March 1, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. - Western Carolina softball (4-11) scored five unanswered runs and ousted UAB 5-4, in eight innings, at the Sixth Annual Bulldog Invitational Saturday. In the second game of the day the Catamounts fell 6-0 to St. John's.
Western Carolina 5, UAB 4 (eight innings)
Western Carolina scored five unanswered runs, including the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, to defeat UAB 5-4. The Blazers defeated No. 18 Georgia later in the day 8-0.
It was Western Carolina's first extra-inning game of the season and the Blazer's sixth. Getting UAB into extra innings was fortuitous as the Blazers were 1-4 in extra-inning games this season.
With the game knotted at four, after seven innings, the game headed to extra innings. Western Carolina sophomore pitcher Taylor Sigmon, who came into the game in relief in the seventh inning, gave up a lead-off walk but then shut down the blazers with a pair of strikeouts and a ground out.
The work by Sigmon on the mound set up the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth. Sophomore shortstop Karley Harkey hit her third triple of the season to lead off the inning for WCU. UAB gambled intentionally walking Kara Salvo and Sigmon to load the bases with no outs, hoping for a force out. The gamble failed when the Blazer catcher attempted to pick off Harkey at third but the ball skipped away and Harkey scored on the UAB error to win the game.
UAB built a 4-0 lead off a pair of two-run homeruns in the first inning and fifth inning. Western Carolina pitcher Courtney Buchanan, who started the game, shook off the long balls and kept plugging along in the game. Here tenacity paid off when Western Carolina scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth and the sixth to knot the game at four.
In the fifth inning, back-to-back walks to senior Makenzi McAteer and pinch hitter Lexi Ross placed runners on first and second for UAB reliever Madison Hir. After Hir delivered a wild pitch, moving McAteer to third and Ross to second, she was lifted for Lannah Campell. Harkey promptly singled up the middle to score McAteer and Salvo followed with an RBI single to plate Ross for the second run of the inning.
Western Carolina tied the game in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out rally. Amelia Griffin singled with two outs and moved to second on a Harkey single. Salvo's single loaded the bases and Sigmon tied the game on a two RBI double scoring Griffin and Harkey.
Sigmon picked up her first win on the mound this season tossing two scoreless innings struck out four. Buchanan went six innings in a solid performance giving up four runs on four hits and striking out seven. Western Carolina had 11 hits in the game and Harkey was 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Salvo, Sigmon and Amber Kimrey each had two hits.
St. John's 6, Western Carolina 0
The Catamounts couldn't parlay its thrilling comeback victory over UAB into a second day sweep at the Bulldog Invitational falling 6-0 to St. John's in the team's nightcap game Saturday.
Western Carolina junior hurler Jordan Garrett tossed two strung innings before St. John's pushed a run across I the top of third aided by a lead-off walk and an RBI single. St. John's would then post a pair of runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh to secure the win.
St. John's pitcher Tori Free was working on a no-hitter when Brooke Coggins broke that up in the bottom of the sixth hitting a one out single. The Catamounts had its best scoring chance of the game when Harkey drew a two out single putting runners at first and second. Salvo singled up the middle and the Catamounts had bases loaded but a fielder's choice by Sigmon, with Salvo being thrown out at second, ended the inning.
Courtney Price got a one out walk in the seventh and moved to second on a single by Kimrey. For the second straight inning, Western Carolina had bases loaded but couldn't push a run across. A pair of strikeouts by McAteer and Griffin ended the inning and the game.
Garrett takes the loss and falls to 1-7 on the season. She tossed 4.2 innings giving up three runs on four hits and struck out two. Mallory Broome came into the game in relief in the fifth inning and gave up three runs on five hits.
St. John's had nine hits in the game and Western Carolina had four.
Western Carolina and St. John's will meet again at 10 a.m. Sunday in the two team's final game of the Sixth Annual Bulldog Invitational.