May 27, 2010

click here for complete list of scores

CBI Live: SoCon Game 5: #7 ASU 6, #3 GSU 2

CBI Live: SoCon Game 6: #5 Samford 13, #8 Furman 10

CBI Live: SoCon Game 7: #1 The Citadel 6, #4 Elon 3 (10)


CBI Live
Perseverant Catamounts Prevail in 12 over Cougars

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder


CHARLESTON, S.C. – They battled through a week’s worth of adversity in one game.


Sixth-seeded Western Carolina battled back from a 6-0 deficit to outlast second-seeded College of Charleston 7-6 in 12 innings Thursday in the final game of Day 2 in the Southern Conference Tournament at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.


The Catamounts (36-19-1) will need one win on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s championship game. The Cougars (42-16) will face seventh-seeded Appalachian State on Friday at 3 p.m. The winner will have to beat WCU twice on Saturday to reach Sunday’s title contest.


Ross Heffley led off the bottom of the 12th with a base hit for the Catamounts and moved to third on a double into the leftfield corner by Tyler Kirkpatrick. Trevor Collias was intentionally walked to load the bases. After a flyout not deep enough to score Heffley, Cameron Dullnig hit a sharp grounder to first. The throw home was wild, allowing Heffley to end the 4:25 marathon at 2 p.m. ET.


“We talk about adversity all the time,” said WCU head coach Bobby Moranda, who earned his 100th career victory. “Adversity is preparation for greatness. This game was the definition of adversity. For us to persevere, down six, and the bad breaks that we didn’t execute in extra innings with men in scoring position. For us to overcome that shows me a lot about our character.”


The Cougars put up a three-spot in both the fourth and fifth. Jamie Holler had a RBI base hit and Cole Rakar added a two-run single with two outs in the fourth. Charleston got its three in the fifth without benefit of a hit to push the lead to 6-0.


The Catamounts got a two-run homer by Matt Johns, his 11th, in the sixth. Collias doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dullnig in the seventh to make it 6-3.


Johns had a two-out triple in the eighth and scored on a base hit by Heffley as the Catamounts narrowed the margin to two at 6-4.


WCU eventually tied it in the ninth. Collias and Ollie Goulder were hit by pitches to start the frame. Dullnig had a base hit to right to load the bases before Tyler White’s two-run single tied the game at 6. A strikeout and a double play forced extra innings.


WCU missed a golden opportunity to score in the bottom of the 10th. Johns was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, stole second and moved to third when the catcher’s throw went into centerfield. Ross Heffley and Tyler Kirkpatrick were intentionally walked. The Cougars defensively employed five infielders and two outfielders. Collias hit a fly ball to left, which centerfielder Rakar caught. His throw home was perfect, nailing Johns at the plate for a double play. Ollie Goulder flew out to right to end the threat.


The Catamounts had runners on again in the 11th, but could not plate the game-winner.


“Baseball’s just an amazing game because there’s no clock,” Moranda said. “With no clock, if you’ve got heart and you keep fighting, you have a chance. And that’s why this is the greatest game God ever created.”


Johns finished with two hits, two runs and two RBI. Heffley had three hits, one run and one RBI.


Rob Kral had three hits for the Cougars, while Rakar added two hits and two RBI.


Brandon Johnson (8-1) got the win, allowing three hits and one walk in four scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Jason Sullivan worked 3.1 shutout innings of relief with three hits, three walks and six strikeouts.


“Sullivan stepped up,” Moranda said. “Getting him back after eight weeks out is a huge boost to our team. And Brandon Johnson was absolutely amazing for us in extra innings.”


How big is the day off for the Catamounts?


“That’s huge,” Moranda said. “I want to take the guys over and show them the ocean tomorrow. The mountain boys are going to see the ocean for a day.”


(photos courtesy of Southern Conference Media Relations Office)