April 15, 2008
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Michelle Tating fanned 15 batters and freshman Amber Hawkins hit two homeruns in Western Carolina softball's (11-30) 5-4, 6-1 sweep of Presbyterian College (12-25) Tuesday at the Catamount Softball Complex.
Western Carolina used a pair of homeruns to secure a win in the first game. The Catamounts had to come from behind after falling into a 4-0 deficit in the first three innings of play.
Presbyterian took the early lead scoring a run in the top of the third inning. Morgan White opened with a triple and scored off an RBI single by Amanda Miller. The Blue Hose tacked on three runs in the fourth inning aided by a Jenny Box homerun and a Catamount error.
The Catamounts didn't waste anytime answering the scoring challenge by Presbyterian, tying the game in their half of the fourth. Freshman Amber Hawkins led off the frame with the first homerun of her career, a solo shot over the centerfield wall. Beth Hauser followed with a double to left field and with one out Mollie Fowler singled up the middle and Hauser scored off a Blue Hose miscue. Starting pitcher Lauren Ross tied the game with one swing of the bat, belting her second homerun of the season for a two RBI shot.
Western Carolina took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Danielle Reese hit a single to right field. Back-to-back walks to Hawkins and Hauser loaded the bases. Reese scored off a sacrifice fly by Stephanie Beatty.
The Catamounts clung to the one-run lead through a scoreless sixth inning. Presbyterian looked like it might tie the game when the Blue Hose had the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Ross forced Krysten Handy to ground out to third base to end the game.
Ross improves to 5-15 on the season, tossing her eighth complete game of the season. She allowed 10 hits on two earned runs and struck out three.
The Catamounts capitalized on three walks and four wild pitches by Blue Hose starting pitcher Paige Cassady in the first inning of the second game. Swank led off the inning with a double to left field. With one out, Hawkins drew a walk and she and Swank moved to second and third off a wild pitch. Swank scored the first run of the game when Cassady threw her second wild pitch of the inning. Beatty then drew a walk and then on a double steal, Beatty stole second and Hawkins stole home. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Beatty scampered home when Cassady threw her fourth wild pitch of the frame.
Hawkins led off the third inning with a walk and Hauser followed with a double to left field. Hawkins attempted to go home but was thrown out at the plate. After Beatty was hit by a pitch, Fowler hit a line drive up the middle for a two RBI shot, plating Hauser and Beatty.
Tating was riding a shutout through three innings before Presbyterian scored a run in the fourth inning. Laura Tate reached first to start the inning off a Catamount error. She scored thanks to an RBI double by Ashley Ford.
Hawkins put the exclamation point on the game when she hit her second homerun of the day. She led off the fifth inning with a shot over the centerfield wall. Western Carolina has now hit 13 homeruns in the last 15 games.
Tating had her best outing of the season, tossing her fourth complete game of the year. The 15 strikeouts are the most for a Catamount hurler this season and she allowed just three hits and the lone Blue Hose run was not earned. She improves to 5-6 on the year.
Western Carolina travels to Winston-Salem State on Wednesday. First pitch in the doubleheader is set for 2 p.m.