Eagles Drop First Round SoCon Tournament Game to Catamounts
Led behind the strong pitching of Matt Benedict, WCU allowed only six Eagles to reach base through the first five innings. Benedict picked up the win, logging 7.2 innings, allowing only two runs on 10 hits, while striking out seven.
Eagle starter Jake Brown (Forest Hill, Md.) worked only four innings, allowing eight runs (six earned) while striking out two and walking two. The Eagles called to the bullpen three times.
Blackburn (Marietta, Ga.) went 4-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored, while both Shawn Payne (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and Michael Burruss (Marietta, Ga.) picked up two hits apiece. For the Catamounts, Dylan de Graaf was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Matt Johns, Ross Heffley and Ollie Goulder tallied two hits apiece.
Payne singled to center to leadoff the contest and scored as Blackburn took his first pitch faced the opposite way for a 1-0 GS lead in the first. But Western Carolina’s Cameron Dullnig knotted the score at 1-apiece with a solo shot to left field in the next frame.
The Catamounts took their first and final lead in the third inning using a single to left center from Johns to put a runner on first with one out. Johns swiped second and moved to third on a fly out from Heffley. Tyler Kirkpatrick laid down a bunt to third base for a base hit to score Johns from third. WCU added to its lead when Dullnig lifted a short popup to shallow centerfield that scored Trevor Collias for a 3-1 lead.
A de Graaf triple to left center turned into the Catamounts’ fourth run before Johns homered (two runs) to center field for a 6-1 ballgame in the fourth.
Despite the defensive infield shift, Blackburn doubled down the left field line to open the bottom of the fourth. The senior first baseman reached third on an Eric Phillips (Carrollton, Ga.) groundout and scored on a wild pitch.
But WCU picked the run right back up and added another pair scoring three unearned runs in the fifth. Collias reached second on a groundball that kicked off Phillips at shortstop and scored on a Dullnig sacrifice bunt before de Graaf singled through the left side to score Goulder. The third Catamount run of the inning came on a wild pitch from reliever Trent Franzago (Bryon, Ga.).
Single runs in the sixth and eighth pushed the score to 11-2, Western Carolina. Victor Roache (Ypsilanti, Mich.), pinch hitting in the ninth, drove a 2-1 pitch to right center for the Eagles’ third run. After drawing a walk, Payne scored on a Blackburn single up the middle with one out for the final 11-4 score.
No. 3 Georgia Southern will take on No. 7 Appalachian State at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 27. The Mountaineers took No. 2 College of Charleston into extra innings, but the Cougars rallied for a 12-11 win in the 11th inning.
- Category: Baseball
- Published on Wednesday, 26 May 2010 18:15