Catamounts Sweep Broncs

Courtesy: Rider Sports Information
Release: March 15, 2014
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Justin Thomas 2 home runs
Courtesy: Peter G. Borg (Rider University)

College Baseball

Western Carolina 23, Rider University 8

Western Carolina 11, Rider University 3

CULLOWHEE, NC— One hundred and fifty years ago many people living below the Mason-Dixon Line claimed that the ‘South Would Rise Again.”

On Saturday, it did.

Western Carolina, the 2013 Southern Conference regular season champion, hosted Rider, the 2013 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season champion.

The doubleheader resembled the first and second Battles of Fort Sumter.

The Broncs lost a doubleheader at Western Carolina Saturday, as the Catamounts swept the three-game series. “It was hard to watch at times,” said Rider head coach Barry Davis, “especially when you give up 21 runs in two innings. The scores were not indicative of the games.”

For Rider (3-12) junior Justin Thomas (Richboro, PA/Council Rock South) had three hits, including a pair of home runs, and five RBI in the double header. “Thomas swung the bat well,” Davis said. “He’s had some good at bats lately.”

In the second game Western Carolina (11-7) scored seven runs in the seventh inning to take an 11-2 lead.

Rider senior Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) homered to cut the lead to 4-2 in the sixth. “We had glimpses of offensive production,” Davis said.

Rider (3-12) cut the lead to 3-1 in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Thomas.

Back to back home runs gave WCU a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Senior Kyle Kennett (Spring Lake, NJ/St. Rose) pitched six and a third innings, allowing four runs, striking out two. “Our bullpen today was not good,” Davis said. “When Kennett left the game it was 4-2. He gave us a chance. We just can’t give up that many runs out of the bullpen.”

Sophomore Connor Luff (Milford, DE/Milford) and sophomore James Locklear (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert) each had two of Rider’s 11 hits. “They put the ball in play,” Davis said.

In game one the Catamounts scored 14 runs in the eighth inning to put the game away.

Thomas hit his second home run of the game and third of the season in the ninth inning for the final score.

Rider scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning on a hit and an error and scored two runs in the eighth on a hit and two errors to cut the WCU lead to 9-5.

The Catamounts scored six runs in the sixth inning on five hits to take a 9-1 lead.

The Broncs cut the lead to 3-1 in the fourth inning when Thomas hit his first home run of the game.

WCU took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a triple and a sacrifice fly, and went up 3-0 in the third on a two-run home run.

Rider junior Zach Mawson (Magnolia, DE/Caesar Rodney) started and pitched five innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out six. “Both of our starting pitchers threw well today,” Davis said. “Mawson probably could have gone another inning. Both starters could have gone more but we had fresh arms in the bullpen. But the bullpen did not perform.”

The Catamounts won 39 games last season, finishing first in the Southern Conference, and began 2014 by defeating second ranked Mississippi State and #15 Clemson.

The Broncs now travel to Boiling Springs, NC to take on Gardner-Webb of the Big South Conference. “They’re a scrappy team,” Davis said. “We just need to keep plugging away. It’s a long year.”

The Reconstruction begins Tuesday.


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