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  • Daniel Hooker

Catamounts Battle No. 14 North Carolina in Shortened Affair

Pascanel Ferreras homered in the top of the first inning to give Western Carolina its first of two leads against No. 14 North Carolina on Tuesday evening, but the Tar Heels rallied past the Catamounts, 8-4, in five innings after the game was delayed then ultimately halted due to power issues with the stadium lights at the on-campus Boshamer Stadium.

Western Carolina pulled out to the early 2-0 lead in the top of the first only to see the Tar Heels match in the home half of the frame. Kyle Riesselmann drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in the top of the second to hand the visitors their second advantage of the day which stood until the bottom of the third inning.

UNC (10-3) tied the game on an Alberto Osuna homer to left field before a wild pitch and two-run homer by Colby Wilkerson pushed the ranked Heels ahead for good, 6-3. Zack Ketterman hit a solo homer in the top of the fifth to bring the Catamounts back to within to, 6-4, but a pair of markers by the home squad in the bottom of the frame provided the eventual final tally.

Ferreras reached base three times in the loss, finishing 2-for-2 with the two-run homer while adding a single and a walk. Ketterman was 1-for-3 with his homer in the fifth inning while Nate Stocum collected WCU’s fourth hit of the game with a single. The Catamounts drew four walks with Ferreras, Brandon Butterworth, James Hinson, and Drew Needham each drawing free passes.

Reliever Corey Bright (0-1) was saddled with the loss, surrendering four runs – three of which were earned – on three hits with a walk and a strikeout. Coby Ingle struck out one in an inning and a third in the starting role with Carson Lowder inducing a double-play ball to strand the bases loaded in the second inning. Cole Beverlin tossed an inning of hitless, scoreless relief with Nick Hyde striking out two in an inning of two-run, two-hit work.

UNC starter Kyle Percival (2-0) was awarded the victory as the one of three UNC pitchers. The freshman left-hander struck out three against three walks over four and a third, allowing four runs – only two of which were earned. Cameron Padgett and Nelson Berkwich both recorded a third of an inning to get the Heels through the necessary five frames.

Wilkerson pace the Tar Heels with a 2-for-3 outing including the two-run homer, while the remaining six hits were scattered between six players. Osuna and Vance Honeycutt both homered to account for three runs with Eric Grintz plating two on a bases-loaded double in the first inning.

Western Carolina (5-8) returns to action this weekend at the First Pitch Invitational, hosted by Michigan State at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C., site of the 2023 Southern Conference Baseball Championship. WCU plays a doubleheader on Friday, facing the host Spartans at 2 p.m. and the Kansas Jayhawks at 6 p.m. in the nightcap. Tournament play concludes Saturday with a 6 p.m. rematch with Michigan State.

Each game this weekend is scheduled to be broadcast on YouTube with live stats provided by Michigan State through links available online at

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