Baseball Opens Season Sweeping Wright State

Last weekend the Western Carolina baseball squad traveled to Charleston to compete in the Berkely Electric Shootout at Riley Park, winning one of three games. Before that, they kicked off the 2002 campaign with a series sweep over Wright State at Childress Field/Hennon Stadium here in Cullowhee.

On Sunday, Western (4-2) battled West Virginia (2-3), falling short 12-5 to the Big East school.

The Cats jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second when senior center fielder Donovan Minero began the inning with a single. Sophomore left fielder Doug Myers doubled Minero home and then scored on a Mountaineer error.

WVU would bounce back the next inning with a home run by Dallas Crews and a score on an error to tie the game at two. The sixth inning saw West Virginia plate three more, as Crews hit his second home run of the game, this one a two-run shot.

The Mountaineers proved to be too much offensively as they put up seven runs over the final three innings to run away with the contest.

Myers led the Cats with three hits and scored three more times, while driving in one. Minero was the only other WCU player with a multiple-hit game, going 2-for-5 for the game.

Western knocked off ACC power Virginia on Saturday, 4-3. Junior pitcher Seth Foster (2-0) led the way for the Cats, going seven and two-thirds innings allowing only three hits and three runs, two unearned, while striking out seven.

The scoring began in the top of the first when senior shortstop singled to left and later scored on a Minero single.

Virginia did not take long to answer, however, as they put up two runs in the bottom of the first and added another in their half of the second, taking an early 3-1 lead. Foster would then take control of the game and, with the help of junior pitcher Joe Camac, shut down the Cavaliers for the rest of the game.

WCU then answered in the sixth, as junior first baseman Alan Beck scored on a fielder’s choice. They would add one more in the seventh as junior right fielder Rod Goldston blasted a double to bring home Davis.

Myers broke the 3-3 tie in the eighth with his second home run of the season, the only long ball of the game.

Friday’s matchup pitted Western’s offense against Virginia Tech and their ace, Joe Saunders. The junior left-handed slinger is rated one of the nation’s elite pitchers. Despite the opposing arm, the Catamount batters managed 11 hits, but could only bring one home as they nine runners on base.

Beck, sophomore second baseman Todd Roper, sophomore catcher Brian Sigmon and junior first baseman Todd Buchanan each had two hits.

VTU managed a run in the second and two more in the third, which was more than enough for Saunders, who earned his first win of the season.

The weekend before, Wright State arrived in Cullowhee and was greeted with a brutal three-game sweep by the Cats, one in which WCU outscored WSU by a total of 41-10.

Sunday’s game was the closest contest as the Catamounts closed out the sweep 9-6. Schade and Beck each had two hits, as Beck knocked in three and Schade crossed the plate three times.

Western opened up quickly, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Buchanan opened up the scoring with a two-run triple, the first of his career, and was brought home by an infield single one batter later.

The Raiders battled back and scored the next six games of the contest, including a four-run fourth inning. Western was not able to answer until the sixth, when they answered with four runs of their own to take the lead for good.

Saturday’s doubleheader was not as suspenseful as Western won 14-4 and 18-0. The offensive onslaught featured 17 hits by the Cats in each contest, the second game in just seven innings.

Schade and Minero each had six hits total between the two games, as Schade recorded five RBI while Minero had three and a home run. Buchanan caught fire in the second game, knocking in a game-high five batters on 3-of-5 hitting.

Yesterday, the team traveled to Tallahassee, FL, to take on Florida State, presently ranked first in the nation and a perennial contender for the national championship. The team will play a two-game series with the Seminoles before returning home to face North Carolina A & T in a three-game series this weekend.