May 19, 2004
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina junior Jared Greenwood hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the eight and game-winning home run in the 11th to lift the Catamounts to a 4-3 victory over Gardner-Webb Wednesday night at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium. The Catamounts improve to 24-27, while the Bulldogs fall to 30-22.
Greenwood, who leads the Southern Conference and ranks among the nation's top six in home runs, added two doubles to go 4-for-5 on the night with two RBI and three runs scored. The Franklin, N.C., native now has 21 home runs to tie for sixth on the SoCon single-season list and tie for fifth on the WCU single-season list. Greenwood is the first SoCon player to hit at least 20 homers in a season since former Catamount Steve Harris tied the league record with 26 in 1999, is just the 12th player in SoCon history to reach the 20-home run milestone and is the eighth in WCU history to accomplish the feat.
The Bulldogs got things going in the top of the first, scoring one run on two hits. With two outs, Blake Lalli doubled down the right field line. The next batter, Ryan Quirello singled up the middle to plate Lalli.
In the bottom of the second, Western scored two runs to take the lead at 2-1. Greenwood had a leadoff double off the center field fence. Denver Edick followed with a walk and Brian Sigmon moved Edick and Greenwood up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt. Greenwood scored on a past ball and Mike McGowan brought home Edick with sacrifice fly to center field.
Two innings later, in the top of the fourth, Gardner-Webb knotted the game at 2-2. Clint Abernathy reached on an error and moved to second on single by Sammy Styers. The next batter, Matt Bridges was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Ryan Sickles reached on the Cats' second miscue of the inning, driving in Abernathy. However, with the bases still loaded, Catamount pitcher Luke Miller, recorded consecutive ground outs to end the threat.
In the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs retook the lead (3-2) as Lalli hit his seventh home run of the season to right center.
The Cats answered back in the bottom of the eight as Greenwood sent a 2-1 Jeff Long pitch over the center field fence, tying the game at 3-3.
Gardner-Webb threatened in the 10th, as Billy McCarson and Abernathy had consecutive one-out singles. However, WCU relief pitcher Derrick Hawk got a fly out and a ground out to escape unscathed. Reigning SoCon Pitcher of the Week Brian McCullen came on to pitch a 1-2-3 11th for the Cats and got the win thanks to Greenwood's blast in the bottom of the 11th. McCullen picked up his third consecutive victory and improves to 3-4 on the season.
Clint Ramsey started on the mound for Western, allowing three hits and one run with a walk and a strikeout in 2.0 innings work. Miller also pitched 2.0 innings, allowing three hits and one unearned run. Jeremy Ellenburg worked the fifth through the eighth innings, surrendering five hits and one run with no walks and three strikeouts. Hawk pitched the ninth and 10th innings for the Cats, giving up two hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
For the Bulldogs, Quirello went 4-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, while Lalli, Abernathy and Bridges each had two hits. Long pitched the first 8.0 innings and allowed six hits and three runs (two unearned) with three walks and seven strikeouts. Clay Konis followed by pitching 2.0 innings, allowing just one hit with one strikeout. Andrew Martin (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up Greenwood's walk-off home run to start the 11th.
Western Carolina will return to action Saturday (May 22) for the final SoCon series of the 2004 season. Saturday's game is a double header starting at noon, and Sunday's game is scheduled for a 1 pm start.