Western Carolina Edges The Citadel in Doubleheader Opener with Run in Bottom of Ninth
Cullowhee, N.C. – The Citadel suffered its third straight one-run loss when Western Carolina's Aaron Attaway doubled in Dykota Spiess in the bottom of the ninth to give the Catamounts a 5-4 win in the opening game of a SoCon doubleheader Saturday.
With one out in the ninth, Spiess doubled to the alley in right center off Bulldog closer Skylar Hunter. Attaway followed with a drive off the fence in left center to plate Spiess with the game-winning run. The Catamounts (16-12, 7-4 SoCon) clinched the series and will go for the sweep in the second game of a doubleheader.
The Bulldogs (15-12, 4-4) lost 5-4 on a walk-off homer in the ninth at Georgia Tech on Tuesday and dropped the opening game of their series at Western by a score of 7-6 last night. They will look to get back on the winning track when Austin Mason takes the mound for the nightcap.
The Citadel snapped a 3-3 tie in the seventh when Bo Thompson slammed a mammoth solo home run to left, his ninth round tripper of the season. It stayed a one-run Bulldog lead until Jacob Hoyle lined a two-out pinch hit single just in front of the diving Hughston Armstrong in center off David Rivera to drive in Tyler White with the tying run.
The Bulldogs had a chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth. Mason Davis walked and stole second with one out, his 13th theft of the season. One out later, Joe Jackson was intentionally walked to set up a righty-righty matchup between Thompson and Western closer Preston Hatcher.
Thompson hit a smash right at second baseman Bradley Strong, who threw to Attaway for the force on Jackson to end the threat. Hatcher, who gained the save in Friday's win, evened his record at 2-2 while Hunter fell to 1-3 with the loss.
The game looked like it would be a shootout with both teams scoring three runs in the first three innings, but the pitching took over until Thompson homered in the seventh.
The Citadel took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on RBI singles by Jackson and Tyler Griffin, but the Catamounts cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer by Austin Neary. A two-run homer by Spiess in the second, his first of the year, gave Western a 3-2 lead, but Jackson answered with a two-out opposite field homer to left center to bring the Bulldogs into a 3-3 tie.
Logan Cribb worked the first five innings for The Citadel and overcame the shaky start to blank Western over his final three frames. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out five. Zach Sherrill came in to start the seventh, his Division I-leading 22nd appearance of the season, and worked one perfect inning before Rivera allowed two hits and one run.