April 17, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Adam Martin crushed a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, capping a four home run night for Western Carolina as the Catamounts powered past Gardner-Webb Wednesday, 9-6, in nonconference mid-week baseball action at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Julian Ridings continued his torrid hitting pace in the month of April, belting two home runs as a part of his fourth-straight three-hit outing (3-for-5). This month, the Shelby, N.C., native his batting .486 with eight extra base hits including four doubles and four home runs, scoring a team-best 13 runs.
Ridings led four Catamounts with multi-hit games on Wednesday as Jacob Hoyle doubled in a 2-for-5, one RBI showing with Bradley Strong (2-for-4) and Dale Urquhart Jr. (2-for-2) both colleting two hits apiece. Dykota Spiess also homered, belting a solo shot in the fourth inning for WCU in going 1-for-3 with two walks.
Martin, who pinch hit in the sixth and assumed duties behind the plate, finished 1-for-2 with his towering homer providing WCU with the game-winning runs.
Gardner-Webb (20-16-1) scored in the top of the first inning, capitalizing on an infield error with John Harris driving in the game's first run on a single to left field. However, the lead was short lived as Ridings smacked the first pitch of his at bat in the home half of the frame over the fence in right center to tie the game at one through one.
In the second inning, the Runnin' Bulldogs put together a two-out rally with Danny Yelverton and Jacob Walker scoring on a two-RBI single to center field by Adam Tiller for a 3-1 advantage. Spiess closed the gap back to one with a lead-off homer to right in the fourth only to see Gardner-Webb scratch together a three-run rally in the top of the sixth inning to pull ahead, 6-2. Tiller delivered his third and fourth RBI of the night on a double down the right field line as a part of GWU's three run frame.
All told, Tiller was 2-for-5 with four RBI to lead four Bulldog hitters with two-hit outings. John Harris (2-for-5) had a couple of singles while Walker (2-for-5) and Yelverton (2-for-4) collected a single and a double apiece.
Western Carolina (23-16) pulled by with two runs, 6-4, in the sixth as Aaron Attaway drew a four-pitch walk ahead of Ridings who deposited a 2-1 pitch over the fence in right for a two-run homer - his first career, multi-homer run game.
With the deficit still at two entering the home portion of the seventh inning, Urquhart Jr., singled through the right side with one out ahead of Strong who walked on four-straight pitches. Austin Neary nearly drove in a run with a screaming line drive that was picked at second base by J.J. Nazzaro with both WCU runners luckily able to scramble back to first and second to prevent a double-play. A balk moved both runners up one base before Martin drove a 2-0 pitch out to right center field for a three-run homer, pushing the Catamounts ahead for the first time in the game, 7-6.
WCU added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth on a run-scoring double by Hoyle and a RBI single by Urquhart Jr., to provide the final tally.
Catamount starter Adam Curtis worked through five and a third, scattering four runs - only three of which were earned - on five hits with four strikeouts against three walks. He was chased in the sixth inning but factored in a no-decision following Martin's homer. Freshman relievers Jonathan Waszak and Alex Barr both threw with Barr striking out two before sophomore Tyler Powell (2-2) was summonsed to finish off the seventh inning, tallying two strikeouts against a pair of walks.
Powell picked up the victory - his second win of the season - with senior closer Preston Hatcher coming on in the eighth inning to induce an inning-ending ground ball before finishing with his ninth save of the year. The Atlanta, Ga., tossed an inning and a third, striking out one with a walk and one hit surrendered.
Hatcher's nine seasonal saves ties him for fourth in WCU's single-season record books while his 19th career save moves him into a tie with former Catamount - and current Kansas City Royals closer - Greg Holland (2005-07).
Gardner-Webb reliever Brad Haymes (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season, giving up the seventh run as a part of Martin's three-run home run with the other two runs tagged to Beau Hilton, who tossed two and a third out of the bullpen. Hunter Smith tossed four frames in the start, allowing two runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Both teams finished with double-digit hits as WCU outslugged Gardner-Webb, 14-to-12, with six of the Catamount hits going for extra bases. The two combined to strand 23 runners - 12 by the Runnin' Bulldogs and 11 by WCU.
Still amidst a nine-game home stand, Western Carolina returns to the friendly confines of Childress Field / Hennon Stadium for a three-game Southern Conference series against the Georgia Southern Eagles this weekend. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 5:00 pm with a special 4:00 pm start time on Saturday in conjunction with the WCU Football Spring Game which begins at 1:00 pm. Sunday's series finale is slated for 1:00 pm.