April 27, 2014
Birmingham, Ala. -
Jacob Hoyle homered twice and Jordan Smith struck out six in an eight-inning start that spanned a three and a half hour rain delay as Western Carolina out weathered Samford, 7-1, on Sunday afternoon at Joe Lee Griffin Field to win its Southern Conference series.
Western Carolina improved to 28-14 overall, 13-4 in SoCon play while Samford dropped to 26-18 overall, 10-8 against league foes
Hoyle finished the game 3-fo-4 with two home runs including a second inning solo shot over the fence in right center field, and a two-run bomb in the seventh inning.
Smith (7-3) tossed eight innings in his school-record 55th career start on Saturday, limiting Samford to one unearned run on just five hits. He countered one walk and a HBP with six strikeouts to pick-up the victory. Junior Tyler Powell tossed a perfect ninth inning, striking out one in the non-save situation to close the game for WCU.
With WCU ahead 1-0 after Hoyle led off the second inning with a home run, rain showers peppered the playing surface and rendered it unsafe in the top of the fourth inning. After a three and a half hour rain delay, play resumed with the Catamounts loading the bases before Luke Gragg delivered his third double of the series with a shot to the fence in right field to plate two making it 3-0.
Samford answered in the bottom of the frame with their lone run of the game as Heath Quinn singled and took second on a throwing error. Caleb Bryson then delivered a RBI single to drive in the unearned marker to make it 3-1 through four complete.
A bases loaded throwing error by Samford after a sliding catch in foul ground allowed Cody Jones to score in the fifth to stretch the advantage back to three, 4-1. In the seventh inning, Hoyle belted his second round-tripper of the game on a blast to right scoring Adam Martin who reached on a single. Bradley Strong capped scoring with a solo run in the top of the eighth inning to provide the final tally, 7-1.
Samford starter Cole Limbaugh (1-1) took the loss despite not re-entering after the rain delay. The right-hander struck out four in three innings of work.
Western Carolina steps out of conference in midweek action on Wednesday night against Wake Forest in a game that will be played in Shelby, N.C., at the site of the American Legion World Series. First pitch is scheduled for 6 pm. WCU then returns home to host arch-rival Appalachian State for a three-game series in the final regular season meetings between WCU and ASU both as members of the Southern Conference.