April 27, 2013
Greensboro, N.C. - Western Carolina completed its third-straight Southern Conference series sweep on Saturday, taking both ends of a doubleheader over UNC Greensboro, winning 10-7 and 15-5 over the Spartans at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
With the wins, the Catamounts are the first SoCon team to reach the 30-win plateau, improving to 30-17 overall and 18-6 in conference play. Winners in 11 of its last 12 games overall, WCU also won its 11th-consecutive game in league play.
It was also the second-straight season that WCU had swept a Saturday doubleheader over UNCG, doing so in Cullowhee the previous year.
Junior Aaron Attaway led the Catamounts in Saturday's doubleheader by hitting 6-for-11 (.545) with a home run, five runs scored and four RBI. Classmate Adam Martin belted two home runs including a three-run shot in game two on Saturday to drive in four while senior Tyler White also plating four runs in the sweep.
WCU pitching combined for 11 strikeouts with just five walks in sweeping the series. Starters Morgan McKinney (3-2) and Jordan Smith (4-3) both recorded the victories on the hill with senior closer Preston Hatcher becoming WCU's all-time leader in saves, collecting his 13th save of the season in game one to give him 23 for his career to by-pass Ryan Foster (2000-03) on the career ledger.
McKinney scattered nine hits through seven innings, allowing just three runs with three strikeouts in earning the victory while Smith also tossed seven frames in his start, limiting UNCG to three runs on just five hits with four strikeouts.
Western Carolina wraps up its five-game road swing on Wednesday (May 1) as it travels to Kennesaw, Ga., to face the Kennesaw State Owls in the back-end of a midweek nonconference home-and-home.
Game One - Western Carolina 10, UNCG 7
Scoring nine runs between the fourth and seventh innings, Western Carolina jumped out to a 9-2 lead over UNCG in game one on Saturday before surviving an eighth inning rally by the home standing Spartans in a three-run, 10-7 victory.
Freshman catcher Danny Bermudez matched his career-best with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate, collecting two singles and a double while driving in and scoring two. Aaron Attaway and Bradley Strong also tallied two hits apiece in the win with both of Strong's hits going for extra bases including a double and triple.
Trailing by two after the Spartans lit the scoreboard for two runs off of Morgan McKinney in the bottom of the first inning, Adam Martin put the Catamounts on the board and in the hit column on one swing. The Marietta, Ga., native smashed a solo home run in the top of the fourth, trimming UNCG's edge to one, 2-1.
An inning later, WCU pushed across three runs including an RBI single by Attaway to score Dale Urquhart Jr., with Jacob Hoyle driving home two runs on a sharp single to right field giving the Catamounts a 4-2 lead.
WCU stretched its advantage in the sixth inning, beginning with Strong's RBI triple to right center with Bermudez driving him on a double down the right field line. Bermudez scored on a wild pitch with Julian Ridings driving in a run on a single into center field making it 8-2. Then in the seventh, consecutive walks, Bermudez singled through the right side to plate the team's ninth run, making it 9-2, WCU.
The Catamounts ran into trouble in the eighth inning as a lead-off double to center field chased starter McKinney. WCU worked through four relievers as UNCG pushed across four runs to make it 9-6. Lloyd Enzor doubled home a run with UNCG loading the bases and tallied two runs on RBI singles with a foul out to left also plating a run for the Spartans.
WCU added an insurance run in the top of the ninth as Dykota Spiess drew a lead-off walk and was moved to second on a successful sacrifice bunt by Luke Gragg. Strong then doubled down the right field line to make it 10-6. UNCG added a run in the home half of the frame, but Hatcher shut the door, stranding two in earning the save.
Hatcher struck out two in an inning and a third, getting out of the eighth before tossing the ninth.
Game Two - Western Carolina 15, UNCG 5
Western Carolina scored in six of the nine innings in which it took swings in the night cap of the Saturday twinbill, cruising past UNCG, 15-5, in the series finale. Aaron Attaway finished 4-for-6 with a home run to pace the Catamounts to the victory.
WCU jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Julian Ridings singled on the infield before moving to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Tyler White drove in the game's first run on a single through the right side. Then with White and Jacob Hoyle aboard, Adam Martin belted his second homer of the day on a three-run shot to left field.
UNCG answered in the home half of the first, though, pushing across three runs on four hits to pull back within a run, 4-3, tallying three runs on four hits off starter Jordan Smith. However from there, the Catamounts tallied 11-straight, unanswered runs to pull out to a 15-3 lead through seven innings.
During the rally, Ridings came up with a RBI single and Tyler White collected his 22nd double of the year, driving in two in the third inning. Attaway homered in the fifth inning with a solo shot to left with Bryant Noteboom plating a run on a pinch hit, bases loaded walk. Attaway later drove in a pair on a single in the sixth inning with Dykota Spiess doubling home a run on a shot down the right field line. Dale Urquhart Jr., added a RBI single in the three-run seventh.
UNCG got a two-run home run in the eighth inning off Catamount reliever Alex Barr, who struck out one in an inning of work on the hill with Taylor Sandefur making his return to the bump, finishing off the ninth with a strikeout in an inning of hitless, scoreless relief.