FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Cullowhee, N.C. – Senior J.C. Lyons rapped a game-winning single to left field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning of a five-inning contest Thursday evening as the Gold Squad seized game one of the Western Carolina Catamount Baseball Fall World Series with a 3-2 extra inning victory.
Sophomore Matt Johns opened the second extra frame with a one-out double before advancing to third following a two-out intentional pass and a hit batsman. With the bases full, Lyons rifled a shot to left that dropped in for his lone base hit of the night allowing Johns to score the game winner for the Gold Squad, which wore the off-white, vintage uniforms.
The Purple Squad, donning the black uniforms with “Cats” across the chest, took a two-run lead through the first three innings. A lead-off triple by Lee Murray turned into the game’s first run as senior Mitchell Hatley delivered a RBI groundout to second base for the early, 1-0, advantage.
An inning later, junior third baseman Tyler Kirkpatrick blasted a leadoff home run into the fall night air as the Purple team threatened to run away with the opener.
However, the Purple side only managed three base hits the final 15 outs as the Gold squad mounted its rally. Purple twice loaded the bases in the game – once in the second and again in the fourth – but were only able to come away with one run.
Freshman Ross Heffley led off with a single to center and would score Gold’s first run after back-to-back singles from junior Reid Rollison and freshman Radley Haddad in the bottom of the fourth inning, trimming the deficit to one, 2-1.
Headed into the final regulation inning a run behind, the home-standing Gold team capitalized on a lead-off triple down the right field line by Johns. One batter later, Johns was able to race home on a sacrifice fly by junior Nick Liles, tying the contest and forcing extra innings.
Junior RHP Daniel Ottone picked up the win after coming on in relief, while senior Garrett Ozar was the tough-luck loser who also came on in relief of sophomore Brandon Johnson. Starter Mike Tavernier worked four innings for the Purple Squad, allowing just one hit through is first three frames with four strikeouts. Gold starter Corey Martin surrendered both runs while fanning three.
Johns led all hitters with a 2-for-3 showing with a double and triple and two runs scored for the Gold Squad, while Heffley was also 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Kirkpatrick finished 2-for-3 for the Purple Squad with a homer and a single, while Murray finished 2-for-4 with a single and a three-bagger.
Game two of the three-game set is scheduled for Friday evening at 4:15 pm at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium. The WCU Fall World Series will culminate with game three on Saturday at 11:15 am.