March 27, 2011
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Freshman Morgan Wyatt's grand-slam homerun, in the first inning, set the tone for Western Carolina softball's (14-19, 1-8 SoCon) 8-7 win over Samford (7-25, 4-5 SoCon) Sunday at Bulldog Field.
The victory halts a nine-game losing streak for the Catamounts. It is also the first win by WCU in the Southern Conference this season.
Western Carolina took the lead early over the Bulldogs and bent but never broke, never relinquishing said lead.
Starting Bulldog pitcher Nicole Brobowski got in a jam early loading the bases with Catamounts to start the game. Western Carolina's Jordan Fulton got a lead-off hit, Haley Pace reached on an error and Kelly Braman was hit by Brobowski to load the bases. Wyatt made Brobowski pay for having the bases jammed, as she launched a shot over the left field wall for her second homerun of the season and first grand-slam.
Western Carolina tacked on a fifth run in the second inning. Amelia Griffin led off with a single and stole second. Fulton ground out but it allowed Griffin to move to third. Brobowski was called for an illegal pitch allowing Griffin to score.
Sophomore Catamount pitcher Bekah Burkett started for the Catamounts and put in a solid performance. She yielded two runs to the Bulldogs, both in the third inning. Burkett picked up her first win of the season and moves to 1-4. She allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits, and struck out three.
In the fourth inning, Burkett was replaced on the mound by Amber Steinhardt. Samford added two more runs, credited to Steinhardt, in the bottom of the fourth to pull within one run, 5-4.
After a scoreless fifth inning, Western Carolina added a run in the top of the sixth. With out, Griffin walked and Makenzi McAteer reached first on a Bulldog error. After fouling off three pitches, sophomore catcher Haley Pace hit an RBI double to right center to score Griffin.
Samford again pulled within one run in the bottom of the sixth inning adding a run off an RBI single by Whitney Terry.
Western Carolina scored two key runs in the top of the seventh inning that proved to be the game-winner for the Catamounts. Pinch hitter Robyn Burnette drew a walk to begin the seventh inning and Wyatt was hit by a pitch to place runners at first and second. Erin Foster doubled to left center to score Burnette. With Wyatt at third base, Steinhardt's sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Wyatt, proved to be the game winner.
Samford put on its rally caps and attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. The Bulldogs ended up a run short. Katie King, who had come into the game in relief in the sixth inning, had a rocky middle part of the inning. After forcing Arica Dykes to strike out, a Catamount error put a runner on first. Kayla Shaffer hit a two RBI homerun to centerfield to shorten the WCU lead to 8-7. King bounced back to force two Bulldog groundouts to end the game.
King earned a save in the game, her first of the season, going 1.2 innings. She allowed two runs on one hit and struck out one.
Western Carolina returns home on April 2-3 to host UNCG.