April 25, 2012
Johnson City, Tenn. - Western Carolina plated four runs in a strong first inning showing on Wednesday night en route to snapping a season-long four-game losing skid with a 6-1 victory over former league foe, East Tennessee State at the Buccaneers' new on-campus Thomas Stadium. Three Catamount recorded two-RBI outings as WCU scored its seventh-straight victory over ETSU.
Freshman Jacob Hoyle led WCU with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with a double and two runs driven in. Senior second baseman Ross Heffley also drove in two runs on a 1-for-3 showing, adding a sacrifice fly, while Aaron Attaway plated two in the opening frame.
Western Carolina (26-15) got on the board in the top of the first inning as freshman Bradley Strong - playing in front of his old high school teammates and a near hometown crowd - tripled to right center field to open the game. The next batter, Heffley, lifted a sacrifice fly to right field that easily plated Strong for the early advantage. The Catamounts would add to their lead on back-to-back, two-out doubles. Hoyle doubled to left center field with runners at the corners to push the WCU lead to 2-0 with Attaway doubling to right center to drive in a pair and double the lead to 4-0.
The Buccaneers (19-21) answered with a run in the home portion of the frame as Matthew Scruggs doubled to left center to score Dylan Pratt who was the second player hit by a pitch in the inning.
WCU managed solo runs in the third and fourth innings to provide the final tally for the game. Hoyle drove home his second run of the game on a two-out single through the right side to plate Tyler White in the third while Heffley drove home his second marker with a two-out single to right field that scored Julian Ridings who doubled for the fourth extra base hit for the Catamounts on the day.
Following the fourth inning score, ETSU pitchers settled into a groove, retiring 14 batters in a row until Bryant Noteboom drew a pinch hit walk in the top of the ninth inning and was later stranded at second.
Junior Adam Curtis (5-1) scored the victory for the Catamounts after tossing two innings in a pre-determined staff day as WCU used eight hurlers on the afternoon, limiting the Bucs to just four combined base hits. Curtis surrendered one run on one hit, walking and striking out one batter while also plunking two in the first inning. Senior Andrew Blackwell also tossed a pair of innings of hitless, scoreless relief out of the bullpen, working around a pair of fourth inning walks while facing eight batters.
The Catamounts also threw junior Jon Nadale for two thirds of an inning, freshman Tyler Powell for an inning and a third with freshman Danny Schneider, junior Hunter Brister and senior Darron Dotson working the game into the ninth. Freshman Jeremy Null came on in the final frame, working a perfect inning with a team-high two strikeouts.
The Bucs' four hits were scattered amongst four different batters with Scruggs recording the lone extra base hit. ETSU did benefit from five walks and three hit batters issued by Catamount pitching.
Kuehl McEachern (0-1) took the loss for the Buccaneers after allowing five earned runs on four hits in two innings of work, walking two and fanning one. Logan Rice slowed the Catamount attack in the five innings he toed the rubber, surrendering three hits with two strikeouts but only one run scored.
Western Carolina returns home this weekend for a three-game Southern Conference series against the College of Charleston at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. Friday's game is scheduled for a 5:00 pm start, with Saturday and Sunday slated for a 1:00 pm first pitch.
All three games will be broadcast by the Catamount Sports Network with audio (free), as well as video streamed online through Catamount All-Access (subscription required) online at www.CatamountSports.com.