Western Carolina had wins of 8-7 and 13-7 to sweep a doubleheader versus Southern Conference foe Davidson Saturday afternoon at Hennon Stadium. With the wins, the Catamounts improve to 27-23 overall, 15-10 in the SoCon, while the Wildcats fall to 18-30, 10-19.
Western Carolina’s Todd Buchanan provided the offense in game one, going 4-for-5 with a three-run home run and two runs scored. Dan Woodley played a key role in the Catamounts success in game two, getting a career-high three hits (five at-bats) and driving in a career-high three runs. WCU third baseman Ryan Schade collected two hits in both contests to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, Western’s longest of the season.
In game one, Davidson began the game with three consecutive hits to claim a 1-0 lead. Jack Purcell and Ryan Stroker started the game with back-to-back singles before Tim Frend, who led Davidson with two RBI in the game, plated Purcell with an RBI double down the rightfield line. With runners at second anthird, WCU starter Jared Burton got a key double play and a groundout to first base to escape without further damage.
Western tied the game at 1-1 in the third. Todd Roper hit a one-out double and came around to score on Michael Roane’s single to right-center. The Catamounts took the lead, 2-1, in the fourth when Buchanan singled and, after a wild pitch, scored on a Rod Goldston single to right.
The lead was short lived as Davidson sent 10 men to the plate in the fifth and scored five runs to lead 6-2. The Wildcats hit three doubles and four singles in the inning, scoring four of the five runs with two outs.
The Catamounts responded by sending nine men to the plate in the bottom half and scoring with four runs to tie the game at 6-6. Roane, who hit a one-out single, scored on a double by Schade. Alan Beck followed with a walk to put runners on first and second, setting up Buchanan’s three-run blast, his fifth homer of the season. Western added two unearned runs in the sixth on RBI singles by Buchanan and Donovan Minero.
Davidson cut the lead to 8-7, scoring an unearned run in the eighth, but could only muster one hit in the final two innings off WCU closer Ryan Foster, who picked up his fifth save of the season. Catamount sophomore Joe Camac (1-1) earned his first career win, pitching 1.2 innings in relief. He allowed two hits and one unearned run. Western’s three pitchers did not allow a walk in the contest. Brian Akin (0-1) was saddled with the loss, entering the game in the fifth when starter Jeremiah Parvin left the game with a back injury. Akin surrendered seven hits, four runs (two earned) and two walks in 3.1 innings.
In game two, Davidson once again jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs, all unearned, in the top of the second. Mark Williams singled. He scored one batter later on a three-base throwing error on D.J. Dailey’s ground ball to third. Dailey later scored on a wild pitch before Purcell hit a solo home run, his third homer of the season.
Western tied the game in the bottom half, scoring all three runs with two outs. Matt Price and Ben Rhoney, who tied his career high with three hits, hit back-to-back doubles before Woodley’s first career triple. Roane capped with scoring with an RBI single to right. With that safety, Roane extended his hit streak to six, all coming since moving to the top of WCU’s batting order.
After a James Marino home run in the third, the Catamounts used consecutive hits by Price, Rhoney and Woodley to take a 5-4 lead after four complete. Davidson tied the contest in the fifth when Marino went deep for the second time in the contest, plating Frend in the process.
Western Carolina’s Goldston hit a two-run triple in the sixth, followed by an RBI single by Minero to take a 9-6 lead, one the Catamounts would not relinquish.
Marino put the Wildcats within two runs with an RBI groundout in the seventh. However, WCU sent nine men to the plate and scored four runs in the eighth to provide the final margin, 13-7.
Seth Foster allowed six hits and six runs, only three being earned, with one walk and four stikeouts in 6.0 innings to improve to 5-3 on the season. His win total ties Burton and Dan Foley for the team lead.
Ryan Basner pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball to earn his third save of the season, entering the game in the seventh with the tying run at the plate. He surrendered two hits and one walk, while fanning two. Wes Self fell to 3-9 on the season, giving up 13 hits, nine runs and two walks in 5.2 innings.