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  • Daniel Hooker

Homers, Strong Pitching Leads Catamounts to Series Win at Wofford



Western Carolina homered five times including three hit by Drew Needham and one apiece by Zach Ketterman and Mason Holton to bolster its offensive output while starter Davis Budd limited the Wofford Terriers as the Catamounts claimed their Southern Conference series, holding on for an 8-5 victory Sunday afternoon at Russell C. King Field.

 

WCU (23-17, 8-7 SoCon) pulled out to a 6-0 lead through six complete innings before the Terriers started to charge back, closing to within four, 6-2, after the seventh. The Catamounts got both runs back in the top of the eighth before Wofford capped scoring with a three-run eighth inning with both sides going in order in the ninth.

 

Starting as the designated hitter, Needham homered three times in a 3-for-3 effort with four RBI to lead three Catamounts with multi-hit games. The Liberty, N.C, product hit a pair of solo homers and a two-run blast in posting his career-best offensive performance. Mason Holton (2-for-4) hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to provide needed insurance as part of a two-hit game with Hayden Friese (2-for-4) doubling as part of his two-hit effort.

 

Ketterman (1-for-4) blasted his third home run of the weekend with a third-inning, two-run shot to right field, reaching a second time with a walk in Sunday’s finale.

 

On the mound, Budd silenced one of the nation’s top offensive units over 6.2 innings. He limited the Terriers to just one run on two hits by working around two walks and a pair of hit batters with five strikeouts. Moving from centerfield to the mound, Kyle Riesselmann struck out one while surrendering four runs on five hits before Jonathan Todd closed his second-straight game in tossing an inning and a third of one-hit, scoreless relief.

 

Brice Martinez (2-for-4) collected two of Wofford’s eight base hits with the remaining six spread between six different players. Martinez reached a third time with an HBP. Adam Haber (0-for-1) reached twice with a pair of walks, with Daniel Jackson tallying the lone extra-base hit for the home squad with his two-run home run in the eighth inning. Mason Toole (1-for-5) drove in two runs for the Terriers.

 

Needham broke the scoreless tie with a first-pitch home run with two out in the top of the second inning to hand the Catamounts a lead they would never relinquish. An inning later, Holton opened the frame with a single where Kyle Harbison sacrificed him into scoring position. With two outs, Ketterman belted a two-strike pitch over the fence in right for the 3-0 advantage.

 

In the fifth inning, Needham struck again with his second round-tripper of the game. Friese doubled to open the frame ahead before the two-run blast to centerfield handed the Catamounts a 5-0 lead through four complete. Two innings later, Needham hit his third home run of the day as the Catamounts took a six-run lead through six complete.

 

A two-out walk ultimately chased Budd from the hill with the Terriers cashing in the free pass with consecutive singles to bring home a pair of runs to cut WCU’s lead to four, 6-2, headed to the eighth. The Catamounts responded a half inning later as Friese singled ahead of Holton who hit a two-out homer to reclaim the six-run lead.

 

Wofford (28-13, 8-6 SoCon) used a two-run home run and a run-scoring single to plate three in the home half of the eighth inning, pulling the home squad back to within three. Both sides then went in order in the ninth inning as WCU claimed the finale and the road league series.

 

Wofford starter Alec Bouchard (0-3) took the loss, surrendering three runs on four hits over the opening three innings with six strikeouts. Reliever Mike Eggert gave up two runs on two hits with Kenny Michaels matching Bouchard with six Ks over 4.2 innings with three runs on four hits allowed.

 

Western Carolina returns home on Wednesday evening to host Big South preseason favorite USC Upstate (28-16) in the backend of a nonconference home-and-home at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. WCU suffered a 16-9 road loss in Spartanburg back on Feb. 21. Wednesday’s game will be broadcast locally over-the-air on The CW62 and simulcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live stats available online at CatamountSports.com.

 

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