April 23, 2014
Clemson, S.C. - Clemson sophomore left hander Zack Erwin struck out a career-high 13 batters to lead No. 20 Clemson to an 11-3 victory over Western Carolina at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Wednesday night. The Catamounts (26-13), who defeated Clemson in Cullowhee on March 4, split the home-and-home season series with the Tigers (25-16).
Erwin (3-2) earned the win by tossing 7.0 strong innings in a starting role. The Duluth, Ga., native limited the potent Catamount offense to just four hits - two for extra bases - and three runs with two walks along with his 13 strikeouts. Erwin's previous career-high total for strikeouts was seven accomplished three times.
Catamount starter Bryce Danielson (0-1) suffered the loss in his first collegiate start. He was the first of eight WCU pitchers on the night. Freshman Korey Anderson tossed a career-long three innings, collecting his first collegiate strikeout in the fourth inning.
Much like the first meeting in Cullowhee only in reverse, the early innings proved profitable for the Tigers, who prevented what would have been just the second two-game series sweep all-time by WCU with the victory. Clemson scored seven combined runs in the first four innings. Steve Wilkerson's two-run double in the second inning highlighted the uprisings.
The Catamounts, who entered the game with a SoCon-leading .393 on-base percentage, scratched with three runs in the fifth inning coming on a pair of run-scoring doubles. J.D. Long squeezed a two-base hit inside the bag down the third base line to drive home Dykota Spiess, who broke-up Erwin's no-hit bid with a lead-off single in the top of the fifth. Two batters later, Bradley Strong drove his sixth double in the past five games to left center field, plating two to move into second on the team with 37 RBI this season.
Long led WCU offensively on the night, reaching all three times with the double and a pair of walks. Adam Martin added a sharp leadoff single to center field in the sixth inning for the fourth Catamount base hit.
Clemson, which scored in six of its eight innings at the plate, added three runs in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach.
Western Carolina returns to Southern Conference action this weekend with a three-game road trip to Birmingham, Ala., to face the Samford Bulldogs (25-16, 9-6 SoCon). The Bulldogs have won four of their last five games including taking 2-of-3 on the road over Georgia Southern last weekend. Samford is 16-7 at home this season.