April 11, 2012
ROCK HILL, S.C. - Western Carolina softball (14-26) split with Winthrop (14-28), winning the first game 4-3 and dropping the night-cap 6-5, Wednesday at Terry Field.
The Catamounts came from behind, in the first game of the doubleheader, to take win, 4-3, over Winthrop. After picking up an early 2-0 lead, the Catamounts gave up three runs in the top of the fifth, to find themselves down 3-2, but some top of the seventh heroics secured the 4-3 win for WCU.
Amber Steinhardt was a catalyst, both offensively and defensively, for Western Carolina in the win. After starting pitcher Jordan Garrett got into a jam, giving up a lead-off single to Winthrop in the bottom of the sixth, Steinhardt came into the game in relief. She faced three batters, forcing two strikeouts and a fly out to end the Eagle threat.
Steinhardt wasn't finished she also produced offensively in the top of the seventh. Amelia Griffin, who went 3-for-4 in the game, started the inning with a single. Jordan Fulton ground into a fielder's choice, and Griffin was out at second. Winthrop walked Erin Foster and Morgan Wyatt singled up the middle to load the bases. Steinhardt, who had failed to get a hit all game, singled to right field with an RBI to tie the game when Fulton scored. Foster scored the winning run when the Winthrop right fielder booted the ball affording Foster the chance to score on the Eagle error.
Steinhardt capped off the game by getting two quick outs in the bottom of the seventh and striking out Winthrop's Kristy Noble to end the game. She improved to 5-5 on the season and had three strikeouts in the game.
After two scoreless innings, Western Carolina struck first with a run in the third. With two outs, the Catamounts had four straight singles to load the bases and score. Griffin, Fulton and Foster each singled and Wyatt hit an RBI single past third base to score Griffin.
The Catamounts added a second run in the fourth inning after Kelly Braman led off the inning with a double. Megan Crowe hit an RBI single, her first hit since March 13, to score Braman.
Starting pitcher Garrett got into a bit of a pickle in the bottom of the fifth. She gave up three runs, with two outs, as Winthrop took the lead 3-2. Garrett ended the game having pitched five innings, striking out six and walking three.
Western Carolina scored a run in the first three innings of the game to take an early 3-0 lead, but couldn't score the rest of the game.
With two outs, Foster doubled to left field and Wyatt walked to set up a scoring chance for Steinhardt, who didn't disappoint. Steinhardt singled down the right field line scoring Foster.
Haley Pace scored the second run of the game after drawing a lead-off walk. She got to second on sacrifice bunt by Heather Chastain and scored on two straight wild pitches by Winthrop pitcher Natalie Becker.
Foster hit a lead-off homerun in the top of the third for Western Carolina's third run of the game Foster's 12th homerun of the season.
Starting pitcher Katie King had an uneventful two innings before the third inning struck. It started when King hit Teja Durante and she earned a free pass to first and Megan Chapman doubled. It snowballed into five runs for the Eagles and knocked King out of the game. Steinhardt came into the game with runners at second and third and eventually faced based loaded with no outs. Steinhardt gave up three runs in the inning and became the pitcher of record.
Winthrop added a run in the fourth inning which proved to be the run that would ice the game.
Western Carolina attempted a rally in the top of the seventh, just as it did in the first game, but came up a run short. Foster opened the rally with a single, her third hit of the game, and after Foster advanced to second on a wild pitch, pinch hitter Ashley Jones drew a walk. With one out, Braman singled to right field to load the bases. Foster scored her second run of the game on a wild pitch by Becker. The Catamounts would get their second run of the inning when Heather Chastain hit into a fielder's choice RBI. With two outs, Crowe struck out looking to end the game and the Catamount scoring threat.
Steinhardt falls to 5-6 on the season. She went four innings, allowing four runs on seven hits in her relief appearance.
Western Carolina will be at home Thursday as the team hosts Alabama State in its final non-conference game of the season in a doubleheader set to begin at 4 p.m. The game is also the Catamounts Strikeout Cancer game, and the team encourages all fans to wear pink to the game in support of breast cancer awareness.