May 11, 2012
Statesboro, Ga. -
Jordan Smith tossed a five-hit, complete game shutout to lead Western Carolina to a series-opening, 4-0, victory over the Georgia Southern Eagles Friday night in Southern Conference action at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The win for WCU halted a three-game slide against the Eagles that dated back to last season, while also pushing the Catamounts over 30 seasonal victories. It is the 24th time since 1984 that WCU has secured at least 30 wins in a season.
Smith (4-4) scattered five hits through nine frames, only allowing one runner to reach second base in tossing the first complete game for WCU this year -- and the third complete game of his collegiate career. The sophomore from Liberty, N.C., struck out four batters against just one walk and a hit batsman, facing just 32 batters in scoring the victory.
Smith retired the first eight batters in a row before designated hitter Hunter Thomas delivered one of his team-high two singles as one of four Eagles to record base hits. He then sat down seven-straight before the second base knock by Thomas. All told, Smith retired 15 of the first 17 batters that took swings against him.
While Smith was keeping the Eagles at bay at the plate, the Catamount offense was peppering Eagle pitching with 13 base hits including two for extra bases. Four hitters posted multiple-hit games for the Catamounts with Jacob Hoyle driving in two runs with a single and a double down the left field line in a 2-for-4 showing, while Ross Heffley also had two hits including a double to finish 2-for-5.
Outfielders Cody Jones and Bryant Noteboom both recorded a pair of singles in 2-for-4 performances for the Catamounts.
Western Carolina (30-18, 14-11 SoCon) jumped out to a lead it would never relinquish in the top of the first inning. With runners on first and second, Tyler White singled through the left side to plate Jones who had reached on a walk. The next batter, Hoyle, drove one off the fence in left center field. The two runners aboard had to hold on the paths to make sure the hit would get down with Heffley racing home for the RBI single for Hoyle and a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, the Catamounts would tack on an insurance run as Noteboom singled through the left side and stole second to move into scoring position. Aaron Attaway
successfully sacrificed him to third base where Jones singled through the right side to make it 3-0, WCU.
Then, in the sixth inning, Jones would come home with the fourth run of the game as he singled on a bunt and scored on a two-out double that dropped down the left field line by Hoyle for his second RBI.
All told, the Catamounts had 13 hits, but stranded 13 runners in the winning effort.
Eagle starter Chris Beck (4-7) took the loss, dropping his fifth-straight decision on the season. The right-hander was chased in the fifth inning after four and a third innings, surrendering 10 hits but only three earned runs. Beck walked three with three strikeouts as the first of five Eagle pitchers to toe the rubber on the night.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 2:30 pm on Saturday afternoon. Coverage of the game on the Catamount Sports Network begins at 2:15 pm and can be heard online at CatamountSports.com.