Catamounts go 1-and-1 vs. the Dogs

On back-to-back days, Western Carolina took on a pair of teams with the same mascot-the Bulldogs. The Catamounts went down to SEC country and defeated the University of Georgia but would fall to UNC-Asheville the next day. With these two games, Western goes to 10-and-6 on the season. Western Carolina used late-inning heroics to knock off the Georgia Bulldogs, 3-1, in front of 992 fans at Foley Filed in Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs fall to 5-and-11 on the season. Georgia had their chance early in the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 2nd inning. With nobody out, Starter Drew Saberhagen fought back by getting the next two batters to strikeout and managed to get a fly out to get out of the inning unscathed. The Bulldogs squandered another chance in the 6th, thanks to a lead off single from Matt Olsen, and moved to 2nd on a fielder’s choice. Olsen attempted to score, but a beautiful throw from Jonathan Greene gunned down Olsen at home to keep the game the tied at 0. Georgia showed that the 3rd time is the charm in the 8th as they put runners on 1st and 2nd with one out, and Olsen tagged up on a fly-out and advanced to 3rd with two outs. Olsen would eventually score on a Matt Cerione single for the 1-0 lead. Western would make the best of their only opportunity of the night as Blake Murphy and Kenny Smith each reached base on walks, putting Murphy in scoring position with one out. Senior John Ingram, Southern Conference Player of the Week, came up next and hit a towering homerun to right field, scoring three in the process and giving Western the win, 3-1. Ingram was the only Catamount to have a multi-hit game as Western could only muster four hits, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Nick Liles and Jason Haynes had the only other hits on the day. For the 2nd straight outing, Saberhagen pitched another great game and for the 2nd straight time did not factor in the decision going 7 2/3 innings, giving up just the one run on 13 hits, walking no one and striking out two. Closer Greg Holland would pick up the win, going an inning and a third, giving up three hits and striking out four. The next day, Western would take on another team nicknamed the Bulldogs, but this time around, Western would be on the losing side, falling 7-6 in front of 514 fans at Hennon Stadium. UNC-Asheville moved to 5-and-14 on the season. Western started the scoring the 2nd inning as Jonathan Greene started off the inning with a single and moved to 2nd on a Blake Murphy walk. John Ingram singled in Greene for the 1-0 lead, and Nick Liles extended his hitting streak to 9 games with an RBI single to make it a 2-0 lead. Mitchell Hatley also got into the RBI category with a sacrifice fly to give the Catamounts a 3-0 advantage. The Bulldogs used a RBI single from Matt Henson to cut the lead to 3-1. The next three batters would reach base, and then Rob Vernon took the 1st pitch and jacked it over the left field fence for a grand slam and the 5-3 advantage. UNC-Asheville put across one more run in the 6th on a squeeze play by John Whited, scoring Elliot Arrington from 3rd base. Western tied the game in the bottom of the inning as Kenny Smith hit his 8th homer of the season, a 3-run shot to center field. The Bulldogs put across another run in the top of the 7th on a RBI double by David Williams to take a 7-6 lead. UNC-Asheville’s bullpen would shut down the Catamounts over the last three innings to preserve the win, 7-6. Jason Haynes led the way for the Catamounts going 3-for-5 and Ingram was the only other batter who had multiple hits, going 2-for-4. Smith went 1-for-4 with three RBIs. Tyler Johnson would get tagged with his 3rd loss of the year, going just an inning and a third, allowing three hits and giving up what would be the winning run of the game.