Stranded runners doom Catamounts

Stranding a combined 29 base runners in two games is not a recipe for success, but the Catamounts did manage a 1-1 record over that span. Over this span, Western would move to 7-and-5 on the season. Western Carolina traveled to Tennessee to take on an old Southern Conference foe, East Tennessee State and would leave the Volunteer state with a 7-4 victory in front of 113 fans at Cardinal Park in Johnson City, Tennessee. The Buccaneers dropped to 9-and-5 on the season. Western held off an East Tennessee State attack in the 1st inning as a lead-off double by C.J. Lee put a runner in scoring position with just one out. But starter Chris Masters would pick off Lee at 2nd , and then struck out Anthony Russell to prevent any other damage. Western had its chance in the bottom of the 1st loading the bases but could not push anything across the board. Three innings later, Western would break the scoreless tie as they loaded the bases and two runners, Brent Greer and Nick Liles would score on an RBI single by Barrett Shaft to take a 2-0 lead. The next inning the Catamounts added 2 more runs to extend the lead to 4. In the bottom of the inning, the Buccaneers finally got on the scoreboard on an RBI single by Troy Mendez and trim the lead to 4-1. John Ingram would do some damage of his own in 6th as he ripped a 2-run double to left field scoring Jonathan Greene and Blake Murphy to make it a 6-1 game. Ingram added a triple to centerfield in the 7th and scored on a Liles single for the 7-1 lead. Mendez would drive in his 2nd run o f the day in the bottom of the 7th on a single to right field. East Tennessee State added 2 more runs in the bottom of the 9th but could not muster any more runs as Western took the game, 7-4. Ingram led the Catamounts in hitting going 4-for-5 on the game with 2 RBI’s falling just short of hitting for the cycle by a home run. Three other Western batters had multi-hit games as Liles went 3-for-5. Greer hit his 1st collegiate double in going 2-for-4 on the day and Shaft rounded out the multi-hitters going 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs. Masters picked up his 2nd win of the season going 6 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, walking 1 batter and striking out 5. Corey Martin pitched 3 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, walking 2 batters and striking out 1 batter for the save. For the 2nd consecutive day, Western Carolina stranded almost as many runners (15) as they had hits (20) in the game. Unfortunately, stranded runners, missed chances and giving up 10 runs in an inning would prove to be too much for the Catamounts to overcome as Western fell to the Mercer Bears, 13-10 in front of 106 fans at Hennon Stadium. The win moved Mercer to 11-and-7 on the season. With Western leading 3-1 going into the 4th inning, the fireworks really began as both teams combined for a total of 16 runs in the inning on 14 hits; 10 runs by Mercer and 6 by Western. Finding themselves down 11-3, Steven Strausbaugh reached base with a single and would come in to score on a 2-run homer by Kenny Smith; his 5th round tripper of the season. Barrett shaft reached base on a walk with just one out, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch and scored on a Nick Liles double. Liles scored on a John Ingram single to make the score 11-6. Strausbaugh would come up for the 2nd time in the inning and reached base on a walk to bring in another runner, and Smith drove in 2 more runners with a 2-out single to trim the deficit to 11-9. The Bears would up the lead to 4 in the 6th on a 2-run home run. More runs would have been scored but catcher Blake Murphy threw out a pair of base runners to prevent anymore damage. Trailing 13-9 going into the 8th inning, Western would go to their bench for offense as pinch hitter Andy John reached base on an RBI single, bringing in Smith from 2nd base, who reached base on a double. Western had one last opportunity in the bottom of the 9th, with 2 runners on base and only 1 out. Mercer closer Cory Gearrin struck out the next 2 batters before walking his 3rd batter of the inning, Donnie Wilson, but got out of the jam by getting a fly-out to end the game, 13-10. Shaft, Liles, and Smith each went 4-for-5 on the day. Murphy also had multiple hits on the game, going 2-for-4. Tyler Johnson got tagged for his 2nd loss of the season, only going 3 innings, giving 5 runs on 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 2.