April 5, 2008
GREENSBORO, N.C. - In a rain shortened contest with UNC Greensboro Saturday, Western Carolina was leading 10-0 after six and a half innings before the game was halted due to inclement weather. The game will be completed on Sunday at 1 p.m. prior to the doubleheader.
Lauren Ross was having her best pitching performance of the season working on her first shutout of the year. She had tossed season-high eight strikeouts prior to the game being suspended.
Pritchard's grand-slam was the first in her career and her first long ball in two years. As a freshman she had nine homeruns and now has 10 in her career.
Western Carolina got on the board first in the second inning after UNC Greensboro pitcher Amber Harrell had three walks to load the bases with Catamounts. Senior Jamie Swank hit a single to right field to score Mollie Fowler.
UNCG threatened in the bottom of the second after stringing together three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out. Starting Catamount pitcher Ross ended the inning by forcing two consecutive strikeouts.
Beth Hauser drew a walk to start the third inning and scored off an RBI double by Stephanie Beatty. Mollie Fowler hit a single up the middle, to extend her hitting streak to five, and Beatty scored after a collision at the plate with UNC Greensboro catcher Leslie Furness. Beatty slid home and connected with Furness who dropped the ball and Beatty was safe.
The bottom of the third inning found UNC Greensboro in a favorable scoring position again. A lead-off single by Mary Greenway and then a stolen base and Catamount error placed the Spartan right fielder on third. Whitney Miller drew a walk and then pinch runner Kayla Hensley stole second to place runners at second and third with no outs. Western Carolina got the first out when Greenway found herself off the bag and got caught between third and home and Western Carolina catcher Danielle Reese
tagged Greenway out. Ross ended the third inning just like she did the second, forcing the last two Spartan batters to strike out to end the UNCG scoring opportunity.
UNC Greensboro again threatened in the fourth inning and came up empty thanks to some key defensive Catamount plays and the pitching of Ross. Kaitlin Merkt led off the inning with a walk and after a Lyndsey Mouse strikeout, UNCG had back-to-back singles. On the second single by Emily Akiyama, Merkt went home but was out at the plate when Danielle Reese came up with the ball. For the third straight inning, Catamount pitcher Ross ended the inning by forcing a Spartan batter to strikeout.
Western Carolina's defensive efforts halted yet another UNC Greensboro scoring chance in the bottom of the fifth inning. Greenway led off the inning with a single, stole second and then moved to third on a Spartan ground out. Brittany Ausley drew a walk and then came UNC Greensboro's attempt at a double steal. Ausley stole second and Reese threw down to second baseman Amber Hawkins who had a heads-up play to throw the ball back down to Reese to get Greenway out at home. It was then time for Ross to take over as for the fourth time she got a Spartan to strike out to end the inning.
The Catamounts unleashed for seven runs in the top of the sixth inning. Back-to-back walks by Keely Torgison and Ross opened the inning. After Torgison was thrown out, off a fielder's choice by Swank, Ross and Swank moved to third on a passed ball and scored off a two RBI double to right center by Amber Hawkins who moved to third on the play. After Hauser walked and advanced to second, Hawkins scored on a Spartan miscue. Spartan pitcher Harrell then hit Beatty and walked Fowler to load the bases. This set up Pritchard's grand slam over the left centerfield wall.