May 1, 2014
Shelby, N.C. - Bradley Strong bounced a RBI single up the middle in the top of the 12th inning to score Danny Bermudez as Western Carolina upended Wake Forest, 3-2, Wednesday night in midweek, nonconference action at Veterans Field / Keeter Stadium, site of the American Legion World Series.
Bermudez drew a lead-off walk to open the top of the decisive 12th inning with senior Aaron Attaway - a defensive substitution in the seventh inning - advancing the second-year catcher into scoring position with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Strong chopped one up the middle which took a fortuitous bounce over the head of second baseman Nate Mondou allowing Bermudez to cross the plate from second base.
In the bottom of the 12, Tyler Powell (2-0) struck out two batters looking as the Catamounts sat the Demon Deacons down in order to secure the win, their second against an ACC foe this season.
Powell was the eighth WCU pitcher that combined to keep Wednesday's game close, striking out two with a run allowed on one hit and a walk. Sophomore Colton Davis struck out three in a two-inning start with southpaw classmate Alex Barr fanning three in 2.2 innings, surrendering Wake's first run on two hits and two runs. Freshman Korey Anderson struck out two in an inning of work with Nate Williams inducing an inning-ending fly ball out on one relief pitch, entering the game on a 1-2 count.
Jonathan Waszak faced one batter with left-hander Bryan Sammons striking out two in an inning and a third of hitless, scoreless relief. Senior T.J. Fussell was again solid in relief and was poised to earn the victory, striking out a team-high four in 2.2 innings out of the bullpen, scattering two hits.
Western Carolina (29-14) had a chance to end the game in the 11th inning. Tied at one, junior Jacob Hoyle collected his second RBI of the day with a towering solo home run over the fence in right field to make it 2-1. The round-tripper was a SoCon-leading 13th this season - his second in extra innings - while the two RBI give him 41 on the season.
The Deacs would rally, though, fighting back with a run in the bottom of the frame to continue the game. Mondou drew a lead-off walk before moving to third on a check-swing single down the first base line by Will Craig to put runners at the corners. The game-tying marker scored on an infield single, but WCU stemmed the tide with an inning-ending double play turned by Strong, Attaway and Hoyle.
Craig finished with a game-high four singles, finishing 4-for-5 with a strikeout.
Wake Forest (26-22) grabbed the lead in the home half of the third inning as Mondou delivered a bases loaded sacrifice fly to center field to score Evan Stephens to make it 1-0.
The margin stayed at just one until the sixth inning when Cody Jones led off with a double to right field. Adam Martin drew his second of two walks to extend his safely reached streak to 14-straight games, putting two aboard. An error on a failed pickoff attempt at second base advanced both runners to second and third, respectively, before Hoyle drove a deep shot to center allowing Jones to score the tying run on the sacrifice fly.
Jones and Strong led WCU with 2-for-6 outings at the plate, both with a single and double.
Wake Forest reliever Garrett Kelly (1-3) suffered the loss, facing just one batter and issuing the walk to Bermudez in the 12th. Starter Jack Fischer struck out five against three walks, surrendering one unearned run on four hits in six innings.
Western Carolina returns to Southern Conference action this weekend as it hosts arch-rival Appalachian State for a three-game set at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 5:00 pm with Saturday to start at 2:00 pm. The series concludes on Sunday with a 1:00 pm first pitch.