WCU Baseball Team Opens Season Strong, Sweep Falcons

Basketball season is winding down and the weather is slowly getting warmer, which can mean only one thing-baseball season.

Western opened its season hosting the Bowling Green Falcons at Hennon Stadium with a three-game set on Friday, Feb. 20. The Catamounts got off to strong start, winning their opening game, and swept the series to send the Falcons home winless.

The season, however, didn’t start as hoped. The first Falcon to step to the plate on Feb. 20 hit a home run over the right field fence. The next batter to step to the plate reached base on an error by second baseman Nick Liles. The Falcons would go on to score five runs in the first inning.

The Falcons would lead almost the entire way until they began to turn it around in the fifth inning. In the seventh inning, the Catamounts finally broke through and took the lead from Bowling Green. In the inning, the Catamounts were able to get runners on base with walks by Tyler Kirkpatrick and Reid Rollison. Western Carolina then got the bats going to break through for hits which led to a nine run outburst and saw the Catamounts bat around in the inning.

When Kirkpatrick came up again with the bases loaded, he came through with a hard hit double that drove in all three runners and extended the Catamount lead. Kirkpatrick would score the final run of the game on an RBI single by Rollison. WCU won by a final margin of 16-8. In the second game of the three game series, the Catamounts came out of the dugouts swinging and jumped ahead of the Falcons in the bottom of the first inning. The three run outburst by the Catamounts was more than enough for Chris Masters to pick up the win and shut down the Catamounts. Masters, making his first start of the season, fired six innings of one run, two hit baseball. In the bottom of the first inning the Catamounts got on the board with a triple for J.C. Lyons who drove in two. Kirkpatrick, coming off a strong performance the day before, drove Lyons home to extend the lead to three runs. The Catamounts got another run in the fourth inning to extend their lead, and give Masters even more of a cushion. Masters was pitching a one hit gem until the fifth inning when Bowling Green centerfielder homered. That run was the only one the Falcons could get as they fell 4-1.

On Sunday, Feb. 22, Western Carolina went to the ballpark looking for the sweep to open the season and the Falcons were desperate to avoid being swept. The Catamounts came out and put on an offensive show, scoring 14 runs against the Falcons. With 16 hits in the game, the Catamounts were all over the Falcons and were able to land devastating blows with two home runs. Both homers drove in multiple runs, including a pinch hit grand slam by Dylan de Graff. The Catamounts were on a road trip in Southern California as of press time on Friday, Feb. 27, hoping to continue their winning ways.