May 9, 2007
Columbus, Ohio - Western Carolina jumped on top early, scoring 10 unanswered runs through the first four innings and again blasted three home runs as the Catamounts completed the two-game sweep of the Ohio State Buckeyes with a 12-2 win Wednesday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium.
The win moved Western ahead in the all-time series with the Buckeyes, 6-5, and made the Catamounts 11-6 all-time against current members of the Big Ten.
Western (34-15) loaded the bases in each of the first two innings, capitalizing on three-straight, one-out walks in the first inning before junior Jonathan Greene singled to left center to score his classmate, Blake Murphy, giving the Catamounts an early, 1-0, lead. Yet, a double-play along the middle of the Buckeye infield held WCU to just the single run.
The Catamounts managed to hold OSU scoreless in the bottom of the first after a lead-off single by designated hitter Jacob Howell was erased after Murphy gunned Howell down at second caught stealing. A one-out single by centerfielder Matt Angle was eventually erased as WCU starting pitcher, Tyler Johnson, picked him off to end the inning.
In the top of the second, Western broke the game open with five runs on three base hits, including a three-run home run by senior Kenny Smith, which extended his current hitting streak to 16 games. Freshman Nick Liles opened the frame with a single through the right side when two batters later, short stop Mitchell Hatley singled up the middle to put two on with one out.
Lead-off hitter, junior Barrett Shaft, was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the second-straight inning before junior Steven Strausbaugh singled to center field, driving in two runs in Liles and Hatley. With runners on first and second, Smith blasted his 17th homer of the season over the fence in left field for the 6-0 lead.
The opening four-inning barrage ended in the fourth inning as the Catamounts pushed across four runs, including a three-run homer by senior John Ingram, to stake itself to a 10-0 lead. Shaft opened the frame by being hit by a pitch for the second time on the day before Strausbaugh, who raised his seasonal average above .300 for the first time this season, singling to left field to put two aboard. The next batter, Smith, hit an RBI single to left, scoring Shaft from second, for the seven-run lead. With two out in the inning, Ingram laced a 2-2 pitch over the fence in left for the second, three-run long ball and a 10-0 advantage.
Ohio State (28-17) answered with one run in both the home half of the fourth and fifth innings, trimming Western's advantage to eight, 10-2, but a two-run home run in the top of the ninth by Greene provided the final tally, 12-2.
Johnson (2-3) worked five innings for the Catamounts allowing two earned runs while scattering eight base hits with one walk. Both sophomore Brian Corbett and freshman Daniel Ottone each tossed two scoreless innings apiece while only surrendering two hits over the final four innings.
Four Catamounts posted multiple RBI games led by Strausbaugh and Smith who each finished 3-for-4 on the day. Smith homered while posting four RBI, with Strausbaugh tallying two singles and a double with a pair of runs driven in. Greene and Ingram each drove in three runs apiece on the afternoon and both homered in the win.
Western Carolina returns to Southern Conference action this Friday through Sunday as the Catamounts travel to Spartanburg, S.C., to face the Wofford Terriers. Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm, with Saturday and Sunday slated to begin at 1:00 pm.