March 8, 2014
ORLANDO, Fla. -Western Carolina softball (7-12) split its games in opening day action at the UCF Spring Fling falling to UT Martin (8-11-1) 2-0 and bouncing back to defeat Penn (0-2) 5-4 Friday.
UT Martin 2, Western Carolina 0
Western Carolina was held to just two hits falling to the UT Martin 2-0 in the Catamounts first game of the UCF Spring Fling.
Scoreless through the first five innings, UT Martin took advantage of key hits and an error by Western Carolina to score two runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Skyhawks' Lauren Smith scored its first run. With runners on second and third, UT Martin put the tight game out of reach when it plated its second run on a Catamount fielding error.
Sophomore shortstop Karley Harkey notched one of Western Carolina's only two hits in the game, a triple in the fourth inning. Harkey has moved into a tie for first place in the Catamount record books, with former player Kristen Gay, for most triples in a season.
Taylor Sigmon got the Catamounts second hit of the game in the top of the seventh. With two outs, WCU got the tying run on first when Amber Kimrey drew a 3-2 walk. Whitney Haywood struck out to end the Catamount threat and the game.
Jordan Garrett threw a complete game and takes the loss falling to 1-8 on the season. She gave up one earned run on seven hits and struck out six.
Western Carolina 5, Penn 4
Western Carolina exploded for four runs, in the top of the fourth inning, to break open a scoreless game against Penn in its final game of the night.
Courtney Price opened the inning hitting the first triple of her career. Lexi Ross reached first on a Penn fielding error, moving to second, and Price scored on the play for the first run of the game. Kimrey singled past first base off a bunt and Ross moved to third. Brooke Coggins followed with an RBI single that scored Ross. A Penn fielding error, allowing Amelia Griffin to reach first scored Kimrey. Coggins would score the fourth run of the inning when Griffin stole second.
The Catamounts tacked on a fifth run in the game in the top of the fifth which turned out to be the insurance run Western Carolina would need. Sigmon drew a lead-off walk and advanced to second on an illegal pitch call on the Penn pitcher. Price laid down a beauty of a sacrifice bunt and pushed Sigmon to third and scored on a muffed throw by the Penn third baseman when Ross ground out to third base.
Starting Catamount freshman pitcher Courtney Buchanan cruised through the first four innings holding Penn hitless before the Quakers found the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth. Penn scored three runs on three hits to cut the Catamount lead to 5-3. Western Carolina was held scoreless in the sixth and seventh inning which left Penn a chance to rally in the bottom of the seventh.
Buchanan yielded a one out walk to Penn's Sydney Turchin to open the bottom of the seventh.
Buchanan was lifted after giving up the lead-off walk. Sigmon came in for Buchanan and had a rough start in relief throwing a wild pitch that moved Turchin to second. Sigmon then gave up an RBI single to Elysee Gorney.
Sigmon settled down forcing a ground out and notching a strikeout to end the game. Sigmon was rewarded with her first career save.
Buchanan improved to 3-0 on the season tossing 6.1 innings giving up four runs on three hits and striking out seven. Western Carolina had seven hits in the game with Kimrey going 2-for-3 and scoring a run.
The Catamounts continue action in the UCF Spring fling Saturday facing Colgate at 11 a.m. and Bowling Green at 3:30 p.m.