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  • Daniel Hooker

Big Innings, Fast Start Push Catamounts Past Mountaineers



Western Carolina used an offensive explosion through the opening four frames on Tuesday evening to race out to a 10-run lead as the Catamounts downed rival Appalachian State 10-5 in midweek nonconference action at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.

 

The Catamounts manufactured six runs in the home half of the first inning before tacking on four more in the fourth inning, carrying a 10-0 lead into the sixth inning. The Mountaineers managed five combined runs over the final four innings but could not overcome WCU’s strong start. With the win. WCU halted a six-game slide in the head-to-head series with its long-time rival while claiming its second straight home victory.

Zach Ketterman (3-for-3), who was named Southern Conference Player of the Week on Monday, reached base four times on a game-high three base hits with a walk as eight of the nine WCU hitters collected hits in the winning effort. Ketterman paced three Catamounts with multiple hits as Jack Spyke (2-for-4) drove in three with a pair of singles and Nate Stocum (2-for-5) singled twice with a run driven in.

 

Kyle Harbison (1-for-4) and Kyle Riesselmann (1-for-5) both doubled with Harbison driving in two on his two-base hit in the six-run opening frame. James Hinson (1-for-2) reached base three times, singling while drawing a pair of walks, with Hayden Friese (1-for-4) reaching twice with a single and Trent Turner (1-for-4) driving in one with a single and a sacrifice fly.

 

Combined, the bottom four in the Catamount lineup accounted for seven of WCU’s 10 RBI.

 

Austin St. Laurent (3-for-4) led App State with a trio of hits, finishing a triple shy of the cycle that included hitting a three-run home run. Tolley Banks (2-for-5) singled twice to cap the multi-hit games for the Mountaineers.

 

Riesselmann opened the home half of the first inning by reaching on a two-base error to start the six-run rally. Consecutive singles by Turner and Stocum drove in the first run which was followed by three straight run-scoring singles by Friese, Spyke, and Ketterman for the 4-0 lead. Harbison capped the output with a hard-hit, two-run double to left-center field as WCU sent 10 batters to the plate to lead 6-0 after one.

 

In the fourth, Riesselmann again sparked a rally with a lead-off double before using a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Turner to extend the lead. The Catamounts loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Stocum and Hinson followed by a walk to Friese. Spyke then came through with a two-run single through the left side of the infield. Mason Holton plated what proved to be the home squad’s final run with an infield fielder’s choice as the Catamounts led 10-0 through four.

 

App State got on the board in the sixth inning as St. Laurent doubled before scoring on an RBI single by Banks Tolley. WCU thwarted any additional damage in the frame as Holton turned a double-play on a force-play at third and a putout at first base.

 

The Mountaineers cut the deficit to six in the top of the seventh inning as St.Laurent hit his 10th home run of the season with a three-run shot that made it 10-4 through seven. App State stranded a runner in the eighth before putting two on in the ninth with one scoring on an infield groundout before the Catamounts closed the game with an infield groundout.

Senior Gavin Mortenson tossed one inning in a predetermined short start, working around a two-out single in a scoreless frame. Davis Budd (1-1) earned the victory after pitching four innings, working around three hits and a pair of walks with three strikeouts in scoreless relief. Dusty Revis and Ryan White both posted an inning of work with Cole Beverlin tossing the final two innings out of the bullpen.

 

Trey Tujetsch (2-2) took the loss for the Mountaineers, saddled with six runs – three earned – on six hits in just 0.2 innings of work with a strikeout. Four relievers posted one strikeout apiece with Cody Little pitching a long 1.2 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief.

 

Western Carolina (19-14, 5-4 SoCon) concludes its current seven-game homestand this weekend as the Catamounts hosts Southern Conference leader Samford (24-12, 8-1 SoCon) for a three-game series at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. The Bulldogs have dropped two straight, suffering their first league loss last Sunday at home against ETSU in Birmingham.

 

Games on Friday and Sunday will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with Saturday’s game slated for an audio broadcast through the Catamount Sports Network. Live stats and links to both the audio and video coverage of the series are available online at CatamountSports.com.

 

Tickets to WCU’s home games can be purchased online at CatamountSports.com/BuyTickets.

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