April 5, 2014
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina softball split the doubleheader with Samford dropping the first game 2-1, before bouncing back to shutout the Bulldogs 3-0 in game two, Saturday at the Catamount Softball Complex.
The Catamounts (14-24, 4-7 Southern Conference) became just the third team this season to toss a shutout against Samford (28-11, 6-4 SoCon). Prior to WCU hanging a zero in the scoring column on Samford the Bulldogs were held scoreless against Auburn and Furman earlier in the year.
Samford 2, Western Carolina 1
The Catamounts dropped a heartbreaker in game one as Samford just edged the Catamounts 2-1. The Bulldogs benefitted from two timely hits to secure the win.
Western Carolina took the early lead scoring a run in the first inning. Senior Amelia Griffin hit a lead-off single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Karley Harkey. Freshman Kara Salvo hit an RBI single through the left side to score Griffin.
Samfrod knotted the game at one with one swing as Shelby Scott hit a one out homerun off Western Carolina freshman pitcher Coutney Buchanan. It was the only run Buchanan would give up as she went four innings allowing five hits, one run, three walks and striking out four.
Western Carolina had a base runner in the first five innings of the game but couldn't find a way to push more than one run across. Samford got the winning run in the top of the fifth.
Sophomore Taylor Sigmon, who came into the game in relief in the fifth, gave up a one out hit to Callie Brister and Brister scored on an RBI double by Scott. It was a bang-bang play at the plate as Brister just reached home plate beating the throw from left field.
Sigmon took the loss falling to 2-1 on the season. She allowed one run on three hits and struck out four.
Samford had eight hits in the game and Western Carolina had six. The Catamounts also left eight runners on base. Courtney Price went 2-for-3 in the game.
Western Carolina 3, Samford 0
Samford looked to have the early advantage in game two when starting Western Carolina pitcher Mallory Broome walked the first two batters she faced. Broome was quickly lifted for junior hurler Jordan Garrett. The bulldogs laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third and Garrett walked Brister to load the bases. Garrett got a strikeout and a line out to end the inning.
Western Carolina took the early 1-0 lead, in the bottom of the second, when Harkey hit a one out homerun over the left field wall. With the lead, Garrett worked around a couple of Bulldog hits and struck out two to help WCU cling to the 1-0 lead.
Harkey was involved again in scoring when she drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the fifth. A beauty of a sacrifice bunt laid down by sophomore Amber Kimrey moved Harkey to second and she moved to third on a wild pitch. Brooke Coggins delivered a two-out RBI single up the middle to score Harkey.
In a tight game, Western Carolina all but put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore first baseman Sigmon hit her third homerun the on the year, a shot over the left field wall, to make the score 3-0.
In the final two innings of the game Garrett struck out three of the six batters she faced and stifled the Bulldogs. Garrett ended the game with nine strikeouts and earned the win improving to 6-12 on the year. She gave up three hits and earned her second shutout of the season.
Harkey had a strong day going 1-for-1, scoring two runs, hitting a homerun and drawing two walks. She also made two spectacular defensive plays at her short stop position.
Western Carolina and Samford will play the rubber game at 1 p.m. Sunday as both look to claim the series. Fans can listen to the game online at www.catamountsports.com.