After having their first game of the season against High Point postponed due to rain, the Catamount baseball team had to wait until February 16 to start the season. The extended wait didn’t hurt the Cats too much as they took two out of three at Kennesaw State. The good start may give glimpses of what should be a great season for one of the favorites to win the SoCon Championship. The Cats started off the three-game road series with a 9-6 win. The Kennesaw State Owls started off the game with a 2-1 lead at the end of the first inning, but the lead would not last long as the Catamounts bounced back in the third inning. Western would post five runs in the third inning to take a 6-2 lead. Nick Liles started off the inning with a walk. A Barrett Shaft single advanced Liles to second base. The Owls’ Bubba Blalock attempted to pick Liles off at second but the ball sailed into the outfield and Liles advanced to third. Jonathan Greene scored Liles with a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Blake Murphy reached base with a walk, while another KSU error allowed Drew Saberhagen to reach base. With the bases loaded, Clemson-transfer John Ingram singled through the right side of the infield and scored two. Kenny Smith hit a double in the next at bat to tack on two more runs at 6-2. KSU got back in the game in the next inning as they scored two runs to cut the lead to 6-4. The Catamounts would extend the lead again this time in sixth inning as they took an 8-4 lead. Shaft singled up the middle and then stole second base. A Steven Strausbaugh single moved Shaft to third base and eventually a wild pitch would score Shaft. Murphy would drive Strausbaugh in with a single of his own. KSU would put up their own run in the sixth, but the score was still 8-5. In the seventh inning, the Cats added another run to go up 9-5. KSU would finish the day’s scoring in the eight with one final run to lose 9-6. Tyler Sexton picked up the win for the Cats. Sexton pitched five innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out four batters. Greg Holland earned his first save of the season as he pitched the final two innings and finished with five strikeouts. Blake Murphy turned in the best offensive performance for the Cats as he batted three for four, had two RBI’s, one run, and one walk. Blalock picked up the loss for the Owls as he only gave up one earned run and five hits in four innings. The Catamounts came back on Saturday and picked up their second win of the three-game series. Once again, the Owls’ jumped out to an early lead as they scored three in the first inning. KSU scored three runs on three hits and a pair of walks. The Cats scored one run in the second inning as Kenny Smith singled and scored John Ingram. Ingram reached base on a fielder’s choice and stole second base to get in scoring position. The Owls answered back in the bottom of the second with their own run to make the score 4-1. The Catamounts would bounce back in the third inning. After a double by Jonathan Greene, Blake Murphy hit a home run to left field to make the score 4-3. The Catamounts really exploded in the fifth inning as they posted five runs to take control of the game. The Cats started off the fifth struggling as Liles flied out to left, while Strausbaugh popped up to first base. Shaft singled in between the batters. After a Greene walk, Murphy reached base on an error by the Owls’ third baseman. The error helped Shaft to score from second. Ingram then doubled to scored Murphy and Greene. A single by Jason Haynes would score Ingram, while a double by Smith would score Haynes and make the score 8-4. Kyle Cichy would strike out to end the inning and the bleeding for KSU. The Cats would add one run in both the eight and ninth innings, while KSU would tack on two in the ninth, but it would be for naught as they lost 10-6. Brock Thornburg won his first game of the year as he pitched five innings, allowed four earned runs and struck out two. Tyler Johnson picked up his first save of the year as pitched four innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out four. Micah Sales picked up the loss for KSU as he pitched four and two-thirds innings, gave up five earned runs, and only struck out one batter. Kenny Smith had the best offensive game for the Cats as he hit three out of four with three RBIs, one run, and one walk. The Catamounts would not complete the sweep, though, and lost on Sunday. The game would be much lower scoring this time as KSU would win 5-3. Once again, the Owls would score first as they went ahead 1-0 in the fourth inning. The Catamounts would bounce back in the sixth inning. Shaft would double to left field with two outs to extend the inning. The next batter was Strausbaugh, and he came through with his first home run of the season: a two-run shot to right center. The home run gave the Cats a 2-1 lead, but the lead would be short-lived. The Owls would score four unearned runs in the seventh inning to go ahead for good at 5-2. An error put Clint Roques on and a sacrifice fly moved him to second base. Another error put runners on the corners, and a triple down the left side would score the pair. Another RBI single and a passed ball would complete the scoring in the frame. In the ninth inning, the Cats would muster one run, but it wouldn’t be enough as they lost 5-3. Sophomore Drew Saberhagen picked up the loss as he allowed three unearned runs in six and two-thirds innings. Saberhagen also had four strikeouts and allowed one walk. The Cats will face the Connecticut Huskies in a three-game series at home starting on Friday, February 23, at 3:00.