Tigers too Tough for Catamounts

Solid pitching held Western to minimal offense and a 6-0 shutout against Clemson April 26. With the win the Tigers split the two game yearly series with the Catamounts. The Catamounts took the previous contest a week earlier 6-2 on the Tigers home field. Western has failed to sweep games against Clemson since the two teams began the series. The series is an interesting one as current Clemson coach Jack Leggett is a former head coach for the Catamounts leading Western for nine years 1983-91. Leggett helped establish his remarkable coaching career right here in Cullowhee. As for Tuesday’s contest, the scoring started for Clemson in the first inning when Mike Freeman and Jeff Schaus both hit singles with no outs. After a stolen base by Schaus, the first run was scored by Jeff on a wild pitch. The Catamounts could not answer in the bottom half of the inning. The game remained 1-0 Tigers until the fourth inning when Clemson scored four runs with two outs. Matt Sanders hit a double and was driven in by shortstop Stan Widmann. After a fielding error by the Catamounts, Widmann advanced to third and then made it home off a single by Schaus. After another Catamount error, the fourth run was scored. The next four innings would provide little offense and plenty of tough pitching. The Tigers and Catamounts combined to have 19 total strikeouts in the game with Western knotting ten and Clemson knotting nine. Catamount sophomore Daniel Ottone pitched five innings and threw five strikeouts, and reliever Garrett Ozar pitched 3.1 innings with three strikeouts. Sophomore Chris Masters closed out the game with two strikeouts. For the Tigers, junior Trey Delk pitched seven innings of shutout baseball with seven strikeouts. The game was closed by Justin Surratt and Matt Vaughn each pitching one inning and allowing no runs. The final two runs were scored by Clemson in the ninth off of three doubles. Offensively Western couldn’t match the Tiger bats and struggled to get base runners around the diamond. The slow start didn’t help the Catamount cause, putting them in a predicament they would not bounce back from. Though disappointed at the home loss, Western still has time to improve their record as the season winds down. The Catamounts return home Wednesday April 30 against Gardner-Webb at 7:00 p.m., and host Wofford in a weekend series May 2-4. The games begin at 7:00, 6:00, and 2:00 p.m. respectively. Western makes their final road trip at the Citadel in a weekend series May 9-11, and a single game against East Tennessee Tuesday May 13. The Catamounts close out the season with a home series against the College of Charleston May 15-17. The 2008 Southern Conference Tournament begins Wednesday May 21 in Charleston South Carolina. You can follow all the games online at catamountsports.com.