May 18, 2013
Boone, N.C. - No. 29 Western Carolina again used a strong start on Friday night, scoring four runs in the first two innings before enduring a nearly two-hour rain delay at Beaver Field / Smith Stadium. After the stoppage, the Catamounts stretched their advantage to seven en route to a 9-1 victory over Appalachian State, clinching the Southern Conference series with their second win in as many nights.
The Catamounts improved to 38-17 overall and 23-6 in league play, establishing a new school benchmark for conference wins in a single-season. WCU also claimed its 16th-straight SoCon win, again stretching its record for the most in program history. The win was WCU's 11th-straight victory overall, and its 21st in its last 23 games dating back to April 6.
Due to a threat of impending inclement weather later in the afternoon, first pitch of Saturday's series and regular season finale has been bumped up to a Noon start time. Fans can follow the game with live streaming audio (free) online at CatamountSports.com.
Six Catamounts recorded multi-hit games with infielders Tyler White and Bradley Strong both collecting three hits apiece. White legged out his 25th double of the season, moving to within one of tying Rod Goldston for the single-season doubles record. Strong belted his third home run of the season, clearing the fence in right field with a two-run shot in the second inning.
Junior Aaron Attaway recorded two hits, extending his current career-long hitting streak to 16-straight games with Jacob Hoyle finishing 2-for-4 with a triple to right-center field. Cody Jones and Dykota Spies also both finished 2-for-4 with Jones doubling and scoring twice while Spiess also tallied a two-base hit.
White put the Catamounts on the board in the top of the first, driving home Attaway from second with a single into center field. Julian Ridings, who drew a walk, scored on an infield double-play groundout to make it 2-0 after half an inning.
In the second, Spiess doubled to straightaway center field on the first pitch of the inning with Strong hammering a 1-0 pitch over the right field fence to hand the Catamounts a 4-0 lead.
At just after 7 pm, the teams were chased from the field by lightning warnings with rain showers following. After an hour and 54-minute delay, the teams returned to the diamond for the top of the third inning. The Catamount bats stayed hot as White laced a one-out double down the left field line and eventually scored on a RBI single by Hoyle to make it 5-0 in favor of the visitors.
In the fourth, Strong singled and promptly stole second before an infield groundout by Luke Gragg moved him to third. Strong then crossed home on a wild pitch, giving the Catamounts a 6-0 advantage. Jones then singled off the third baseman's glove and eventually scored on a double to center by Ridings.
Trailing 7-0, Appalachian State (27-22, 12-14 SoCon) got its lone run of the game as Dillon Dobson homered to right center field, trimming the Catamount edge back to six, 7-1.
WCU tacked on single runs in the sixth and ninth innings to provide the final tally. In the sixth, Jones doubled to left field and was moved to third on a single by Attaway. The run came home on an infield ground out, making it 8-1. In the ninth, White stole both second and third after singling, scoring on an infield error on a hot-shot by Strong that ricocheted off the first baseman.
Catamount starter Jordan Smith (7-3) claimed his sixth-straight victory in his past six starts, limiting Appalachian State to one run on just six hits. The Liberty, N.C., native struck out three against one walk, returning to toss three frames after the weather stoppage. Freshman right-hander Jonathan Waszak secured his first career save out of the bullpen for WCU, tossing four scoreless innings while holding the Mountaineers to just two hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
For the Mountaineers, starter Sam Agnew-Wieland (6-6) took the loss after two innings of work, not returning after the weather delay. Agnew-Wieland surrendered four runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Catcher Josh Zumbrook tallied two hits including a double in a 2-for-4 showing at the plate while Dillon Dobson provided ASU's lone run with a solo homer to right center field in the fourth inning.
Also, Will Callaway ran his current hitting streak to 24 games with an eighth-inning single.
Game three of the series is scheduled for Noon on Saturday in Boone.