Congratulations to the three newly minted Tech baseball alumni – current pitcher Micah Carpenter and former players Jacob Esch (2009-11) and Josh Heddinger (2012-14).
For their out of conference weekend, Tech hosted familiar foe Western Carolina (18-22), who are having an off year. Playing a low RPI team presents a danger to the Jackets, since even one home loss would hurt post season chances. The Catamounts came in with a surprisingly close 16-22 all time record versus Tech. Common opponents are Mercer, whom the Catamounts beat 2 games to 1 and Notre Dame, whom the Catamounts beat in a single game.
Amos Willingham (4-2, 4.89) faced junior righty Jack Snyder (1-2, 5.91) on Friday. It turned into a total rout that ended with a Catamount catcher on the mound and a Tech pitcher getting a single and RBI.
Willingham had a good first inning – except for giving up a long shot over the right field wall to the #2 hitter Matthew Koehler, so the Jackets trailed 1-0 at mid 1st. Not to worry, a walk to Waddell, bunt single by Guldberg, and back-to-back homers by English and Radcliff soon made it 4-1. It was English’s third consecutive homer (other than being hit by the pitch) in two games. In the bottom of the 2nd, Webb appeared to coax a balk by dancing off third base, but the umpires huddled and sent him back, where he stayed.
There was no scoring until the top of the 5th, when the Catamounts used a two out single followed by a double and Koehler’s second home run to tie the game at four quite suddenly. Waddell had made a great diving stop on the single, but just missed throwing the batter out at first.
Freshman righty Davis Tyndall relieved Snyder for the Tech 5th. He loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk, WCU bringing in senior righty Jake Moebius. Colin Hall and Austin Wilhite both picked up RBI sacrifices, with a grounder and fly ball, to make it 6-4. , Next, Luke Bartnicki came in to pitch for Tech in the 6th without any trouble.
Nick Wilhite led off the Tech 6th with his first home run of his college career. After Waddell and Guldberg walked, left handed freshman Eric Wallington came to the mound for the Catamounts. He got a tailor made double play ball from McCann, but then lobbed it at second base for an error. Next English drove in one with a sacrifice fly and Radcliff and Hall walked, pushing in the ninth run. WCU brought in freshman righty Mitch Rogers. After a wild pitch scored another run, Webb hit his first homer, a three run shot to right. Next, Nick Wilhite tripled with a deep fly ball that should have been caught, and later scored on Waddell’s sacrifice fly, making it 15-4. Not done yet, Guldberg singled and sophomore righty Ryan Mitschele came on and McCann homered off him.
With a 17-4 lead, Jake Brace came in to pitch the 7th for Tech and had a 1-2-3 inning. Chase Murray led off the 7th for Tech, batting for Radcliff, and homered to right. On a bloop single by Webb, the Catamount right fielder slipped on the grass and had to come out of the game –
OK I hope. Another walk and RBI single by pinch hitting Oscar Serratos made it 19-4. Jamie Taylor then tripled in three runs and Cameron Turley sacrificed him in to make it 23-4.
Walker Barlow came in to pitch for Tech in the 8th and had a 1-2-3 inning. Kitt Capel, a sophomore righty catcher, pitched to Tech in the 8th. Micah Carpenter, senior graduating pitcher, pinch hit and singled in Tech’s 24th run and Oscar Serratos singled in the 25th, but didn’t get an RBI due to an error on the left fielder. Robert Winborne came in to pitch the 9th and completed the game with a double play after a single.
The final score was 25-4, Willingham staying just long enough to get the win and Tyndall got the loss. WCU played terrible three error baseball and walked 12 Jackets. Tech took full advantage to improve to 31-14.