April 24, 2007
High Point, N.C. - Western Carolina scored runs in six of the nine innings on Tuesday afternoon, including a pair of four-run frames to claim a 15-8 victory over the High Point Panthers in mid-week, non-conference action at the newly renovated Williard Field.
The game against High Point had originally been scheduled for February 13, but had to be rescheduled when the threat of inclement weather forced the postponement.
Western (28-12) was led by junior Blake Murphy, who finished 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI double and a two-run home run to left field. Freshman Adam Baker tallied a team-best three hits, going 3-for-4 with three singles, a walk and four runs scored as the WCU designated hitter.
The Catamounts never trailed in the ballgame, taking advantage of Baker's lone walk of the game coming with two outs in the top of the second inning. Murphy then laced a full-count pitch down the left field line, passed the diving third baseman for an RBI double, scoring Baker from first.
Western stretched its lead to three with a two-spot in the visitor half of the third. Junior Barrett Shaft led off with a walk and then stole second. Two batters later, junior Steven Strausbaugh, lined a RBI double to right center field to score Shaft. Strausbaugh swiped third for the second stolen base of the frame and came home on an RBI ground out to the right side by classmate Jonathan Greene.
High Point (23-21) scratched the scoreboard in the bottom of the third as the short stop Alfie Wheeler was hit by a pitch and moved around the paths on back-to-back outs, scoring on an RBI single through the right side by right fielder, Bill Manion.
However, Western plated nine runs over the next three innings, outscoring HPU 9-to-3, with a three-run top of the eighth pushing the Catamounts out to an insurmountable advantage. The Panthers did manage four runs in the bottom of the eighth off a grand slam - the first allowed by WCU pitching this year - to provide the final tally.
Strausbaugh finished with a pair of hits in six at bats, adding six putouts and a pair of assists, including gunning down a base runner at home plate from right field. Shaft, freshman Brent Greer and senior Kenny Smith each added a pair of hits in the win, WCU's 14th in its past 15 games.
Bryan Corbett (2-1) earned the win for Western, tossing two and a third innings in relief of starter Brock Thornburg who went four and two thirds. The senior allowed three earned runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout. Corbett scattered four hits and one earned run.
Western Carolina returns to action on Wednesday night at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium, hosting the Georgia Bulldogs in a second make-up game of the week. First pitch is slated for 7:00 pm. Fans can follow all of the action live on GameTracer, presented by Carolina West Sports Medicine and West Care Health System by logging onto www.CatamountSports.com.