Kennesaw, Ga. - Playing its fourth game in three days, Western Carolina never got in rhythm offensively, dropping a 7-1 decision at Kennesaw State Monday afternoon at Stillwell Stadium. Three Catamounts combined for WCU's six hits on the day while leaving 12 runners on base.
The Owls, playing their first game since April 30, rode a five-run third inning that was keyed by a three-run homer to left field by LaDonis Bryant to sweep the two-game midweek series from the Catamounts, claiming their third-straight series win over WCU dating back to 2015.
Senior Nobu Suzuki reached base four of the five times he stepped into the batter's box on Monday, pacing the Catamounts with a game-high three singles in a 3-for-4 performance, while also adding his team-leading 12th HBP. His seventh inning single through the right side drove in WCU's lone run of the game.
Junior Brett Pope collected his team-leading 25th multiple hit game, tallying a double and a single in a 2-for-5 outing and scored WCU's lone run. The Statesville, N.C., native has reached base safely in 12-consecutive games including eight multi-hit games.
With a third-inning single up the middle, senior Matt Smith extended his reached base safely streak to 29-consecutive games. The Fredericktown, Ohio, native reached twice as he was also plunked by a pitch in the seventh. Redshirt senior Bryson Bowman walked twice in the loss for WCU.
Junior LHP Corey Sikes (0-2) took the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits with a strikeout while matching a career-long with 4.2 innings in the start. Senior Chad Mabini tossed the final three and a third, allowing a run on just three hits with a strikeout out of the bullpen.
Kennesaw State (20-25) had four players record two-hit games with Taylor Allum finishing 2-for-3 with a solo home run, his 13th of the season. Allum finished with two RBI, plating a run on a third inning single. Terence Norman and Corey Greeson both finished 2-for-4 while Grant Williams posted a 2-for-5 performance. Bryant led the team with three RBI on his third inning home run.
Owls' starter Chris Erwin (2-4) collected his second win over the year over WCU, tossing five innings of three-hit, scoreless baseball. He countered four walks with three strikeouts, the first of four pitchers used by KSU on the day.
Western Carolina (24-23) continues its current five-game road swing on Wednesday evening as it travels to Marge Schott Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bearcats (24-23), who face Xavier on Tuesday evening. The trip also takes WCU to Muncie, Ind., to face Ball State on Friday through Sunday in nonconference action.