College of Charleston sweeps Western

A week after picking up their 1st series sweep of the season, Western got swept in a battle of the projected top 2 teams in the conference. Two of the three games over the March 23rd-25th series were decided in the last at-bat for the home team, which resulted in a pair of 1-run losses. The 3 losses drop Western to 14-and-10 on the year, but 0-and-3 in the Southern Conference In the 1st game Friday evening, Western blew an early lead, and tied it up before falling to the College of Charleston in the 1st game, 7-6 at Patriots Point Field in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Western threatened in the top of the 1st by loading up the bases with nobody out but could only put 1 run across on John Ingram’s fielder’s choice to 1st base that scored lead-off batter, Barrett Shaft. The Catamounts would add to the lead in the top of the 4th as Kenny Smith led off the inning by reaching 2nd base on a routine fly ball that was misplayed by the leftfielder. Smith came in on Steven Strausbaugh’s RBI single to right-centerfield. Western was not done yet though despite the next 2 batters striking out as Strausbaugh advanced to 2nd base on the 2nd Cougar error of the inning and scored on an RBI single by Andy John to make it a 3-0 game going into the bottom of the 4th. College of Charleston came back in the bottom of the inning on a 2-run home run to cut the Catamount lead to 3-2. The Cougars took the lead in the bottom of the 7th inning as they plated 4 runs on 3 hits, but left 2 men on base to take their 1st lead of the game, 6-3. The Catamounts would not go down quietly as Blake Murphy brought in 2 runners in the top of the 9th on an RBI single to make it 6-5. Smith drove in Murphy on an RBI single to make tie the game at 6 going into the bottom of the 9th. The Cougars would take advantage of the last at-bat as a Cougar pinch hitter led off the inning with single to right-centerfield, and came in on a wild pitch by WCU reliever Chris Masters on an attempted intentional walk to give College of Charleston the win, 7-6. Five Catamount players registered 2-hits in the game. Strausbaugh broke out of his hitting slump with a 2-for-3 performance. Brent Greer went 2-for-5 in the game and John, Smith and Murphy each went 2-for-4 to round out the team, which left 12 runners stranded on base. Despite a strong performance from pitcher Tyler Sexton, he did not factor into the decision. Sexton allowed 4 runs on 5 hits while walking 5 and striking out 6 over 6 1/3 innings of work. Masters got saddled with the loss, going to 3-and-1 on the year. College of Charleston’s offense proved to be too much for the Catamounts to keep up with as the Cougars scored 11 runs in the last 5 innings to take game 2 of the series, 18-8 Saturday afternoon. Unlike game 1, College Charleston took the early lead with 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st. Western cut the lead to 3-2 after Brent Greer brought in 2 runners on 1 of his 2 doubles on the game, scoring Steven Strausbaugh and John Ingram. The Cougars would come right back with 4 runs in the home half of the 2nd to take a 7-2 lead. Western once more cut the lead to 1, 7-6 but the 4 runs almost did not happen as Jonathan Greene kept the inning alive with a 2-out single and advanced to 3rd base back-to-back walks from Ingram and Kenny Smith. Strausbaugh drew another walk to bring in Greene. Nick Liles brought in the 2nd run of the inning on a free pass. Greer brought in 2 more with his 2nd double of the game to make it a 7-6 game after 3 innings. Western tied the game at 7 in the top of the 4th as Green took a 1-0 delivery over the leftfield fence. That would be as close as Western would get the rest of the game as the Cougars outscored the Catamounts 9-to-1 over the final 4 innings as Western falls again to the College of Charleston, 18-8. Greer and Greene combined for 7 of the Catamounts 11 hits in the game with Greer going 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and his 1st collegiate triple to go along with 5 RBIs; Greene went 4-for-5. Bryan Corbett took the loss in the game giving up 2 runs on 3 hits while walking and striking out a pair over 2 1/3 innings. For the 2nd time in the 3-game series, College of Charleston would cash in on having the last at-bat scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th to take the game 8-7 and the series, 3-to-0. Blake Murphy counted for the 1st run of the game in the top of the 1st inning to take the lead early, 1-0. College of Charleston would answer in the bottom of the 1st with a run of their own to tie it at 1. Western regained the lead in the top of the 3rd as Barrett Shaft reached base on a 1-out single and scored on an RBI double from Jonathan Greene to make it 2-1. The Cougars tied it up again in the bottom half of the inning with a 2-out RBI single. With 2 men out in the top of the 4th, Murphy sent an RBI single to centerfield to score both Nick Liles and Tyler Kirkpatrick to take a 4-2 lead. Greene brought in his 2nd RBI of the day with a single to left-centerfield to make it 5-2. College of Charleston made it a 5-4 game in the bottom of the inning with a pair of sacrifice flies with the bases loaded. The Cougars tied it at 5 on an RBI double in the 5th. Western re-took the lead in the top of the 6th as Murphy reached base on a walk and advanced to 2nd base on a Greene single and scored on back-to-back wild pitches. Another wild pitch moved Greene to 3rd base, and scored as Ingram reached on an error for a 7-5 lead. College of Charleston would once again tie the game in the bottom of the 7th. Neither team scored a run in the 8th and the Cougars once again took advantage of the last at-bat as a pair of walks put the winning run in scoring position with just 1 out and a walk-off single by Gabe Marchant plated the winning run and gave College of Charleston (18-6, 3-0 SoCon) the win and the series sweep, 8-7. Greene led the way for the Catamounts with a 3-for-5 performance. Three other Catamount players had 2 hits apiece. Murphy went 2-for-4 while both Shaft and Smith went 2-for-5. Pitcher Drew Saberhagen did not factor into the decision despite going 6 innings allowing 6 runs on 8 hits, walking 2 and striking out only 1. Greg Holland fell to 1-and-2 on the year pitching 2 2/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 2 and striking out 1, but gave up the winning run.