Late Western Carolina Rally Leads to 10-9 Win Over Yellow Jackets

April 22, 2009

Box Score

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Back-to-back seventh-inning doubles from Ross Heffley and Brent Greer capped a four-run comeback for Western Carolina (23-16), who handed No. 4 Georgia Tech (27-9-1) a 10-9 loss Wednesday night at Hennon Stadium.

Heffley and Greer had three hits apiece as the Catamounts tallied 16 in the game against the Yellow Jackets.

Cole Leonida led the Georgia Tech offense with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, while Jason Haniger and Chris House added two hits apiece. Tony Plagman led the Yellow Jackets with three RBI in the game.

Derek Dietrich’s sixth home run of the season came in the top of the first inning to give the Yellow Jackets an early 2-0 lead, but the Catamounts plated two in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 2-2.

The Yellow Jackets added another run in the third when Haniger scored on a fielder’s choice by Thomas Nichols before Catamount reliever Kyle Stewart worked out of a bases-loaded jam by inducing an inning-ending double play.

Western Carolina plated four runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a two-run home run from Matt Johns, to take a 6-3 edge in the game. The three-run lead by the Catamounts marked the first time in 58-straight innings that the Yellow Jackets trailed at the end of an frame, dating back to the final game of the series against Virginia (April 12).

The Catamounts didn’t hold the lead for long, as Tech scored three in the top of the fourth to even the score at 6-6. A solo home run by Leonida – his fourth of the year – started things off for the Jackets, and Tech also scored when Luke Murton reached on a bases-loaded walk and Dietrich came across on a sacrifice fly by Matt Skole.

Plagman made Catamount second baseman Nick Liles pay for his fifth-inning fielding error when he sent his 11th home run of the season over the right field wall to give Tech a 9-6 lead. Liles looked to make an inning-ending catch on a popup in short right field, but the ball fell away and runners advanced to second and third on the miscue. Plagman then followed with a three-run homer to put the Jackets ahead by three.

Western Carolina mounted a late comeback, scoring a pair of runs in the sixth inning before the back-to-back RBI doubles by Heffley and Greer gave the Catamounts a 10-9 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

Tech reliever Patrick Long (0-1) yielded the two run-scoring hits in the seventh to suffer his first loss of the season. He worked 1-1/3 innings, giving up three hits.

Brandon Johnson (3-0) picked up the win after holding Tech to just one run in his two innings of work. Daniel Ottone closed out the game by facing one over the minimum in the final 1-2/3 innings to earn his sixth save of the year.

Georgia Tech returns to action this weekend when it travels to Clemson for a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. The two teams will also play at 6:30 p.m. Saturday before wrapping up the series Sunday at 1 p.m. The first two games can be heard on WREK Radio, while AM 790 The Zone broadcasts the Sunday finale. Live stats for all three games will be available at Ramblinwreck.com.

–Ramblinwreck.com. —

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