Catamount sweep The Citadel

For the 2nd time this season, Western Carolina swept an opponent at home. This time around it moved Western to an even .500 in the Southern Conference at 3-and-3. With the 3 wins over the weekend of March 30th-April 1st against the Citadel, Western improved to 17-and-11 on the year. Western Carolina head coach Todd Raleigh reached a milestone on Friday night with a 7-3 win over the Citadel at Hennon Stadium. The win was Coach Raleigh’s 230th all-time win, putting him in sole possession of 2nd place, ahead of former teammate, the late Keith LeClairAfter a scoreless 1st inning, Western would get into the scoring column first as consecutive singles from Kenny Smith and Steven Strausbaugh put runners at 1st and 3rd with nobody out. Nick Liles got a 2-for-1 special in his at-bat, grounding to the shortstop to score Smith, but in process reached 1st as he beat out the throw to make it a 1-0 lead. After the Citadel tied the game 1 in the top half of the 3rd, Western would double there pleasure 4 times in the bottom half of the inning with doubles by Barrett Shaft, Blake Murphy, John Ingram and Smith. Jonathan Greene had a single sandwiched in between doubles from Murphy and Ingram. During the inning Western put up a 4-spot on the board to make it a 5-2 game. Greene picked up his 1st RBI of the game on a Sacrifice fly to score Shaft from 3rd making it a 6-2 after 4 innings. Shaft used the long ball in the bottom of the 6th extending the lead to 7-2 with a home run to left-centerfield. The Bulldogs came back with a run in the top of the 8th with a run to make it 7-3 before Western closer Greg Holland came in the top of the 9th and shut the door for the win, 7-3.Shaft led the way for the Catamounts with a 3-for-4 day at the plate. Smith had the only other multiple hit game going 2-for-4. Tyler Sexton stays perfect on the season, moving to 5-and-0, tying a career-high with 11 strikeouts while giving up only 3 runs on 6 hits with 1 walk over 8 solid innings of work.In the 2nd game of the series it was one big inning that would be all the Catamounts needed to put away the Citadel. Western Carolina sent 15 men to the plate in the bottom of the 7th inning, scoring 9 runs en route to a 12-5 win.For the 2nd night in a row, neither team could put a run across in the 1st inning but like that game, Western did put across a run in the 2nd as Brent Greer brought in Steven Strausbaugh from 3rd base on an RBI single to make a 1-0 game. The Citadel tied it up in the top of the 3rd with a run on 3 hits, but left men on 2nd and 3rd base to end their at-bat. Kenny Smith made it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the 3rd with an RBI double, scoring Jonathan Greene from 2nd base. The Catamounts added another run in the 4th on an RBI single by Barrett Shaft to make it a 3-1 advantage. The Bulldogs would turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead over the next 2 innings. That lead would be short lived as Western chased off 5 Citadel pitchers in the bottom of the 7th while forcing a pair of errors and putting a 9-spot on only 4 hits, but they left bases loaded but it would not come back to haunt them as they took game 2 of the series, 12-5.Three Catamount hitters posted 3-hit performances on the day. Greene went a perfect 3-for-3 in the game. Nick Liles had a 3-for-4 performance and Shaft rounded out with a 3-for-4 day, improving his team-best batting average, up to .422 on the season. Drew Saberhagen had another impressive outing going 6 2/3 innings, giving up 5 runs on 10 hits, walking and striking out 1 apiece, but did not factor into the decisions. Chris Masters picked up the win, improving to 4-and-2 on the year and only pitched a 1/3 of an inning, giving up 1 hit.Despite early rains before the game got underway, it just delayed the inevitable for the Citadel as Western completed the sweep of the Bulldogs, 18-3 at Hennon Stadium.The Catamounts made a statement in the bottom of the 1st inning by putting up 7 runs on 6 hits to take the quick 7-0 lead as each starter got an at-bat and chased off the Citadel starter who could only manage to get just 1 out before he was taken out of the game. After not scoring in the 2nd and the 3rd innings, the Catamounts put up 3 more runs in the bottom of the 4th as consecutive doubles from John Ingram and Kenny Smith brought in 1 run and then Nick Liles brought in 2 more to take a 10-0 lead. Western pushed across a run in the 5th inning on Blake Murphy’s 6th round tripper of the season to make it 11-0. In the bottom of the 6th, Liles led off the inning on what was a typical single to right field and ended up being a 2-base error, putting Liles on 3rd with no one out and scored on Brent Greer’s single. The Bulldogs would attempt to mount a comeback with 3 runs in the top of the 7th inning. Western had its second big inning of the game in the bottom of the 8th with 6 runs, most of the hits coming from bench players that normally do not get to play. By scoring a combined 13 runs in the 1st and 8th inning, those would be all the runs that the Catamounts would need as they finished off the Citadel, 18-3.The Catamounts pounded out an impressive 21 hits, with a 3-for-4 showing from Barrett Shaft, his 17th multi-hit game of the season. Shaft went 9-for-12 during the series. Liles also had 3 hits in the game, going 3-for-5. Ingram went 2-for-4 while Smith 2-for-5 in the game. Reserve Tyler Kirkpatrick came off the bench to go a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate. Making a rare starting appearance, Corey Martin pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit while walking a batter and striking out a pair.