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Two-Run Seventh Leads Gardner-Webb Past Western Carolina, 7-5

Matthew Koehler hit his third home run of the season on Wednesday at Gardner-Webb (file photo)
April 19, 2017

Box Score

Boiling Springs, N.C. - Redshirt senior Bryson Bowman homered twice as a part of a three home run performance by Western Carolina on Wednesday night, but it was not enough as the Catamounts suffered their fourth-straight seasonal defeat, falling at Gardner-Webb, 7-5, in nonconference action at John Henry Moss Stadium.

Wednesday's loss was WCU's third-straight to Gardner-Webb, the longest series win streak for the Running' Bulldogs against the Catamounts.

Bowman homered in his first two plate appearances, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI. He extended both his reached base safely streak (35 games) and career-best hitting streak (20 games) in his first trip with a home run that floated over the fence in left field to give WCU an early, 1-0, lead. Down by a marker, 2-1, his line-drive, two-run homer in the third gave the Catamounts their final advantage, at 3-2.

Trailing by a run, Bowman was also involved in tying the game at five in the top of the seventh inning. The Baton, N.C., native reached on a fielder's choice before taking second on an error as the relay throw to first was overthrown and ended up in the Catamounts' dugout allowing Matthew Koehler, who led off the frame with a walk, to score.

However, in the bottom of the frame, Gardner-Webb's Gage Parham cashed in on his teammate's double, walk, and a wild pitch to push two runners across on a two-out single through the right side to provide the final tally, 7-5.

The Catamounts managed to put two men aboard in the top of the ninth as Nobu Suzuki drove a two-out single through the left side before an error allowed Bowman to reach. However, a fly ball out to left ended the game.

WCU senior Matt Smith stretched his active reached base safely streak to 17-straight games by reaching three times in the loss, dropping his team-leading 12th double of the year down the left field line and also reaching on a walk and a HBP. Capping WCU's offensive highlights was redshirt sophomore Matthew Koehler who collected his third home run of the season on a shot down the right field line, finishing 1-for-3 with two runs scored.

Catamount reliever Jake Niezen (0-1) suffered the tough-luck loss after surrendering two runs on just two hits through 2.2 innings in just his second appearance of the season. He allowed a lead-off double to left that was lost in the twilight sky ahead of the lone walk issued in in the top of the seventh inning. Both inherited runners scored on Parham's single after Niezen had left the mound.

Making his first collegiate start, sophomore Michael Davis tossed a career-long 3.2 innings, allowing five runs -- only two of which were earned -- with three walks and a strikeout. Senior Korey Anderson tossed the final inning and two-thirds of one-hit, scoreless relief with one strikeout.

Gardner-Webb reliever Jarrett Thompson (2-0) picked up the win out of the bullpen, tossing an inning and two-thirds of hitless, scoreless relief, only allowing one runner on a HBP. Closer Wil Sellers, the sixth Running' Bulldog pitcher to toe the rubber, collected his seventh save of the year, allowing two runners -- one on a hit -- in the ninth inning.

GWU catcher Justin Kunz finished a game-best 3-for-4, finishing a triple shy of the cycle with a two-run home run and a two-run double to account for his four RBI. Infielder Mickey Dugan was 2-for-5 while Parham finished 2-for-4, adding a double to his two-RBI seventh inning single.

Western Carolina (16-19) returns home to open a five-game home stand, first hosting VMI for a three-game Southern Conference series scheduled to begin on Friday.