By Nathan Hutchinson
Special to the Register
With the game tied and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Western Carolina University scored four runs on its way to an 11-7 win over the EKU baseball team on Wednesday in Cullowhee, N.C.
In the eighth, a wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to come home. Bryant Noteboom followed with an RBI single. Austin Neary doubled down the left field line for another run. Julian Ridings finished it off with an RBI single to left center.
Shaun Ball finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs for EKU (4-9). Sean Hagen was 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs and an RBI. Kyle Nowlin and Austin Grisham also had two hits each.
Aaron Attaway had four hits in five at bats at the top of the order for the Catamounts (10-7). He also scored twice and drove in one. Neary finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Ridings went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.
The Colonels jumped out to a four-run lead in the first two and a half innings. An RBI single by Ball got the visitors on the board in the first inning. EKU pushed across five in the second. Grisham got it started when he scored on a throwing error on a pick-off attempt. Doug Teegarden drove in a runner with a single up the middle. Matt Phipps reached on a fielder’s choice and drove in a run. Ball capped it off with a two-run double to right center for a 6-2 lead.
Hagen’s solo home run in the third inning extended the Colonel lead to 7-3. The junior’s shot cleared a 20-foot high fence in straight-away center field.
Western Carolina drew within one in the bottom half of the third. Ridings cleared the bases of two runners with a triple to left center. Adam Martin followed with a single through the right side to make it 7-6. The Catamounts tied the game in the fourth on Neary’s RBI single through the right side.
After EKU scored in each of the first three innings and WCU scored in each of the first four, neither team scored again until the eighth.
Jonathan Waszak tossed five shutout innings of relief for Western Carolina. Hunter Brister (2-0) earned the win after pitching one and one third innings without allowing a hit.
Matt Lynch (0-1) suffered the loss. He left the game with runners on the corners and two outs after pitching 4 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits and struck out three.
The Colonels step back into Ohio Valley Conference action this weekend at Southeast Missouri State. EKU’s second league series of the season gets under way at 6 p.m. Friday.