April 28, 2007
Greenville, S.C. - Western Carolina scored runs in six of the nine innings and rode a trio of two-run home runs to even the seasonal series with the Furman Paladins with a 12-4 win Saturday evening at the Furman Baseball Stadium. Senior Kenny Smith and juniors Steven Strausbaugh and Jonathan Greene each delivered two-run home runs in the victory as the Catamounts snapped their longest losing skid since late March at two games.
The two teams will decide the series with game three at 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon.
Tied at three, Western (29-14, 12-5 SoCon) broke open the close game with a four-run fifth inning to surge ahead, 7-3. Junior Barrett Shaft opened the inning by reaching on a hard-hit ball that was bobbled at short. Two batters later, Strausbaugh hammered a shot over the fence in right center field for the 5-3 edge. Using a pair of walks by Greene and pinch-hitter, freshman Adam Baker, sandwiched around an infield single by senior John Ingram, the Catamounts loaded the bases with two out for junior Blake Murphy, who erased an 0-for-2 start to the game with a two-RBI single up the middle to complete the four-run frame.
Overall, including the fifth, Western scored nine runs in the fifth through the eighth innings en route to the win. All told, the Catamounts pounded out 15 base hits on the evening.
Ingram led the Catamounts with a 4-for-5 outing at the plate with his classmate, Smith, finishing 2-for-4 to extend his current hitting streak to his season-best 10. Greene was 2-for-3 with a game-high four RBI, while Strausbaugh was 2-for-5 with a double and a home run. The Venice, Fla., native was inches away from a second long ball to straight away center, but Paladin centerfielder Joey Rodgers reached over the fence to rob him.
Western jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run homer by Smith, his team-best 16th of the year. Furman answered with a two-run long ball of their own in the home portion of the second to tie the game at two apiece. A Strausbaugh double, followed by consecutive ground outs pushed across the go-ahead run for Western, 3-2, in the third only to see Furman answer in the home half of the fourth, tying the game a three to set up the decisive fifth inning.
WCU would add one in the sixth and seventh, with a three-spot in the eighth, including Greene's home run to pull out for the 12-4 victory.
Red-shirt sophomore Drew Saberhagen (5-1) went six innings, allowing four runs -- three earned -- while scattering nine base hits. The Calabasis, Calif., native walked just one while striking out three to score the victory. Senior Brock Thornburg and freshman Daniel Ottone combined to pitch the final three in scoreless relief, giving up just one base hit over the final three frames.
Game three of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 pm. The Catamount Sports Network will provide coverage on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 in Western North Carolina, or online at www.WWCUFM.com.