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  • Daniel Hooker

Catamounts Drop Sunday’s Series Finale at Florida State



Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida State completed the three-game nonconference series sweep over Western Carolina baseball on Sunday afternoon with a 20-7 victory on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. Only nine of FSU’s season-best 20 runs wereearned on Sunday as the Catamounts were charged with a season-high five errors.

 

Transfers Trent Turner and Tafton Hensley collected two hits apiece, both with a double as WCU’s seven hits were scattered between five players. The duo reached base three times as both added a walk as a part of WCU’s 10 free passes on the day.

 

Both players who patrolled right field for the Catamounts – Hayden Friese and Cole Jones – legged out doubles to complete the account for WCU’s four extra-base hits. Friese plated two with an RBI walk and run-scoring single, while Jones bounced a pinch-hit, two-run double down the first base line late in the going.

 

Also for the Catamounts, Nate Stocum reached twice on a pair of walks and James Hinson plated a pair of runs on two sacrifice flies.


Florida State (6-0) also benefited from 10 walks while pounding out 16 hits including six for extra bases including a pair of James Tibbs III home runs in the winning effort. Four Seminoles tallied multi-hit games with Tibbs finishing 3-for-6 including a grand slam as part of a six RBI effort. Drew Faurot continued his torrid start to the season, driving in four in a 3-for-4 performance with a double and a pair of sacrifice hits.

 

Rounding out FSU’s multi-hit outings were Max Williams (2-for-4) and Daniel Cantu (2-for-3), the latter recording a double and drawing a pair of walks. Jaime Ferrer legged out a triple for his lone hit in a 1-for-4 showing.

 

Capitalizing on five first-inning walks, Western Carolina (3-4) took the early lead on Sunday without the benefit of a base hit. James Hinson scored Zach Ketterman on a sacrifice fly to center for the first marker before Hayden Friese drew a run-scoring walk to make it 2-0.

 

WCU’s lead was short-lived, though, as the Seminoles likewise took advantage of free passes and two wild pitches, adding a pair of singles to push three runs across to take a lead they would never relinquish. The home squad tacked on a solo run in the second inning before hanging a six-spot on the scoreboard in the third that was capped by the Tibbs grand slam.

 

Down 11-2, the Catamounts managed to cut into the deficit with a three-spot. Turner opened with an infield single before a walk and a wild pitch moved two into scoring position. Spyke then laced a single to center field to bring in the first run. Hinson lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Stocum who had reached on a walk before Friese drove a two-out double to left to cut the margin to 11-5.

 

However, the Seminoles again found scores in the late middle innings, tallying a marker in the sixth, two in the seventh, and then answered the Cole Jones two-run pinch-hit double in the top of the eighth with a six-run home half to provide the final tally.

 

Neither starting pitcher made it through the opening frame on Sunday as both Cannon Pickell (0-1) of WCU and Florida State’s Yoel Tejeda Jr. were unable to record an out. Pickell was saddled with the loss after issuing two hits and three walks with four runs allowed. Tejeda Jr. walked three as a part of five free passes in the opening frame with reliever Noah Short (1-0) credited with the victory as the first out of the bullpen.

 

Pickell was the first of nine Catamount pitchers to toe the rubber on Sunday. Dylan Wheeler was among the most effective, tossing a team-long 2.2 innings and allowing six runs – only two of which were earned – on three hits with a pair of walks. Relievers Jackson Reid, Jonathan Todd, and Clay Cox each posted one strikeout while Shane Huntsberger fanned two in his inning of work.

 

Short worked around two walks with a pair of strikeouts for the ‘Noles, with freshman Matt Sauser among the most effective relievers as he surrendered three runs on three hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Andrew Armstrong and Brady Louck combined for three scoreless frames, Louck striking out four, with both John Abraham (2) and Connor Hults (3) tallying multiple strikeouts.

 

Western Carolina returns home to open a five-game homestand on Tuesday, Feb. 27, hosting mountain-rival UNC Asheville at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. The homestand continues on the weekend as Georgia State is slated to be in Cullowhee for four games including a Saturday doubleheader.

 

For tickets to WCU’s home games, visit CatamountSports.com/BuyTickets.

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