Baseball Splits First Two Games of Series at Western Carolina

Saturday, April 14, 2001

Western Carolina opens Weekend Series with 9-8 Win Over ETSU

Cullowhee, N.C. - Junior Ryan Schade drove in a career-high five runs, including a three-run home run in the fifth, to lead Western Carolina to a 9-8 come-from-behind win over East Tennessee State, Friday afternoon at Hennon Stadium. Western improves to 18-18 overall, 11-7 in the Southern Conference, while ETSU falls to 14-22, 6-10.

With the score tied at 8-8 in the eighth, Western’s Todd Roper led off the bottom half of the inning with a double down the left field line. Rightfielder Rod Goldston followed with the game-winning RBI single to left on a fake bunt.

East Tennessee jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run by Andy Baxter just inside the right field line. The Catamounts answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half. Roper started the frame with a single to left and scored on Goldston’s double to left when the Buccaneers attempted to get Goldston out at second. Donovan Minero, who was 3-for-5, singled home Goldston two batters later.

The Bucs would tie the game in the second and extend its advantage to 6-2, scoring two runs in the third and fourth innings each. In the second, Brandon Cross hit a leadoff single, moved to second after a single by Scott Rose and was on third after a sacrifice bunt by Kirk Keithley. Tim Turner would plate Cross on a sacrifice fly to right. In the third, Ryan Hyder and Nathan Copeland, who each reached on singles, scored on a Rose single and subsequent error by Goldston. In the fourth, Jeremy Terry and Turner began with back-to-back singles and scored after a passed ball, a wild pitch and an RBI ground-out by Hyder.

The Catamounts cut the lead in half, 6-3, with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan McCurry hit a leadoff infield single and moved to second on a throwing error on the play. A wild pitch put McCurry on third and set the stage for the first of Schade’s five RBI, as the third baseman hit a sacrifice fly to right to bring home McCurry.

ETSU pushed its advantage back to four runs (7-3) in the top of the fifth. Copeland started with a double to chase Catamount starter Jared Burton. After relief pitcher Jeff Skinner quickly recorded two outs, he surrendered a walk and a single to Terry, allowing Copeland to score.

Western tied the game at 7-7 in the bottom half. Alan Beck reached on the third error of the day by the Bucs and would eventually score on a passed ball. Schade provided the other three-runs with his first career home run, bringing home Minero, who singled, and McCurry, who was hit by a pitch.

ETSU and WCU each scored runs in the seventh. The Bucs used consecutive singles by Cross, Keithley and Terry to manufacture their run, while the Cats’s Minero singled, stole second and scored on Schade’s single to left.

Ryan Foster (2-3) picked up the win for the Catamounts, pitching the final 2.2 innings and allowing only one hit with a walk and two strikeouts. Western’s bullpen effectively held the Bucs in check over the final five innings. Skinner, Dan Foley and Foster combined to scatter six hits, allow one run, walk only two and strikeout five. Skinner, who entered the game with 10 walks and two strikeouts on the season, fanned three with one walk. Burton, although allowing nine hits and seven runs (six earned) in four innings, only walked one with six strikeouts.

Matt Nunley (2-2) was saddled with the loss in relief, allowing three hits and one run with no walks and two strikeouts. Reid Casey pitched six strong innings, surrendering seven hits with only three of his eight runs being earned. He additionally fanned seven while walking four.

Western Carolina and East Tennessee State will continue the weekend series at Hennon Stadium with a single game on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The series finale will be Sunday at 2:00 p.m., which is a change from the original schedule.

ETSU EVENS Series with 9-5 Win Over Western Carolina

Cullowhee, N.C. - East Tennessee right fielder Nathan Copeland hit a two-run double in the ninth, which proved to be the game winner, as the Buccaneers defeated Western Carolina, 9-5, Saturday afternoon at Hennon Stadium.

ETSU (15-22, 7-10 SoCon) used a four-run ninth with only two hits to seal the Catamounts (18-19, 11-8 SoCon) fate. Ryan Hyder started the frame with a single to center and, after a sacrifice bunt, Andy Baxter was intentionally walked. Copeland plated the two and scored along with Kirk Keithley after two WCU errors. The Cats would commit five miscues on the day.

The Catamounts mounted a threat in the bottom of the ninth, scoring two runs on Alan Beck’s 12th home run of the season. ETSU’s Jackson Simerly, who pitched the final 2.2 innings, got a fly out and a ground out to end the rally and record his first save of the season.

Simerly worked out of a jam in the seventh, entering the game with two one and one out. He recorded consecutive outs to close the seventh and struck out the side in the eighth.

Buccaneer starter Donnie Sharp improved to 4-1 on the season, pitching 6.1 innings. The freshman, making his fifth start of the season, allowed five hits and three runs (one earned) with four walks and three strikeouts.

Western Carolina started the scoring when Beck was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch. Todd Buchanan followed with an RBI single to center.

The lead was short lived as ETSU responded with a pair of runs in the second. After leadoff singles by Chad Boruff and Keithley, Jason Brotherton delivered a one-out, RBI double. Tim Turner would bring home Keithley on a ground out to second. The Bucs increased their lead to 3-1 in the fourth. Keithley started with a single and moved to second on an attempted pick-off at first. Two batters later, Turner hit a two-out single down the left field line to score Keithley.

The Catamounts tied the contest at 3-3, scoring two unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth. After a two-out walk to Matt Price, Ryan Schade hit a fly ball to center, which was dropped. Price scored and Schade ended up on third. Todd Roper followed with an RBI single to right.

ETSU regained the advantage in the seventh. Turner walked and advanced to third on a throwing error, the second of the day by WCU on an attempted pick-off at first. Cross singled home Turner and scored on a ground out by Copeland.

The Bucs’ Hyder, Baxter, Keithley, Brotherton and Turner each collected two hits, while Turner added two RBI and Keithley had three runs scored.

Western’s Seth Foster fell to 3-2 on the season, suffering his first loss in SoCon action. Offensively, the Cats were led by Roper (2-for-5) and Buchanan (2-for-4). Beck was 1-for-2 with two RBI, two runs scored, two walks and a hit by pitch.

Western Carolina and East Tennessee State will conclude the weekend series at Hennon Stadium with a single game on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., which is a change from the original schedule.

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