May 10, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Sophomore starter Jeremy Null recorded his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the season, striking out 10 batters in helping Western Carolina secure a 6-1 victory over the Wofford Terriers Friday night in its Southern Conference series-opener at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
Null (7-2) limited Wofford to a run on just two base hits in working a career-long eight and a third innings on the mound. Meanwhile, junior Dykota Spiess jumpstarted the Catamount offense in the home half of the fourth with his fourth homerun of the season as a part of a 2-for-3 showing at the plate as WCU outhit the Terriers, 10-to-2.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for Saturday evening with a special start time of 6:30 pm to accommodate commencement ceremonies on the WCU campus. Both Saturday and Sunday's games have been added to the broadcast schedule of the Catamount Sports Network with live streaming audio (free) and streaming video (subscription) through Catamount All-Access available online at CatamountSports.com. Fans can also follow along online with live GameTracker.
Western Carolina (34-17, 19-6 SoCon) stretched its current seasonal winning streak to seven while also claiming its 12th-consecutive league victory. The current 12-game SoCon win streak is the second-longest in school history.
Wofford (20-22, 10-18 SoCon) jumped out to the early lead in the top of the fourth inning with a single run as James Plaisted grounded out to the right side with runners at the corners to drive home Alec Paradowski for the 1-0 advantage. The lead was short-lived, though, as the Catamounts responded in the bottom of the inning to open a stretch of six unanswered runs over the final five frames it took swings.
Spiess belted a lead-off home run over the fence in right center field to tie the game at one-apiece in the home portion of the fourth inning. The rally continued as Bradley Strong drew the first of two walks he charted in the win before taking second on a wild pitch. Junior Aaron Attaway handed the Catamounts the lead on a sharp single to left field with Strong racing around third to score from second base as WCU took a 2-1 lead.
Attaway's base hit stretched his current hitting streak to 12. He was one of four players with a two-hit night including Spiess, Hoyle and Julian Ridings who was 2-for-5.
The Catamount lead remained just one until the sixth inning as WCU loaded the bases on a hit batter and back-to-back walks. Cody Jones drove in his 17th run of the season on a deep sacrifice fly to center field with Spiess tallying his second run of the game.
In the seventh, Jacob Hoyle laced a one-out single up the middle ahead of Strong who plated the run on a single to left field to stretch the advantage to three, 4-1. The evening's scoring was capped in the eighth as Jones scored on an infield throwing error following an Attaway single to left. Ridings collected his second hit of the game with an RBI single to right to plate Attaway and providing the final tally, 6-1.
Senior Preston Hatcher closed the ninth inning by retiring the final two batters, tallying his SoCon-leading 26th game finished this season.
Combined, WCU stranded 10 runners while Wofford left six. The Terriers, who lead the SoCon and NCAA in stolen bases entering the weekend, were held without a theft as catcher Adam Martin gunned down two would-be base stealers including one at second and another at third base.
Wofford starter Luke Leftwich (2-5) held the potent Catamount lineup to just two runs on five hits through five innings before giving way to reliever J.D. Osborne who surrendered four runs on five hits. Both Terrier hurlers struck out four and combined for five walks.
Game two of the three-game SoCon series is scheduled for 6:30 pm on Saturday evening. Fans are encouraged to check CatamountSports.com, WCU's Facebook page or follow on Twitter (@Catamounts) for any weather-related schedule changes.
Post-Game Notes - Career Stat Tracker:
- Tyler White moved into a tie for eighth all-time with his 221st career game played on Friday night ... He has 212 career games played in his four-year career at WCU and is poised to move into a tie for fifth with Todd Roper (213, 2001-04) and Rod Goldston (213, 2000-03) when he starts on Saturday evening;
- Western Carolina senior golfers Steven Smith, Kyle Wilson and Michelle Bello were recognized prior to Friday night's first pitch as a part of Senior Weekend ... Also, sophomore J.T. Poston was recognized for his at-large individual berth in the NCAA Men's Golf Tallahassee Regional.