Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina's offense was stymied by a pair of Presbyterian pitchers on Tuesday afternoon as the Catamounts dropped their home finale at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium, 6-0. WCU was limited to four base hits spread between four different players in suffering its first home shutout loss this year.
Presbyterian (28-25) manufactured runs in the third and fifth innings to grab a 2-0 lead before capping the game with a four-run sixth to secure the victory -- it's first-ever over WCU in Cullowhee. Infielder Cletis Avery drove in three runs on a 2-for-4 outing while T.J. Richardson collected three hits with a pair of runs driven in to lead PC.
Making his first career start, Blue Hose pitcher Robert Moss (3-1) tossed five and a third scoreless innings allowing just two hits with a walk and a strikeout in subduing the Catamounts. Reliever Russ Branch collected his second save of the year, working 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, also holding WCU's potent offense to two hits with a strikeout.
Junior Brett Pope reached base three times in the loss, finishing 1-for-2 with a pair of walks to extend his reached base safely streak to 17-straight games, recording a hit in the 15th game of his current streak. Redshirt sophomore Matthew Koehler reached for the 13th-consecutive game with a fifth inning single, finishing 1-for-3.
Also for the Catamounts, redshirt senior Bryson Bowman doubled to lead-off the fourth inning in a 1-for-4 showing, and junior Cameron Blaquiere reached twice with a HBP and a single in the eighth inning. Senior Matt Smith extended his career-long reached base safely streak to 34-straight games when he was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Western Carolina (26-26) used a combined eight pitchers by design on Tuesday with junior Tristan Baker tossing an inning in the starting role. Redshirt senior Dillon Bray tossed a team-long two innings in his final Cullowhee appearance, with classmates Chad Mabini and Korey Anderson also toeing the rubber for a final time at home. Mabini (2-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing the game's first run in the third inning, while Anderson closed the game with two strikeouts in an inning of hitless, scoreless relief.
WCU's eight pitchers combined for seven strikeouts on the day.
Western Carolina hits the road Thursday through Saturday in Southern Conference play as it travels to regular season champion, Mercer, for a three-game series in Macon, Ga. Game times on Thursday and Friday are 6:00 pm with a 2:00 pm first pitch on Saturday afternoon.