April 26, 2011
High Point, N.C. -
Western Carolina scored five-unanswered runs in the latter innings on Tuesday night to rally past the High Point Panthers, 6-2, at Willard Stadium. The Catamounts pushed across two runs in both the fifth and seventh innings with a single run in the sixth to stretch its current winning streak to three, and to make it nine-straight over the Panthers.
Three Catamounts posted multi-hit games as Austin Schultz and Cameron Dullnig both finished 2-for-3, while freshman Cody Jones drove in a game-high two runs on a 1-for-3 showing including WCU's only extra base hit. Reigning Southern Conference Player of the Week, Stephen Notaro, finished 2-for-4 in the winning effort.
Junior Andrew Blackwell (1-0) pitched three innings of relief for his first win of the season, taking over for Darron Dotson who made his first career start on Tuesday. Blackwell scattered five hits without allowing a run and struck out two batters while Dotson surrendered both Panther runs on just four hits through an inning and two-thirds before giving way to Blackwell.
Sophomore reliever Jeremy Sluder kept High Point off the board by tossing three and two-thirds of scoreless innings, working around one hit and a walk with a career-high five strikeouts. Senior Brandon Johnson earned his first save of the year by retiring the final two batters with two runners aboard to secure the victory.
High Point (21-22) loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning but only plated one run. Ryan Retz struck out looking before Murray White IV singled to center to score Sal Pezzino. Dotson then got Scott Glover to ground in to a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
Notaro singled and scored in the top of the second to briefly tie the game but HPU answered with another run in the bottom half of the inning to regain the lead. Kyle Mahoney walked and scored on a wild pitch to hand the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth, Schultz and Macon Smith both scored runs, the latter on a sacrifice fly by Ross Heffley as the Catamounts took their first advantage, 3-2. High Point had a chance to regain the lead, loading the bases in the bottom of the frame but Sluder came out of the WCU bullpen and got Mahoney to foul out to end the threat. Sluder went on to retire 11-in-a-row until Zach Tessier broke through with a double in the ninth inning but the Panthers did not score.
Tyler White was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to lead off the sixth inning and was moved around, scoring on an RBI double to left field by Jones. Then, in the seventh, WCU loaded the bases with one out before Schultz was able to score on a wild pitch with Dullnig drive in Matt Johns with a single to center to cap the scoring.
Both teams stranded 10 runners on base apiece.
High Point's Drew Dades (3-4) took the loss, his second of the season to WCU, allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout in five innings of work. Pezzino was 3-for-4 with a run scored and a walk and Drew Geissinger and Tessier each had two hits in the game for the home squad.
Western Carolina hosts Clemson at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium in the rescheduled game from March 9 when rain forced the postponement of the Cullowhee meeting between the two regional rivals. Fans will want to arrive at the ball park early as prior to first pitch, WCU will conduct a special ceremony to recognize former Catamount head coach - and current Clemson skipper - Jack Leggett for whom the "Leggett Number 7 Legacy" program has its inspiration.
The Catamounts will host San Diego State this weekend for three games this weekend with game one set for 6:00 pm on Friday evening. First pitch of the second game is scheduled for 3:00 pm on Saturday with a new start time on Sunday at 11:00 am.
All four nonconference home games this week will be available online with live GameTracker online at www.CatamountSports.com.