May 16, 2013
Boone, N.C. - Scoring runs in six of the nine frames on Thursday night, No. 29 Western Carolina jumped out to an early 12-run lead through the first three innings in cruising past archrival Appalachian State, 23-5, in the Southern Conference action at Beaver Field / Smith Stadium.
WCU recorded season-highs for runs scored (23) and base hits (21), posting 10 extra base knocks including five doubles and five home runs. The win stretched WCU's current seasonal winning streak to 10, while also matching the school-record for consecutive wins in SoCon play at 15 - matching the 1994 Catamount squad.
Western Carolina (37-17, 22-6 SoCon) batted around in the first inning, pushing six runs before tallying a two-run home run by Jacob Hoyle in the second and a four-run third inning to lead 12-0 entering the home portion of the third inning. WCU tacked on solo runs in the fourth and fifth before erupting for nine runs in the top of the seventh inning including the first career grand slam home run by Julian Ridings.
All nine WCU starters recorded a base hit in the victory with five Catamounts posting multiple-hit games, led by SoCon Player of the Year candidate, senior Tyler White. The Forest City, N.C., product turned in an impressive 4-for-6 showing at the dish - his third, four-hit game of the season and second in as many games. White scored four runs with four RBI, legging out his league-leading 24th double of the season and belting a pair of two-run home runs in the winning effort.
Junior Aaron Attaway extended his current hitting streak to a career-long 15 games, doing so with a lead-off single in WCU's six-run first inning. Attaway added a double and a solo home run to finish 3-for-5 with two RBI. Hoyle doubled and homered in a 2-for-5 showing at the plate with four runs driven in while Bradley Strong drove home two with a pair of doubles - just missing bases loaded home run by a foot and a half on a two-base hit off the wall in right field.
Junior designated hitter Luke Gragg reached all six times he came to the plate on Thursday evening, collecting four singles and was plunked by a pair of pitches. The Moravian Falls, N.C., native finished with three RBI, one coming on a bases loaded HBP.
Ridings led all players with five RBI, one on an infield ground out and the four-run, round-tripper in the seventh inning. It was the second long ball of the frame for WCU with White also hitting a two-run shot in the inning. Ridings blasted the first pitch of his at bat over the fence in right center. Cody Jones added an RBI for the Purple & Gold on a sacrifice fly to left field.
Sophomore starter Jeremy Null (8-2) scattered six hits through six innings to score his team-high, eighth victory of the season. The Claremont, N.C., native struck out six without issuing a walk, moving over 100 K's on the season. Freshman reliever Colton Davis tossed two innings out of the bullpen, allowing just one base runner with two strikeouts before junior Taylor Sandefur threw the final frame, striking out two while allowing three runs on three hits.
WCU chased Mountaineer starter Jamie Nunn (9-5) after just two innings, tagging him for eight runs on eight hits with a walk against a strikeout. ASU's William Head finished 2-for-3 with a double to lead the Mountaineers at the plate while Hector Crespo recorded a 2-for-5 showing, driving in two runs.
Game two of the three-game SoCon series is scheduled for Friday night in Boone with first pitch at 6:30 pm. Fans can follow the game with live streaming audio (free) online at CatamountSports.com. Air time is 6:15 pm.
- WCU's 23 runs on Thursday night were the most in a single-game for the team this season and the most for the squad since scoring 25 in a 25-14 win over Wofford on April 24, 2011 ... the Catamounts' 21 hits were the most since collecting 22 in a road win over Clemson on April 4, 2012 ... Also, the Catamounts secured 23 RBI, matching the most in a single-game since also recording 23 in a win over Wofford on April 24, 2011;
- Tyler White moved to within two doubles of matching WCU's single-season record of 26 accomplished by former Catamount Rod Goldston in the 2003 season ... White additionally moved into sole possession of sixth-place in the school's career record books with his 61st career two-base hit;
- Aaron Attaway's three hits give him 87 on the season, tied for 22nd in WCU's single-season record books ... Attaway is tied with Rodney Hennon (1993), Joey Cox (1992)and David Hyatt (1985);
- With six strikeouts on Thursday, sophomore right-hander Jeremy Null has 104 K's on the season to move into seventh on WCU's single-season record books ... Jason Beverlin has WCU's single-season, school-record with 154 strikeouts in 1994;
- Freshman J.D. Long picked up the second hit of his collegiate career, lacing an RBI single through the right side late in Thursday's victory;
- With five doubles on Thursday, the Catamounts have 132 two-base hits on the season ... the 2013 squad is just five doubles shy of fifth-place in the school's single-season record book ... WCU also now has 61 combined home runs on the year.