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  • Daniel Hooker

Multi-Run Innings Lead Akron Past WCU in Prasco Series Finale

Over the opening two games of the weekend neutral field nonconference series at Prasco Park, Western Carolina scored early and often to grab leads it maintained in holding Akron at arm’s length in taking the series. In a reversal of fortunes on Sunday afternoon, it was the Zips who climbed in front using a big inning then managed the scoreboard to salvage a game three victory over the Catamounts, 15-8.


The loss halted WCU’s six-game seasonal win streak and was its first defeat away from Cullowhee since a 5-2 neutral field loss to VCU at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., back on March 7.


Akron (6-24) scored 11 runs over the opening four frames including a six-run fourth to grab an 11-2 lead heading into the home portion. The Catamounts kept the pressure on with a trio of two-run innings between the fourth and sixth, but Akron matched with two, two-run frames of its own in the sixth and eighth to squash WCU’s thoughts of scoring the come-from-behind, series-sweeping win.


Zach Ketterman led four Catamounts with multi-hit games, finishing 3-for-3 with two triples and a double in plating three runs and scoring twice. The Biglerville, Pa., product reached base a fourth time on an HBP. Nate Stocum (2-for-4), Mason Holton (2-for-5), and Kyle Harbison (2-for-4) each doubled in two-hit efforts with Holton matching Ketterman with three RBI while Stocum drove in a pair.


Trent Turner reached twice with a single and a walk while Kyle Riesselmann was plunked twice, scoring once. Hayden Friese finished 1-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt.


Akron had five players record multiple hits with three collecting three hits apiece. Charlie Schebler doubled in a 3-for-5 outing with three RBI, while Max Bowman tripled in likewise finishing 3-for-5 with three runs driven in. Jack Poist (3-for-4) scored four times with a pair of RBI in Akron’s best offensive game of the weekend. Michael Sprockett homered for the second-straight day, finishing 2-for-5 with four RBI.


Holton delivered a game-tying, two-run double in the home half of the second inning to knot Sunday’s series finale at two through two. However, Sprockett’s three-run homer in the top of the third handed the Zips a lead they would never relinquish. The designated visiting team then pushed across six runs in the top of the fourth inning, capitalizing on two walks and a pair of HBPs before rapping out four hits to grab a commanding 11-2 lead.


The Catamounts battled back, though, with three consecutive two-run innings to keep the pressure on. Ketterman tripled home one of the two runs in the fourth and both of the fifth-inning markers that ultimately clawed the Catamounts back to within five, 11-6.


However, Akron tacked on two runs in the top of the sixth and a pair in the top of the eighth to thwart WCU’s attempted rally in scoring the 15-8 victory.


WCU starter Cole Beverlin (0-1) was saddled with the loss, surrendering five runs on six hits with a pair of strikeouts over the first three innings. The Catamount bullpen went nine deep in the series finale and surrendered the final 10 runs on nine hits with six hit batters and a combined five walks. Ryan White, Dylan Wheeler, Carson Lowder, Paddy McGonigal, and Spenser Hamblen each recorded a strikeout in relief.


Dawson Tourney (1-5) earned his first victory of the season, allowing six runs – four earned – while scattering seven hits over a five-inning start with two strikeouts against a walk and two hit batters. The Zips’ bullpen between Jack Kelley and Josiah Ross combined for the final four frames, limiting WCU to two runs on six combined hits.


Western Carolina (17-12) is scheduled to close its eight-game stretch away from home on Tuesday (April 9) by visiting Big South foe Presbyterian (16-16) in Clinton, S.C. The Blue Hose have won three straight, scoring the program’s first-ever sweep of Radford at home over the weekend. PC is amidst a seven-game homestand where it is 10-7 this season. Following Tuesday’s step out of league play, the Catamounts open a seven-game homestand of their own beginning this weekend by hosting instate league foe UNCG in Cullowhee on the weekend.

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