Cincinnati, Ohio - Western Carolina was quick out of the gates with a three-run top of the first inning on Wednesday night in nonconference action at Cincinnati. However, the Bearcats responded with eight-unanswered runs over the next three frames in handing the Catamounts a 9-4 loss at Marge Schott Stadium.
The loss was WCU's third-straight on the season, and kept the Catamounts winless in the three-game, all-time series with the Bearcats.
WCU senior Matt Smith stretched his current reached base safely streak to 30-consecutive games with a first inning, two-RBI single, his first of three base hits in the losing effort. The Fredericktown, Ohio, native added two-out singles in the third and eighth innings, while also tallying his 12th stolen base of the year.
Redshirt senior Bryson Bowman drove in WCU's first marker on a first inning single, and Nobu Suzuki reached a total of four times with a single, two walks, and his team-leading 13th HBP. Sophomore Andrew Bullock dropped a pinch hit double down the right field line in the fifth inning for WCU's only extra base hit. Junior Brett Pope led-off the game with a walk to stretch his reached safely streak to 13-consecutive.
All told, WCU finished with seven base hits including six singles, stranding a combined 10 runners on base.
Cincinnati (26-24) got a lead-off home run by R.J. Thompson in the first inning to trim WCU's lead to two after one complete. Thompson reached base five times including a 3-for-3 outing at the plate and drew two of the seven walks issued. In the second, a two-run homer by Ryan Noda tied the game with the Bearcats pushing across the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by A.J. Bumpass.
The Bearcats used four doubles in the third inning to plate four runs, stretching the lead to 8-3. The final out was gunned down at home on a throw by Smith to Pope to catcher Spencer Holcomb to end the rally.
Holcomb drew a lead-off walk in the fourth inning and was moved to third by a Cameron Blaquiere single and the first of two HBP's by freshman Andrew Robinson. A two-out, bases loaded HBP to Suzuki plated WCU's fourth run, trimming the deficit to four runs.
However, Cincinnati got the run back and provided the final tally in the sixth as Thompson drove in Noda who walked to open the frame.
Catamount starting pitcher Michael Davis (0-1) suffered the loss, surrendering four runs -- only three of which were earned -- on three hits with three walks. Redshirt senior Dillon Bray tossed four innings out of the bullpen, allowing five runs on seven hits with a strikeout against two walks ahead of Dylan Biumi who struck out two in an inning and two thirds of one-hit, scoreless relief. Senior right-hander Korey Anderson punched out two with a walk in tossing the eighth inning.
Bearcats reliever Reese Robinson (1-1) picked up the victory out of the bullpen, scattering three hits over five and a third innings of scoreless relief of starter A.J. Olasz. Robinson fanned three with one walk while Olasz walked three including the first two to start the game.
In addition to Thompson's strong performance at the plate, the Bearcats got two hits from catcher Joey Thomas (2-for-3) while Noda scored three runs on a 1-for-2, home run performance adding two walks and three runs scored.
Western Carolina (24-24) continues its current road trip as it opens a three-game nonconference set against Ball State (27-22), which has won five-straight games including handing Ohio State a 14-4 loss on Wednesday. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 3:00 pm with Saturday and Sunday's starts slated for 1:00 pm.