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  • Daniel Hooker

Ketterman’s Walk-Off Single Lifts WCU Over UNCG in 10 Innings

Senior infielder Zach Ketterman collected his second RBI of the day on a walk-off, run-scoring single through the right side as Western Carolina claimed its Southern Conference series finale over in-state foe UNCG Greensboro 7-6 in 10 innings on Sunday afternoon at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.


The Catamounts used a trio of singles and a crucial sacrifice bunt in the home half of the 10th inning to score the win. Pinch hitter Jack Spyke and defensive substitution Tafton Hensley – both making their first trips to the plate in the extra frame – delivered singles with Hayden Friese pushing a sacrifice bunt off the right side of the infield that put runners at the corners with one out.


Ketterman then laced a grounder through the gap between first and second base to score Spyke from third with the winning run. The victory halted a four-game slide at home for the Catamounts after dropping the final two of the ETSU series back on March 22-24.


The bottom third of the Catamount offensive lineup again came through for the home squad, collecting six of the team’s 13 base hits and driving in a combined six of the seven runs. WCU had five hitters record two-hit games with both Ketterman (2-for-4) and Kyle Harbison (2-for-4) singling and belting home runs. Ketterman hit his third homer of the series – and sixth of the season – on a line-drive solo shot while Harbison belted his first round-tripper of the season.


Coming off his best performance in a Catamount uniform with four hits on Saturday, Mason Holton continued his torrid streak with a 2-for-4 effort with a two-run double and a single in the winning effort. Kyle Riesselmann – who also collected the win in relief on the mound – recorded a pair of hits with a double and a single in a two-hit effort with Nate Stocum hitting his 14th homer of the season to accompany a single two complete WCU’s two-hit games.


GC Jarman doubled twice including a run-scoring two-base hit that tied the game in the eighth inning in pacing UNCG in a 3-for-5 performance. Jeremy Wolf (2-for-5) doubled with an RBI and Zachary Walsh (2-for-5) singled twice with a pair of strikeouts for the Spartans. Catcher Mitchell Smith hit an early home run for his lone knock in the finale.


For the first time in the weekend series, Western Carolina entered the home half of the first even after working around a pair of hit batters to strand two and keep the Spartans off the board in the opening frame. Stocum then handed the Catamounts their first lead of the series with a two-out, solo home run down the right-field line for the 1-0 lead.


UNCG responded, though, with a solo homer of its own to lead off the second as Smith circled the base paths in knotting the game at one.


After the Smith solo blast, Catamount starting pitcher Dante Visconti retired the next nine in a row, allowing the Purple & Gold to crank the offense back up. WCU put its first two aboard in the bottom of the fourth inning before Holton laced a two-out double into left allowing both runners to score from first and second base for the 3-1 lead.


In the fifth, four of the first five Spartan batters reached base including two on a pair of singles that barely left the home-plate halo. UNCG managed the four-run inning to take a 5-3 lead through five complete.


After the first two were retired to start the sixth inning, Ketterman extended his hitting streak to seven straight with a line-drive home run that clawed the Catamounts back to within a run. Holton then singled ahead of Harbison who blasted a go-ahead two-run homer as WCU took a 6-5 lead into the final third of the game.


UNCG used back-to-back one-out doubles by Caleb Cozart and GC Jarman to push the game-tying run across.


Both teams threatened to end Sunday’s game in regulation in the ninth inning. UNCG put runners at the corners with an HBP and a single coming with one out, but reliever Jonathan Todd was able to work out of the jam with a fly-out and pop-up in foul ground. Batting second in the inning, Riesselmann doubled down the third-base line but was stranded at second base to force extra innings.


The Spartans again put two runners aboard in the top of the 10th on singles by Jarman and Walsh, but Riesselmann, who vacated centerfield to relieve Todd on the mound, ended the inning with his first strikeout. Then three of the four batters WCU sent to the dish in the bottom of the 10th with a trio of singles between Spyke, Hensley, and Ketterman coupled with the Friese sac bunt resulting in the winner.


Making his second start of the week after tossing four innings at Presbyterian in the winning effort on Tuesday, Dante Visconti gave the Catamounts a solid 4.1 innings after being pressed into the starting role. He was tagged for five runs – four earned – on five hits with five strikeouts before being relieved. Carson Lowder posted a third of an inning before Jonathan Todd pitched a season-long 4.1 innings out of the bullpen. Todd scattered three hits in holding UNCG to one run, matching Visconti with five Ks. Riesselmann (1-1) worked around two hits in an inning of scoreless relief with a strikeout.


WCU’s pitching staff limited UNCG to a .268 average on Sunday after the Spartans hit over .400 collectively in the first two games of the series. More impressively, the Catamount hurlers tallied 11 strikeouts with just three freebies coming on a trio of hit batters.


UNCG starter Rob Ready struck out two against a pair of walks over 5.2 innings, scattering nine hits and six runs in the quality start. Brandon Hudson tossed three relief innings of one-hit, scoreless relief with a pair of strikeouts. Nick Chapman (2-2) took the loss, allowing the game-winning run on three singles in two-thirds of a frame.


Western Carolina (19-14, 5-4 SoCon) continues its current seven-game homestand on Tuesday as the Catamounts host rival Appalachian State with a 5 p.m. first pitch at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live stats available online at The home stand continues on the weekend as league-leading Samford (24-11, 8-1 SoCon) comes to Cullowhee for a three-game conference series.


Tickets to WCU’s home games can be purchased online at

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