April 24, 2009
Greenville, S.C. -
Chris Masters held the Furman Paladins to one run on three hits, striking out a game-high nine in eight solid innings as Western Carolina won the Southern Conference series opener, 5-1, Friday night at Latham Stadium.
Trevor Collias belted a two-run home run in the top of the third as a part of a 3-for-4 showing at the plate to give the Catamounts the early advantage, 2-0. Pinch hitter Rembert Rollison's two RBI double to left center in the top of the ninth added insurance to WCU's lead as closer Daniel Ottone worked around two base hits with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth to secure the victory.
The win snapped a three-game losing skid for WCU to Furman as the Paladins swept the Catamounts in Cullowhee a season ago. It also allowed Western to keep pace in the SoCon race as second-place Georgia Southern (12-5) faltered at The Citadel on Friday night in their three-game set.
Masters (4-2) out dueled Paladin starter, Ian Parry, who worked a career-long six and a third innings with eight K's against four hits and the two early runs to Collias. Jay Friedman and Spencer Hale threw two and two-thirds innings in relief for the Paladins allowing five hits and three runs combined.
Consecutive wild pitches by Masters allowed Marcus Rose, who was hit by a pitch, to move from second to home to score Furman's lone run in the third inning. However, after allowing Rose to touch home, Masters retired 13-consecutive Furman hitters, including a stretch of four-straight via the strikeout including fanning the side in the fifth inning.
In addition to his strong performance at the plate with three hits, Collias stole three bases to move his league-leading stolen base tally to 27 on the season.
Nick Liles was the only other Catamount to post a multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-5 with an RBI single in the eighth inning to drive Collias home to make the game 3-1 at the time. J.C. Lyons added his 12th double of the season in the win.
Furman's Campbell Lewis tallied two of Furman's five hits in the game, including a double in the ninth off of Ottone that put two on two out before pinch hitter Aaron Thompkins grounded out to Matt Johns
Game two of the series is scheduled for 5:00 pm on Saturday evening in Greenville.