April 26, 2014
Birmingham, Ala. - Adam Martin drove in four runs and Danny Bermudez plated two with a pair of two-out singles as Western Carolina rallied past Samford on Saturday afternoon, 10-7, to even the best-of-three Southern Conference series at Joe Lee Griffin Field.
The series rubber match is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm CT / 2:00 pm ET. Fans can follow the action with live coverage on the Catamount Sports Network through streaming audio on CatamountSports.com.
Senior right-hander T.J. Fussell (4-2) tossed the final four and two thirds out of the bullpen to earn the win for the Catamounts. The Asheville, N.C., native struck out six batters and only allowed a walk and just one hit until surrendering four base knocks in the ninth inning as Samford put four runs on the board in the final frame to provide the final tally.
Freshman RHP Bryan Sammons struck out five in four and a third in the starting role, limiting the Bulldogs to three runs - two earned - on seven hits with five strikeouts.
WCU (27-14, 12-4 SoCon) trailed 2-0 after two complete before scratching the scoreboard with a single run in the top of the third despite loading the bases twice in the inning. Then, the opportunistic Catamounts took advantage of a lead-off walk and an error in the four-run fifth inning. J.D. Long, who finished 1-for-4 with a double in the third inning, drew a lead-off walk before Cody Jones doubled to left field to put runners at second and third. Martin then laced a 0-1 pitch to the gap in right center field to plate the two runners, handing the Catamounts a one-run lead, 3-2.
The rally continued as junior Jacob Hoyle sharply singled through the right side to put runners on the corners. Senior Dykota Spiess reached on a ball hit up the middle that deflected off the glove of relief pitcher, Parker Curry, allowing Martin to score giving the Morganton, N.C., native an RBI. Bermudez capped scoring with a two-out single up the middle to make it 5-2 Catamounts going to the bottom of the fifth.
Samford (26-17, 10-7 SoCon) tallied a run in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI single by Caleb Bryson to trim the deficit to two, 5-3, where it stayed until the seventh inning.
The Catamounts pushed across five runs over the final three frames to lead, 10-3, entering the bottom of the ninth inning. Bermudez drove home Luke Gragg who doubled in the seventh inning with Martin and Jacob Hoyle driving in runs in the top of the eighth. In the ninth, a Bulldog throwing error allowed one run to score with Bradley Strong plating WCU's 10th run on a sacrifice fly to end the Catamount scoring.
Samford plated four in the ninth including a two-out, three-run home run by Caleb Bryson to provide the final tally, 10-7.
Four Catamounts recorded two-hit games led by Martin who finished 2-for-6 with a single and a double and four RBI, while Jones was 2-for-4 with a pair of walks and a double. Martin has a conference-leading 50 RBI on the year. Hoyle and Bermudez also collected two hits in the win.
Bulldog starter Jared Brasher (2-3) took the loss after surrendering four runs on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Curry finished with four strikeouts in 3.2 innings, allowing seven Catamount hits and four runs, only one of which was earned.
Bryson led Samford offensively with two hits and four RBI including the Bulldogs' third home run of the series on the three-run shot in the ninth inning. Drew McWhorter started the game 3-for-3 for Samford before striking out twice to finish 3-for-5 while Heath Quinn doubled twice as a part of a 3-for-5 showing at the plate.