Western Carolina sweeps Columbia

Bring out the brooms, Western Carolina picked up their 1st series sweep of the season. After taking 2-out of-3 in every other series this year, the Catamounts finally got the monkey off their back. With the 3 wins, Western moves to 13-and-7 on the year. Columbia drops to 4-9-and-1 on the season. In the 1st game Friday afternoon, Western used late-inning heroics from a freshman to squeak out a 10-9 victory at Hennon Stadium. Columbia would get on the scoreboard in the 1st inning on 4 hits for the early 1-0 lead. Western would tie the game up on back-to-back singles from John Ingram and Nick Liles with Ingram scoring on an RBI single from Freshman Adam Baker to tie the game at 1. The 3rd inning saw the Catamounts take their 1st lead of the game with a two-run homer from Blake Murphy, his 3rd of the season to take a 3-1 lead. The Lions 1st 7 batters would reach base in the 4th, chasing Western starting pitcher Tyler Sexton and forcing the Catamounts to go to their bullpen early with Bryan Corbett coming in to get the last 2 outs of the inning. Western would cut the lead to 7-5 on a pair of singles from Liles and Baker and came home on a 2 RBI single from Jason Haynes. Western cut into the lead even more in the 5th courtesy of a solo home run from Ingram. Neither team could muster a run in the 6th inning as Columbia loaded up the bases but were only able to score 2 in the inning to take a 9-6 lead. Western would comeback and take the lead in the bottom of the 7th as Ingram led off the inning with a double and advanced to 3rd on a Kenny Smith single and both would score on a Liles RBI double to trim the lead to just a single run, 9-8. The next batter, Baker, took an 0-2 delivery and sent it over the fence for a 2-run homer for the 10-9 lead. Reliever Greg Holland came in to the game in the top 8th inning and shut down the Lions over the final 1 2/3 inning to preserve the win, 10-9. Baker, making his 1st collegiate start, led the way going 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs. Liles and Ingram each had 3 hits on the day as well, both going 3-for-5. Murphy and Haynes rounded out the multi-hit batters, both going 2-for-5. Reliever Chris Masters would get the win in relief, his 3rd of the season. Masters went 2 1/3 innings, giving up a pair of runs on 4 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4. Holland would pick up his 3rd save on the season. For the 2nd consecutive day, Columbia would take the early lead but once again could not hang on. Despite out-hitting Western, 17-16, the Lions committed 8 errors as Western took game 2 in the series, 17-11 from Hennon Stadium. Columbia would score 1st , putting across a run, but Western would come back with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the 1st as John Ingram would drive in the Western’s 1st run on an RBI single. Steven Strausbaugh would fly out to left field, and in the process scoring Jonathan Greene from 3rd. Ingram would come around to score as Ryan Wilson would reach 1st on an error, and take a 3-1 lead after 1 inning. In the 3rd, Western would add on to the lead on a sacrifice fly by Kenny Smith, scoring Greene from 3rd. The Lions would try to mount a comeback as they would load up the bases after scoring 3 runs before chasing starting pitcher Ryne Nelson out of the game, and being relieved by Junior Andrew Larrimore, who came in and shut the door, preventing further damage. Western would put the game out of reach over the next 3 innings, capitalizing on 4 Lion errors and scoring 13 runs on 11 hits, to make the lead 17-4 after 6 innings. Columbia would try to make a comeback scoring 7 runs of their over the next 3 innings, but would fall short as Western takes game 2, 17-11. Six Catamount players registered multiple hit games. Smith went 2-for-3 and Ingram went 2-for-5 to lead the way. Barrett Shaft, Nick Liles, Greene and Wilson each went 2-for-4 to round out the multi-hit games. Larrimore got his 1st win of the season coming out of the bullpen, going 2 innings, allowing just the one run on 2 hits and walking a pair. Western would complete the sweep on Sunday afternoon by pounding out 16 hits en route to a 14-6 victory at Hennon Stadium. The Catamounts got into the scoring column first in the 4th innings courtesy of a Sacrifice fly by Kenny Smith, scoring Blake Murphy, who was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and moving John Ingram to 3rd base after being walked. Ingram would score on an RBI double from Steven Strausbaugh to take a 2-0 lead. Columbia would tie the game 2 in the 5th on a pair of extra base hits. Jonathan Greene would come up in the bottom of the inning and re-take the lead on his 5th home run of the season, a 2-run blast to right field. A few batters later, Kenny Smith came to the plate and belted a 2-run homer to right field and extend the lead to 4. The homer was Smith’s team-leading 9th of the season. The Lions would make it a 1-run game with just a single swing of the bat, a 3-run homer. Columbia would add another run to tie the game at 6 going into the bottom of the 6th. Brent Greer led off the next inning by being hit by a pitch and advanced to 3rd on a Barrett Shaft single. Nick Liles drove in Greer on a ground out to 3rd base. Greene would reach base, being a victim of another hit by pitch. Murphy drove in Liles on an RBI double to make it an 8-6 game. Greene would score the 3rd run of the inning on a wild pitch. The Catamounts would tack on 5 more in the bottom of the 8th on a solo homer from Murphy, hit 4th of the year. With the bases loaded, Ingram would score on a wild pitch to make the score, 11-6. Pinch hitter Tyler Kirkpatrick would come up and put the finishing touches on the sweep with his 1st collegiate home run, a 3-run shot to provide the final margin, 14-6. Smith was 1 of 2 Catamounts with 3 hits in the game, going a perfect 3-for-3. Shaft also had a 3-hit day, going 3-for-6. Strausbaugh and Murphy also had multiple hits, going 2-for-4 apiece. Reliever Corey Martin picked up his 1st win on the year, allowing a run on 4 hits to go along with a walk and a strikeout over 2 innings of work.