April 17, 2010
Elon, N.C. - It was a hitter's affair for Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon as the Catamounts recorded a season-high 21 hits to defeat Elon 14-8 at Latham Park. WCU (23-10-1, 6-7-1 SoCon) used a combination of four home runs, three doubles and a triple to even the series with the Phoenix (24-13, 10-7 SoCon).
Elon rallied from a three-run deficit to tie the game at four in the bottom of the fifth. WCU then opened the flood gates by tallying five runs in the sixth and adding five more in the next two frames. The Phoenix added another four runs, but were unable to overtake the Catamounts. The season-best 21 hits are the most since WCU collected 22 against Furman on April 25, 2009.
Sophomore Ross Heffley led the `Cats with a 4-for-6 day as he hammered two homers, driving in five runs with two runs scored.
Starter Matt Benedict (5-0) remained unblemished with his fifth victory of the year after holding Elon to four runs, two earned, on six hits with four strikeouts in six innings pitched.
Heffley broke up the scoreless contest in the top of the second with a two-run bomb to left field. Matt Johns' triple to deep centerfield allowed catcher Ollie Goulder to add the Cats third run. Johns padded WCU's advantage to 4-1 as he scored from a Cameron Dulling groundout at second base. Dullnig, a native of San Antonio, Texas, went 2-for-3 with a team-high three runs scored and one RBI.
Elon capitalized on a WCU fielding miscue and used three hits to tie the contest at four in the fifth inning.
Western answered with its own rally in the sixth inning as the first four batters reached on base before Elon was able to record an out. With two men on board, Trevor Collias, who hit 3-for-6 with three RBIs on the day, cranked his sixth long-bomb of the season to help the Catamounts regain a 7-4 lead. Senior Dylan de Graaf was walked, setting up another opportunity for Heffley. The designated hitter nailed his seventh roundtripper of the year to left field to cap WCU's five-run frame. de Graaf finished the afternoon with three walks, a run scored and capturing his team-best 20th stolen base of the year.
WCU added five more runs in the seventh and eighth innings as Heffley, Tyler Kirkpatrick
and Tyler White
all drove in Catamount baserunners. White, the freshman from Forest City, N.C., hit 2-for-6 with an RBI.
In the eighth, Johns' added the fourth Catamount homerun with his sixth of the year, while Dullnig scored from a Kirkpatrick single. Johns finished Saturday's hit-fest with a round tripper, two hits, two runs and two RBIs. Kirkpatrick earned three hits with two runs and two RBI scored.
Austin Schultz also joined the three-hit club for WCU as he went 3-for-5 with a run scored in the nine hole of the lineup.
The freshmen pitching trio of Jeremy Sluder, TJ Page and Preston Hatcher withstood a furious Elon rally in the final three frames to help WCU pick up its' sixth conference victory this season.
Reliever Ken Ferrer fell to 6-3 for the Phoenix after giving up three earned runs on five hits in an inning and two-thirds. All-around man Ryan Adams hit 3-for-4 for Elon with four RBIs. Later in the contest, Adams came in relief, giving up two earned runs on five hits in two and a third innings pitched.
The rubber-match of the series will conclude on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Live stats of the contest will be available online at CamountSports.com.