Rain on both Friday, Mar. 26 and Saturday Mar. 27 in the Upstate of South Carolina forced a double-header for the WCU baseball team on Sunday, Mar. 28, but the prior days of steady rain didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the Catamounts.
Western Carolina swept both games of a Southern Conference match-up against the Wofford Terriers at Russell C. King Field. The Catamounts rallied from a six-run deficit en route to a 14-10 win in 10 innings in game one before pounding out 20 hits in a 19-2 romp in the night cap.
With the two victories, Western Carolina (17-6, 8-3 SoCon) extends its active winning streak over Wofford to 18-straight games dating back to the 2002 season. Also, after being outscored 10-to-4 through the first seven innings of the 19 played, the Catamounts managed to outscore Wofford, 29-to-2, over the final 12 frames.
WCU, which played its first extra inning game of the season in game one, also moved into second place in the SoCon behind the College of Charleston (10-2), which took two of three from Furman at home over the weekend.
In Sunday’s opener, Western rallied from a 10-4 deficit with a six-run top of the eighth inning to tie the game at 10 heading into the ninth. The Catamounts and reliever Daniel Ottone forced extra innings by working out of a base loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth. In the extra frame, WCU pushed across four runs including a two-run home run by junior Brent Greer to win, 14-10.
In the night cap, Western scored in all but two innings, plating six runs as 11 batters went to the plate in the top of the first inning to pound Wofford, 19-2. Senior starter Mike Tavernier only allowed two runs on two base hits through six innings to record the win, striking out eight against three walks.
Kyle Stewart, a freshman reliever, worked one inning of hitless, scoreless relief with a strikeout while also recording his first career home run in his first collegiate at bat as a part of a five-run eighth inning. Freshmen Tyler Brownlow, Garrett Baker and Andrew Blackwell combined to finish the final two innings with Blackwell posting a strikeout.
Offensively on the day for Western Carolina, Reid Rollison led the way at the plate in the twin-bill wins after going 4-for-7 (.571) with a pair of strikeouts, two walks and two runs scored. Greer and Lyons each posted five-hit performances between the two games with the previous going 5-for-9 (.556) with a double and a home run and the latter driving in six runs with a three-run homer and a pair of RBI doubles.