Furman sweeps Catamounts, UNC Asheville avoids sweep at High Point

Furman sweeps WCU in Cullowhee (WLOS Staff).jpg

Cullowhee, N.C. – Furman’s Matthew Quarles tossed a four-hit complete game as the Paladins finished off the three-game Southern Conference series sweep of Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon, winning 5-2 at Childress Field / Hennon Stadium.

Quarles limited the potent Catamount lineup to just four hits with just one going for extra bases. The Paladin right-hander halted WCU’s streak of five-consecutive games of finishing with double-digit hits. Beginning with Luke Robinson’s RBI ground out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Quarles retired the final 15 batters consecutively. Quarles scattered four hits over nine innings in picking up his fourth victory of the season, striking out eight without issuing a walk.

Furman (14-20, 4-8 SoCon) claimed its first conference series in Cullowhee since 2008. The Paladins have won 11 of the last 13 series meetings against the Catamounts. WCU suffered its first three-game SoCon series sweep since 2012.

Redshirt senior Bryson Bowman led the Catamounts on Saturday, finishing 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. The Baton, N.C., native extended his reached base safely streak to 34 games – each game played by WCU this spring – while also stretching his active hitting streak to 19-straight.

Senior Matt Smith reached for the 16th-straight game with a 1-for-4 showing with a fourth inning single down the third base line. He also recorded an outfield assist in gunning down a runner at home plate in the top of the eighth inning to keep the game within reach. Redshirt freshman Justin Sparks collected WCU’s fourth hit of the day, singling to center field before eventually scoring in the fifth inning to make it 4-2 through five complete. Sparks matched Smith’s current three-game hitting streak.

Three Catamounts – Nobu Suzuki, Brett Pope, and Caleb Robinson – each had their lengthy hitting streaks snapped, each finishing 0-for-4. Suzuki had reached in 17-straight games with a 12-game hit streak, while Pope and Robinson had eight-game hit streaks come to a close. Pope had recorded eight-consecutive multi-hit games, going 19-for-39 (.487) with 10 runs scored during the streak.

Catamount starter Brendan Nail (3-6) was saddled with the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits while battling through six innings of work. The Greensboro, N.C., native struck out three against two walks. Senior Korey Anderson made his second relief appearance of the weekend, surrendering an unearned run on three hits while working around three walks.

Offensively for the Paladins, three players posted multi-hit games. Lead-off hitter Jabari Richards finished 2-for-3 with a double, also reaching on two walks and scoring a run. Jason Costa drove in two on a 2-for-4 outing while Bret Huebner also finished 2-for-4 at the plate. Carter Grote and Sky Overton both drove in runs on sacrifice flies for the Paladins.

Western Carolina (16-18, 7-5 SoCon) prepares for a pair of nonconference games road games midweek, visiting Charlotte on Monday with a 5:00 pm first pitch before traveling to Boiling Springs to face Gardner-Webb on Wednesday at 6:00 pm.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Behind a strong pitching effort from Spencer Orr, Kole Harris and Eric Whitecavage, the UNC Asheville baseball team closed out a three-game Big South Conference series at High Point with a 3-1 win over the Panthers on Saturday afternoon.

Orr (2-3) pitched 7.2 innings and struck out four batters, all looking, to earn the win on the mound. He didn't give up a run for 14 straight innings dating back to last weekend's series finale before being responsible for the Panthers' lone run in the bottom of the eighth. Harris closed out the eighth frame before Whitecavage came on for the final three outs of the contest, earning his first save of the season.

UNC Asheville (14-21, 5-7 Big South) jumped out to an early lead in the top of the fourth as the Bulldogs plated three runs. Joe Tietjen scored the first run off a base hit RBI by Kyle Carruthers. Previously in the inning, Tietjen singled to secure the Bulldogs' second hit of the game.

Following a pitching change by High Point (19-16, 6-8 Big South), Joe Gruszka reached base safely on a throwing error by the Panthers, allowing Joe Zayatz to score and putting Asheville up 2-0. Carmine Pagano capped off the scoring drive when Brandon Lankford drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded, pushing Pagano across the plate for the third and final run scored.

The next four innings passed scoreless before the Panthers managed to score the single run in the bottom of the eighth.

Pagano led the way at the plate for the Bulldogs, going 2-for-4 with one unearned run scored. Danny Wilson drew two walks in the game, giving him a team-best 28 on the year.

Trevor Holloway (2-4) was the pitcher of record for High Point, pitching the first 3.1 innings that saw him give up all four UNC Asheville hits as well as three unearned runs.

UNC Asheville will play two midweek games beginning Tuesday, April 18, with a home tilt against USC Upstate. The following day, on Wednesday, April 19, the Bulldogs will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on the Volunteers of Tennessee. Both games will feature a 6 p.m. first pitch.

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