened in the top of the eighth. Pinch hitter Dustin Penland had a leadoff infield single and Zollman followed with a bunt single. After two outs, WCU loaded the bases when Roper was hit by a pitch. However, Evans got a ground out to escape unscathed.
For the Eagles, Payne and Ponder each had three hits with four players each driving in one. GSU starting pitcher Everett Teaford lasted 5.0 innings with nine hits, five runs, one walk and six strikeouts.
For the Catamounts, Roper and Edick each tallied three hits with Gary contributing two. Roper also led the way with two RBI.
Western Carolina and Georgia Southern will wrap up their three-game set on Sunday at 1:30 pm, which will be broadcast on Cullowhee's WWCU (90.5 FM) as well as on catamountsports.com.