May 4, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Adam Martin keyed a three-run bottom of the first inning with a two-run home run as the Catamounts handed starting pitcher Jordan Smith an early advantage on Saturday morning. Smith struck out six in seven innings of work on the mound as the Catamounts completed the two-game series sweep of Tennessee Tech, 6-1, in nonconference action at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Smith (5-3) scattered five base hits to score his fourth victory in his last four starts in a game that was bumped up three hours from its scheduled start time to avoid inclement weather. The Liberty, N.C., product limited the potent Golden Eagle lineup to one unearned run, issuing just two walks and stranding seven base runners. Right-handers Tyler Powell and Preston Hatcher both tossed an inning to seal WCU's sixth-straight with both striking out two in hitless, scoreless relief.
Martin finished 1-for-4 with the two-run homer - his fifth round-tripper of the season - to lead the Catamount attack with the two RBI. Sophomore Jacob Hoyle remained hot at the plate, blasting a leadoff home run in the sixth inning as a part of a 2-for-4 performance while Julian Ridings singled sharply up the middle twice in a second 2-for-4 day at the plate.
Hoyle finished the two-game set against Tennessee Tech 5-for-8 (.625) including three doubles in Friday night's win to give him four extra base hits and a total of three RBI.
Aaron Attaway led off the home half of the first inning with a single to right, extending his current hitting streak to 11-straight games. After taking second on a wild pitch, the Morganton, N.C., native stole third before coming home on a sacrifice fly by WCU RBI-leader, Tyler White. After Hoyle drove a two-out single up the middle, Martin hammered a 2-0 pitch over the fence in left to give the Catamounts a 3-0 lead through one complete.
The Golden Eagles chipped at the WCU advantage in the top of the fifth with an unearned run to make it 3-1. However, the Catamounts responded in the bottom of the frame, capitalizing on the lone Tennessee Tech error on a dropped pop-up. Bradley Strong reached second on the miscue and was driven in by a single just over the shortstop's reach into left field. Gragg was later plated by a two-out single by Ridings on his 37th RBI of the season.
Hoyle then capped scoring with a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning to provide the final tally, 6-1.
Tennessee Tech (33-14) was led by the bottom half of its order on Saturday as all five hits came from the bottom four of its lineup. James Abraham finished 2-for-4 with catcher Jordan Parris driving in the lone Golden Eagles run on a double down the left field line in the top of the fifth inning in a 1-for-2 outing. Dylan Bosheers also doubled as a part of a 1-for-3 afternoon.
After going in order in the first two innings, the Golden Eagles threatened in the top of the third inning, loading the bases on a pair of singles and a two-out walk. However, Smith posted his second strikeout looking in the inning to end the threat, stranding the bases loaded.
TTU starter Ross Spurgeon (2-3) took the loss, surrendering six runs - four of which were earned - on six hits through five and a third innings with three strikeouts. David Hess struck out one in an inning and two thirds of scoreless relief with Seth Lucio fanning a pair with one hit allowed in an inning of work.
Western Carolina (33-17, 18-6 SoCon) now breaks for its final exams this coming week, returning to action on Friday, May 10 as it hosts its final Southern Conference series of the regular season. The Catamounts host Wofford for three games at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium on Senior Weekend. Prior to first pitch on Friday, the Catamount men's and women's golf seniors will be honored in a special pre-game ceremony with the seven WCU baseball seniors honored prior to Sunday's first pitch.
Game times for the three-game series are 6:00 pm on Friday, a special post-graduation 6:30 pm first pitch on Saturday and 1:00 pm on Sunday afternoon.