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  • Daniel Hooker

Bottom Three Lead Catamounts to Road Win at PC



Sparked by the bottom third of its lineup, Western Carolina used a pair of four-run innings to upend the Presbyterian Blue Hose 9-5 on Tuesday evening in midweek nonconference action at the PC Baseball Complex.

 

Zach Ketterman finished 3-for-4 with three RBI in the seven-spot with Mason Holton driving in a pair on a 2-for-5 effort ahead of nine-hole hitter Kyle Harbison who matched Ketterman with three RBI to lead the Catamount offense. The trio in the bottom third recorded six of WCU’s 10 base hits with the remaining four scattered between four hitters.

 

Ketterman collected one of WCU’s three doubles in the winning effort with Nate Stocum (1-for-5) and pinch-hitter Drew Needham (1-for-1) both legging out two-baggers. Trent Turner reached three times with a trio of walks for the Catamounts.

 

Jake Randolph (2-for-4) homered as part of two, two-hit efforts to lead the Blue Hose with reigning Big South Player of the Week Joel Dragoo also collecting a pair of hits with one coming on a double. Randolph finished with two RBI.

 

Randolph’s solo home run in the bottom of the second inning gave the home squad its lone lead of the night on Tuesday. Two innings later, Ketterman stayed red-hot at the plate, collecting his fourth double over the past four games to drive in a pair to hand WCU the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Holton added a run-scoring single ahead of a Harbison sacrifice bunt that capped the four-run fourth.

 

In the fifth, Tafton Hensley drove a bases-loaded single into right field to open WCU’s second four-run frame. Ketterman tallied his third RBI with a single to right before Harbison plated two with another single into right as WCU pulled out to an 8-1 lead.

 

Presbyterian (16-17) pushed across two runs after the stretch as Randolph knocked in his second run before Eli Lazio lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 8-3. However, Jack Spyke started a 3-6-3 double-play that helped thwart the Blue Hose rally.

 

The Catamounts tacked on an insurance marker in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Holton to retake the six-run lead at 9-3 with just six outs remaining.

 

In the bottom of the eighth, Presbyterian threatened with two outs by putting runners at the corner before the WCU got the inning-ending fly ball. Then in the home half of the ninth, four consecutive walks loaded the bases and plated a run to cut into the Catamount lead. A wild pitch on a strikeout allowed a second marker to cross before Jonathan Todd posted the third strikeout of his two-thirds-inning appearance to secure the road victory.

 

Scheduled for a short start in the midweek, senior Dante Visconti (2-0) was awarded the win after fanning five over four innings of work, limiting Presbyterian to one run on just three hits. Kyle Riesselmann hit the mound from his centerfield start to strikeout two over two innings as one of eight relievers used to finish the road victory. Gavin Mortenson and Spenser Hamblen both struck out one with Todd punching out three over two-thirds of an inning with one victim reaching on a wild pitch as the Reidsville, N.C., product scored his sixth save of the year.

 

Presbyterian starter Christian Charalambous worked two scoreless innings with just three runners allowed on a hit, a walk, and a hit batter. Jeffrey Hays (0-4), the first of eight relievers used by the Blue Hose, was tagged for the loss after allowing four runs on three hits with a team-best three strikeouts.

 

Western Carolina (18-12, 4-2 SoCon) opens a seven-game homestand this weekend as it hosts in-state Southern Conference foe UNCG (17-14, 5-4 SoCon) for a three-game set at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. The series opens at 5 p.m. on Friday before a special 3 p.m. first pitch on Saturday following the Catamount football spring game on campus. Sunday’s series finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.

 

Each game of the weekend series is slated for broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live stats available online at CatamountSports.com. Tickets for WCU’s home baseball games are available at CatamountSports.com/BuyTickets.

 

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