CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina's Tyler Kirkpatrick roped a RBI single down the left-field line with runners at second and third to lift the Catamounts to a 10-9 victory in 13 innings over College of Charleston in game two of a Southern Conference doubleheader Saturday evening at Hennon Stadium. The Cougars fall to 19-7 on the season and 5-4 in the SoCon, while Western Carolina improves to 15-7-1, 3-5-1.
The Cougars jumped on the scoreboard early, putting two runs up in the first inning on a RBI double by sophomore DH Matt Leeds (Boca Raton, Fla./American Heritage) to left center. Western Carolina chipped away at the lead, scoring single runs in the first two innings. Ollie Goulder roped a RBI single down the right-field line in the opening frame and Tyler Kirkpatrick added a sacrifice fly in the second, knotting the game at 2-2 after two innings.
After Charleston plated a run in the top of the third on a throwing error by the Catamount third baseman, Western Carolina opened a 7-3 lead with five runs in the bottom of the stanza. Charleston starter sophomore David Peterson (Walnut Creek, Calif./Los Lomas) walked Goulder, the leadoff batter, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch. A groundout moved the runner to third and Matt Johns plated him with a RBI single up the middle. Johns then stole second and scored on a RBI triple to deep center by Tyler White. A RBI single to right by Kirkpatrick added another run and Trevor Collias followed with a run-scoring single up the middle. After junior reliever Casey Lucchese (Lexington, Ky./Paul Lawrence Dunbar) replaced Peterson, Cameron Dullnig lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Collias and give the Catamounts a four-run advantage.
The Cougars would not be denied however, coming back with four runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 7-7. Junior DH Rob Kral (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) led off the frame with a walk and came home on a RBI double to left by junior LF Jose Rodriguez (Hialeah, Fla./Broward College). Andrew Chilcoat came in to relieve Western Carolina starter Vance Chavis and struck out junior 3B Jesse Mesa (Miramar, Fla./Central Florida JC).
Charleston picked things up again with a single up the middle by senior 1B Greg Blake (Westerly, R.I./Lake City CC) and junior SS Jamie Holler (Rock Hill, S.C./USC Sumter JC) doubled down the left-field line, scoring Rodriguez and moving Blake to third. Kyle Stewart entered the game for the Catamounts and struck out junior RF Baker Knox (San Mateo, Fla./Daytona Beach CC) before giving up a two-run single to left by junior CF Cole Rakar (Mt. Pleasant, S.C./Wando).
Western Carolina surged ahead in the bottom of the eighth, scoring two runs with Goulder coming in on a wild pitch by senior Owen Brittle (Cross, S.C./Florence Darlington Tech) and a home run to center by Johns. The Cougars responded in the ninth tying the game once again as senior 2B Joey Bergman (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) led off with a single up the middle and Leeds quieted the crowd with a two-run round-tripper to right.
Charleston junior RHP Josh Salay (Rock Hill, S.C./Spartanburg Methodist College) took the hard-luck loss, allowing one run and two hits in two innings with three strikeouts. Rakar went 4-for-7 with two RBI and Leeds finished with four RBI for the Cougars. Daniel Ottone picked up the win for Western Carolina, tossing two innings of perfect relief.
Charleston returns to action Tuesday afternoon, March 30, with a non-conference game against local foe Charleston Southern University at Patriots Point. Game time is set for 5:00 p.m.