May 20, 2011
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina freshman Jordan Smith tossed his second complete game shutout, blanking The Citadel through nine innings on Friday night as the Catamounts took the Southern Conference series with a 6-0 win at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.
WCU's victory coupled with UNC Greensboro's 3-0 win at Wofford on Friday night solidifies the Catamounts into the eighth seed at next week's SoCon Tournament to be played at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C. Western Carolina will face the top-seeded Elon Phoenix at approximately 5 pm on Wednesday, May 25.
The regular season finale is scheduled for 2 pm on Saturday afternoon in Cullowhee with WCU to honor its six seniors in a special pre-game ceremony. Fans can follow the action of the game online through GameTracker, as well as through a live online, in-game blog.
Smith (6-6) struck out seven Bulldog batters while scattering 10 base hits - all singles - to earn his team-leading sixth victory of the year. The Liberty, N.C., native faced just nine over the minimum, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced including three-up and three-down in the seventh and eighth. It was the second complete game shutout victory for Smith with the first coming in a four-hit, 11-0 victory over Wofford back on April 23.
Senior Matt Johns gave WCU all the runs it would need in the home half of the second inning with a solo home run over the fence in left center. It was the fifth round-tripper of the year for the Stafford, Va., native. Freshman Aaron Attaway also drove in a run in the second frame with a sacrifice fly to right to plate Tyler White for a 2-0 lead through two innings.
With Jordan Smith dueling Bulldog starter Justin Russell, the contest remained a two-run game until the seventh inning. Macon Smith lifted a two-out single to right and was moved to third by Heffley on a full count single through the right side. Senior Stephen Notaro then bounced a single up the middle to score Macon Smith, giving the Catamounts a 3-0 edge.
Western Carolina (21-29-1, 11-18 SoCon) tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning as Luke Gragg beat out an infield single to plate a run. Attaway then tripled to right center, scoring classmate Gragg, with senior Austin Schultz singling through the right side to drive in the game's final run in the 6-0 win.
The Citadel threatened numerous times in the game, but clutch pitching and solid defense helped the frosh hurler Smith work in-and-out of jams. The Bulldogs stranded nine base runners in the game including leaving at least two on base in three frames.
Heffley led the Catamounts with a 3-for-4 outing at the plate while Attaway was 2-for-3 with the three-bagger. Johns finished 1-for-3 with the homer, also drawing a walk, scoring two runs for the Catamounts.
Russell (1-7) gave up three runs on eight hits in the starting role, walking two and striking out four for the Bulldogs. Reliever Jeremy Long was tagged with three runs on three hits in two thirds of a frame with Ryan Hines tossing the final third of an inning.
Justin Mackert led The Citadel offense with a 3-for-4 performance at the dish while Drew DeKerlegand was 2-for-4 for the Bulldogs in the losing effort.