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  • Daniel Hooker

WCU Baseball Swept in Sunday's Doubleheader at No.13 Wake Forest

Western Carolina baseball dropped both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader at No. 13 Wake Forest as the homestanding Demon Deacons completed the three-game nonconference series sweep at Doug F. Couch Ballpark. Wake overcame an early deficit to take the first game 10-5 before blitzing the Catamounts in the first inning with seven runs in a 17-1 victory in seven innings in the series finale.


Senior Zach Ketterman (4-for-7) paced the Catamounts through Sunday’s two games with four hits including a double to extend his reached base safely streak to a team-best 19 straight games. Classmate Nate Stocum was the only other player with more than one hit between the two games with a 2-for-7 showing at the plate. Stocum extended his hitting streak to 19 straight games in Sunday’s opener but saw it snapped with an 0-for-2 effort in game two.


Mason Holton reached base three times in the doubleheader, drawing a pair of walks to accompany a solo home run in game two, his fourth big fly of the season. Hayden Friese likewise walked twice in the twin bill.


WCU was limited to six runs on 11 total hits on Sunday while turning two more double plays to give the squad 45 to date this spring.


Game One – #13 Wake Forest 10, Western Carolina 5

Jumping in front in the first inning, Western Carolina carried a one-run lead into the middle innings of Sunday’s doubleheader opener. However, 13th-ranked Wake Forest pushed across nine runs between the fifth and sixth innings to grab an eight-run lead and then held on for the 10-5 series-clinching victory in game one.


The Catamounts fought back with a three-run seventh including a two-run pinch-hit home run by Drew Needham but were unable to completely overcome the nine-run middle-inning rally by the Deacs.


Stocum extended his hitting streak with a two-out single up the middle in the top of the first and was scored by Turner on a second base knock of the frame as WCU took its only lead of the weekend early in game one. Two innings later, Ketterman reached on a two-out double before Stocum drove him home on a run-scoring single through the left side to stake the Catamounts to a 2-0 lead.


Wake answered in the home half of the third, loading the bases on a pair of walks and a single. WCU starter Dante Visconti then induced a double-play that allowed a run to score but limited the rally to the solo marker to lead 2-1 through three.


WCU’s lead held until the home half of the fifth inning when the Deacons found a four-spot including a two-run single by Seaver King and a two-run homer by Jake Reinisch. An inning later, Wake busted things open with a five-run frame including RBI singles by Marek Houston and Nick Kurtz before a two-run double by King who eventually capped the scoring by crossing the plate on a passed ball.


The Catamounts cut into the Deacs’ 10-2 lead in the seventh inning. Following a walk by Holton, Needham blasted a 2-2 pitch over the fence in right to slice the deficit to six, 10-4. Riesselmann and Ketterman both reached on a walk and single, respectively, before Riesselmann scampered home on an infield error that ultimately provided the final tally.


WCU stranded a pair of runners in the eighth inning and was retired in order in the ninth as Wake Forest clinched the series win, 10-5.


Visconti (3-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs on four hits, countering five walks with four strikeouts over 4.2 innings. Dusty Revis was touched for five runs – only three earned – on three hits with a strikeout over an inning before Griffin Guinther finished the final two innings of one-hit, scoreless relief.


Josh Hartle (5-2) earned the victory for Wake Forest, limiting WCU to two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts against a walk in his six-inning effort. Joshua Gunther was tagged for three runs on two hits with a pair of walks before relievers Crawford Wade and Will Ray tossed the final 2.2 innings, both with a strikeout out of the bullpen.


Game Two - #13 Wake Forest 17, Western Carolina 1 (7 inn.)

Wake Forest blitzed the Catamounts for six runs before the first out was recorded in the bottom of the first inning as the Demon Deacons cruised to the 17-1 win in seven innings in the series finale.


After the seven-run first, Wake Forest added solo markers in both the second and third before a two-run fourth. WCU’s lone run came on a fifth-inning home run hit by Mason Holton. The Deacs answered, though, by capping the scoring with a six-run fifth inning.


Wake Forest pounded out 17 runs on 17 base hits including 10 for extra bases with six doubles and four home runs. The home squad scored in five of the six innings in which it took swings.


The Catamounts were limited to four base hits scattered between four players. Starters Zach Ketterman (1-for-2) and Kyle Riesselmann (1-for-1) both reached on singles with pinch-hitter Landon Mowery (1-for-2) reaching on an infield bunt single to accompany Holton (1-for-2) in the hit column. Drew Needham drew the lone walk issued by Wake.


The 17 hits by the Demon Deacons were spread between 10 different players with six posting multi-hit games. Jack Winnay (3-for-5) led the way with two doubles and a home run, driving in three. Nick Kurtz (2-for-3) reached three times with a double, home run, and a walk. Jake Reinisch (1-for-2) capped a solid weekend with his third homer in as many games with pinch-hitter Austin Hawke also homering.


Freshman starter Davis Budd (2-2) was chased in the first inning, tagged for seven runs on five hits with three walks. Relievers Cole Beverlin and Jonathan Todd recorded the only two strikeouts for Catamount pitching in the loss. Clay Cox tossed the only scoreless inning, stranding the bases loaded after issuing a pair of walks and an HBP.


Wake Forest’s David Falco Jr. (2-2), making his first start of the season, was credited with the victory after striking out four against a walk and only three singles allowed over four innings of work. Three additional Demon Deacon pitchers combined to toss the final three with just the Holton homer allowed.


The loss in seven innings was just the second for WCU this season, falling to 3-2 in games that ended before reaching the regulation nine innings.


Western Carolina (23-22) opens its final five-game homestand on Tuesday evening, hosting regional-rival Gardner-Webb in a game that was rescheduled from March 26. The first pitch from Childress Field / Hennon Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m. with coverage on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) and live stats available online at


WCU remains at home next weekend, May 10-12, to host the Mercer Bears on Catamount baseball Alumni Weekend in Cullowhee. Friday’s series opener will be broadcast locally on TheCW 62 (Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville) and simulcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required)

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