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  • Daniel Hooker

Catamounts Drop Both Ends of Sunday Doubleheader

Western Carolina dropped both ends of Sunday’s rescheduled doubleheader to the visiting Xavier Musketeers as the visitors from Cincinnati completed the three-game nonconference series sweep at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. Xavier claimed a 15-3 victory in game one in a run-ruled eight-inning affair before rallying to take the nightcap in a slugfest, 16-12.

Zach Ketterman (4-for-8) and James Hinson (3-for-6) paced WCU in the doubleheader with a .500 average over the two games, both delivering doubles and a home run as the Catamounts homered six times in Sunday’s twin bill. Ketterman reached base six times over the two games, adding a pair of walks. Nate Stocum homered twice in Sunday’s two games, finishing with a combined three RBI.

Western Carolina (2-6) returns to action in the midweek, visiting Gardner-Webb (4-4) on Wednesday afternoon in Boiling Springs, N.C., at 4 p.m., before returning home next weekend to host Eastern Kentucky March 3-5 at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.

Game One – Xavier 15, Western Carolina 3

Zach Ketterman and Nate Stocum both belted solo home runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to claw the Catamounts back to within two runs, 5-3, in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader. But it was as close as the home squad would get as Xavier lit the scoreboard for five runs in both the top of the seventh and eighth innings to build a double-digit lead to score the run-ruled, 15-3 victory.

In addition to Ketterman and Stocum homering, Jack Spyke picked up his first hit with a third-inning solo home run that made it 2-1 through three complete. Cole Jones collected a pair of doubles to lead WCU in a two-hit effort.

Starter Jonathan Todd (0-1) suffered the loss after surrendering five runs on nine hits over four and a third, striking out four against two walks. Cole Beverlin tossed an inning and two-thirds, the most among the five relievers to toe the rubber in the opener.

Brant Alazaus (1-1) scored the victory on the mound, striking out five over 5.2 innings with three runs allowed on five hits. Luke Hoskins and Creighton Hansen combined for three strikeouts in relief over the final two and a third.

Xavier first baseman Matt McCormick homered twice in a 3-for-4 outing with two RBI while catcher Matthew Deprey finished 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBI to lead the Musketeers.

Game Two – Xavier 16, Western Carolina 12

Western Carolina jumped out to a 6-0 lead through two innings with a pair of three-run frames to start the finale before grabbing a game-high 11-4 lead through four complete. However, Xavier found its swing late, outscoring WCU 12-1 over the final five innings including a six-run top of the ninth inning to erase a two-run deficit as the Musketeers completed the three-game sweep.

Pascanel Ferreras (3-for-3) and James Hinson (3-for-6) both collected a game-best three hits with Hinson finishing a triple shy of the cycle. Nate Stocum delivered a first-inning, two-run homer and Drew Needham blasted a solo shot for the Catamounts in grabbing the seven-run advantage.

Reliever Kyle Riesselmann (0-1) was saddled with the loss, pitching in relief after starting both games in center field. Gavin Mortenson struck out three against two walks in four and a third in the starting role.

Xavier reliever Justin Loer (1-1) earned the victory after the late offensive output by his teammates, striking out two against two walks of two-hit, scoreless relief over three and a third innings.

Jared Cushing led Xavier with four RBI including a three-run home run with Garrett Schultz, Andrew Walker, and Grant Stephenson each collecting three runs driven in apiece.

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