Cullowhee, N.C. - Senior outfielder Bryson Bowman hit for the cycle on Tuesday evening, leading seven Catamounts with multiple hit games with a 4-for-5 performance as Western Carolina cruised to a 21-1 nonconference victory over visiting Savannah State at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Bowman blasted his team-leading eighth home run with a two-run shot in the first inning, reached on a RBI single in the second before driving in his fourth run of the day on a run-scoring triple in the third. It took the Baton, N.C., native until the seventh to complete the cycle, driving in two on a double to the fence in right field. All told, he collected a career-best seven RBI in the win.
Bowman is the first Catamount to hit for the cycle since the historic date in 2014 when two WCU hitters -- Aaron Attaway and Bradley Strong -- both hit for the cycle in the same game against La Salle resulting in both sets of their batting gloves being sent to the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Bowman extended both of his double-digit offensive streaks on Tuesday including reaching base for the 39th-straight game -- each game WCU has played this season -- while extending his hitting streak to a career-long 24-straight games.
Behind Bowman, juniors Brett Pope and Cameron Blaquiere both had three-hit performances with 3-for-6 outings, while senior Nobu Suzuki, sophomore Andrew Bullock, and freshman Luke Robinson each collected two-hits apiece. Junior Caleb Robinson reached base three times in a 1-for-1 outing, finishing with a walk, a HBP, and a three-run home run. The eldest of the three Robinson brothers drove home four, adding a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
Two Catamounts -- true freshman Andrew Robinson and redshirt freshman Justin Sparks -- both hit their first collegiate home runs on Tuesday as a part of the five-homer barrage by the Catamounts. Robinson finished 2-for-3 with the two-run homer in the second inning before adding a run-scoring single in the fourth. Sparks, who pinch hit in the sixth, finished 1-for-2 with a three-run blast to left center field.
Senior Matt Smith was able to extend his reached base safely streak to 20-straight games, drawing four walks in a 1-for-2, three-run performance. His lone hit was a three-run home run to left center field in the second inning -- the third home run in the past three games for the Fredericktown, Ohio, native.
Junior reliever Jacob Breakfield (1-2) scored the victory out of the bullpen as the first Catamount to replace starter Michael Davis on the mound. Davis was strong through three innings of scoreless baseball in the start, limiting the Tigers to just one hit while countering a walk with a career-best four strikeouts. Breakfield likewise fanned four through his WCU-long 4.0 innings of work, scattering three hits and one walk.
Jake Moebius tossed a third of an inning in relief, tagged with a run after allowing a hit and two walks with a strikeout before Jake Niezen pitched the final inning and two thirds of hitless scoreless relief, striking out two.
All told, the Catamount pitching staff limited Savannah State to one run on five hits, striking out 11 hitters while stranding eight Tiger base runners.
WCU scored in bunches over the first four frames including two on Bowman's home run in the first inning before homering twice in the second with Andrew Robinson and Smith both leaving the yard. In the third inning, Bowman's triple and a three-run home run by Caleb Robinson made it 12-0 before a four-run fourth that saw four hits -- all singles -- with a pair of run-scoring walks.
WCU capped its scoring in the seventh with a two-run double by Bowman and Sparks' three-run homer.
For the Tigers, starter Alex Wright (2-3) suffered the loss, lifted in the second inning after facing five batters and being saddled with seven runs on six hits with a pair of walks. Reliever Justin Washington -- the second of four arms used by Savannah State -- countered four walks with four strikeouts in three innings of work.
Offensively, speedy outfielder Jalen Atterbury finished 2-for-3, adding a walk and a strikeout. Jorge Lopez, who subbed into the outfield, reached on an eighth-inning HBP and scored the lone marker of the game for the visitors out of the MEAC.
Game two of the midweek nonconference two-game series -- and WCU's fifth-consecutive home date -- is scheduled for a 4:00 pm first pitch on Tuesday at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.