Eagles Soar Past Catamounts, 11-4
STATESBORO, Ga. - A season-high four home runs were recorded in an 11-4 victory to open the series over Western Carolina Friday night (April 23). Kyle Blackburn, Shawn Payne, Victor Roache and Randy J. Williams all took it deep as the Eagles improved to 22-17 overall and 13-6 in Southern Conference outings. The Catamounts suffered a loss that dropped them to 23-13-1 and 6-9-1.
Eagle starter Jake Brown (Forest Hill, Md.) improved to 6-4 on the year working 7.1 innings allowing only four runs, three in the eighth, on eight hits. The senior struck out six Catamounts and had no three-ball counts through seven complete innings. During a stretch from the third to fifth innings, Brown used only nine pitches to record five outs before being relieved by fellow classmate Charles Matthews (Athens, Ga.) in the eighth.
For the Eagles, A.J. Wirnsberger (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) was 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored. Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Williams (Valdosta, Ga.) each added another two hits apiece with two home runs and collected five RBI combined.
Catamount starter, Taylor Sandefur, was credited with the loss as the freshman fell to 1-1 on the year. Sandefur threw six complete allowing five runs on four hits before WCU used four pitchers from the bullpen to finish the game.
Tyler Kirkpatrick and Dyan de Graaf were both 2-for-4 with Matt Johns going 2-for-5.
The Catamounts took a 1-0 lead in the first with a solo shot down the left field line from Kirkpatrick, but the advantage was washed away quickly when the Eagles came to the plate in the bottom half of the frame. Three straight walks from WCU starter Sandefur loaded the bases without a hit allowed before Wirnsberger lined a single up the middle plating Blackburn (Marietta, Ga.) and Kevin Bowles (Statesboro, Ga.) for a 2-1 lead.
Williams launched his second home run of the season in the second inning, a solo blast that hit the scoreboard in left field pushing GS's lead to 3-1.
WCU posed a small threat in the fifth inning when de Graaf doubled down the left field line. But in the next at-bat, Payne robbed Johns of a home run to centerfield that would have tied the game, climbing the ladder to make the catch. Brown finished the inning striking out Trevor Collias stranding de Graaf on third base.
Payne extended the Eagles' lead in the sixth recording his first home run as an Eagle. After Wirnsberger drew a walk, Sandefur forced two outs before Payne, whose two-run shot to right field was only the fourth hit for GS, cushioned the advantage, 5-1.
The third and fourth long balls from the Eagles came in the seventh inning. Arthur Owens (Fayetteville, Ga.) led off with a single up the middle and with one out, Blackburn blasted a 3-2 pitch to right field. Three batters later Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.) added another two runs to the board with a two-run drive to deep center for a 9-1 contest. A two-run double from Williams capped a six-run seventh inning for the Eagles.
WCU got back on the board in the eighth after being held scoreless for six innings, scoring three runs on three RBI singles from Collias, Kirkpatrick and Tyler White. But reliever Matthews, who entered in eighth, closed out the contest working the final 1.2 innings for a final 11-4 score.
Game two of the three-game series will start at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 24 with the finale set for Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Friday, 23 April 2010 22:09