May 12, 2010
High Point, N.C. -
Trevor Collias belted his team-high tying 12th home run of the season as a part of a four-run first inning as Western Carolina scored six runs in the first three innings and then held off High Point to score its 30th victory of the season, 6-5, over the Panthers in mid-week, nonconference action at Williard Stadium.
Collias finished 2-for-5 with the homer with Matt Johns driving in one on a game-high 3-for-4 outing with a double in the win. Austin Schultz also posted a multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-4 for the Catamounts who won for the fourth-straight time.
Preston Hatcher (1-1) secured his first collegiate victory after tossing the first five and a third innings, with Brandon Johnson tallying his first save of the year after shutting out the Panthers over the final three frames as WCU completed the two-game season sweep of HPU. Hatcher scattered five runs - only one of which was earned - on five hits, working around three walks.
Vance Chavis and Jeremy Sluder combined to close the sixth inning with Johnson closing out the final three innings in hitless, scoreless relief with four strikeouts.
Western Carolina (30-16-1) used three-consecutive hits in the top of the first including an RBI double by Johns to climb on top early. Tyler Kirkpatrick singled up the middle to drive in a second run, scoring Johns with Collias capping the four-run frame with a two-run home run to left field.
The Panthers responded with a two-spot in the home half of the first, capitalizing on one hit and a pair of Catamount errors to trim the margin back to two, 4-2.
WCU added single runs in the top of the second and third. Bryant Noteboom
drew a lead-off walk and later scored on a wild-pitch in the second inning. A frame later, Cameron Dullnig
was drilled by his team-leading 20th pitch to reach base with two outs where he promptly swiped second base before scoring on an RBI double down the left field line by Ollie Goulder
to pull ahead, 6-2.
After a scoreless fourth, High Point (24-25) scratched the scoreboard for a single run in the fifth to cut the Catamount advantage in half, 6-3. Pablo Rosario reached on a fielding error and moved to third on a single by Drew Geissinger before touching home on a sacrifice fly by Mike Mercurio.
WCU stranded the bases loaded in the sixth inning before High Point hung two runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame and threatened for more. Two singles and a fourth Catamount error pushed across the first run, chasing Hatcher. Chavis allowed one hit that drove in a run with Sluder coming on to record a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning.
Down by just one, the Panthers again threatened in the seventh inning. With two on and no outs, Johnson was summonsed from the bullpen where he induced a sacrifice bunt for the first out. He then struck out Murray White IV with a groundout to first again thwarting HPU's rally.
Johnson struck out two of the three outs in the eighth while keeping the Panthers in the infield with a fourth strikeout in the ninth to earn the save.
High Point starter Steven Schils (0-1) took the loss after surrendering six runs on five hits with three strikeouts against one walk as seven Panther pitchers threw in the mid-week contest. White was the lone HPU player to post a multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a stolen base.
Western Carolina continues its five-game road swing as it opens a three-game Southern Conference series against Samford on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET / 6:00 pm CT, with Saturday and Sunday's start time at 2:00 pm ET / 1:00 pm ET in Birmingham, Ala. All three games will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network and can be heard online at CatamountSports.com.