April 21, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina got a one-out RBI single through the right side by Jacob Hoyle in the bottom of the eighth inning, driving home Aaron Attaway for the game-winning run as the Catamounts rallied to knock off Georgia Southern, 9-8, Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference action at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Saturday's win coupled with Friday night's victory gives the Catamounts the three-game series over the Eagles, the first for WCU since 2010 and the first in Cullowhee since 2007.
Game three of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon with first pitch at 1:00 pm. WCU will send junior RHP Jordan Smith to the mound while the Eagles counter with sophomore LHP Sam Howard. Fans can follow all of the action with live video streaming (subscription) through Catamount All-Access as well as live GameTracker (free) available online at CatamountSports.com.
Georgia Southern (21-18, 10-10 SoCon) erased a four-run WCU lead by plating two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, knotting the game at eight apiece after a bases loaded infield single by Zac Lenns. However, the Catamounts were able to claw back in the home half of the eighth to plate the go-ahead run.
Attaway led off the decisive inning, going with a pitch to right field for his third hit of the afternoon for WCU. Two batters later, Tyler White matched Attaway with his third base hit of the game by driving a single up the middle, advancing Attaway to third base ahead of Hoyle who delivered a RBI single through the right side to bring in the game-winning run.
In the top of the ninth inning, Catamount closer Preston Hatcher (6-2) worked around a one-out hit batsman as Adam Martin gunned down would-be base-stealer Cole Watson before striking out pinch hitter Arthur Owens to score the victory.
Attaway (3-for-5) and White (3-for-4) both collected three hits apiece with a double for the Catamounts with Ridings, White and Martin each driving in two runs in the team's sixth-straight win. White moved into a tie for ninth in the school's record books with his 55th career double, matching former teammate Matt Johns (2008-11).
Georgia Southern's Robbie Dodds led all hitters with a 4-for-5 showing at the dish, charting four singles with two runs scored and one driven in. Dodds was one of four Eagles with multi-hit games with Lenns, Chase Griffin and Tyler Avera all tallying two hits in the losing effort.
Catamount starter Morgan McKinney struck out seven against four walks in five and two thirds innings on Saturday afternoon. The Gainesville, Fla., native allowed four earned runs on seven hits, stranding five Eagle base runners in the five complete innings he tossed. Reliever Jon Nadale allowed two unearned runs on two hits with a strikeout while Tyler Powell fanned two against two walks with a pair of runs allowed.
Hatcher tossed the final inning and two thirds with two strikeouts, holding GSU scoreless and to two base hits in picking up the victory. The Atlanta, Ga., native picked up his 15th career victory, matching his personal season-best with his sixth win.
Western Carolina (25-16, 14-6 SoCon) jumped out to an early lead with a run in the first inning as Attaway doubled to left center before scoring on a sacrifice fly by White. However, the Eagles plated three runs between the second and third innings to pull ahead, 3-1, through three frames.
The Catamounts then outscored Georgia Southern, 7-1, in the middle three innings including a two-run fourth and four-run sixth. Martin doubled off the "Purple Monster" in left to drive in two in the fourth with Julian Ridings racing home from third as the Eagles attempted to turn two in the middle infield.
Tied at four in the bottom of the sixth inning, Attaway singled home Martin. Ridings then shoot a triple down the right field line to drive in two with White adding another extra base hit with a RBI double down the left field line to stake WCU to the 8-4 advantage.
GSU reliever Kyle Rowe (3-2) suffered the loss after giving up one run on three hits in one inning of work out of the bullpen. Eagle starter Jason Richman gave up eight runs on 11 hits with two walks before Chris Myers scattered two hits in an inning of scoreless relief.
WCU - which did not strikeout in Saturday's victory - out-hit GSU, 16-to-12, on Saturday with the Catamounts tallying five extra base hits. The Eagles stranded 11 runners on base with WCU leaving eight on the paths.
The series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm.