Furman Comes Up Short At Western Carolina, 5-4

Chris Ohmstede
Chris Ohmstede

CULLOWHEE, N.C. -- Bradley Strong went 4-for-5, homered, and drove in two runs and Western Carolina survived three home runs by Furman to claim a 5-4 victory over the Paladins in the opening game of a three-game Southern Conference baseball series Friday evening at Hennon Stadium.

The win marked the 12th straight triumph for Western Carolina (23-9, 9-1 SoCon) while the loss was the seventh straight for Furman (11-23, 2-8 SoCon).

Strong broke a 1-1 tie when he led off the fifth inning with a solo home run to right field off Paladin starter Matt Solter.  An inning later he singled and scored the Catamounts' second run of the frame to make it a 4-1 game.

Furman cut it to 4-2 in the seventh after Andrew MacLatchie was hit by a pitch and later scored on a Hunter Burton sacrifice fly,

The Paladins trailed 5-2 before Greg Harrison and Chris Ohmstede greeted Western Carolina reliever Jonathan Waszak with back-to-back home runs to start the eighth.  Ohmstede's roundtripper was his second of the game and 25th of his career, which moved him into a tie for eighth on the Paladins' career home runs ledger.

WCU's Bryan Sammons was summoned to replace Waszak and got the next two outs before giving way to Tyler Powell, who stranded the potential tying run in the eighth.  He walked Furman's Hunter Burton to start the night, but Burton was thrown out attempting to steal.  Powell retired the Paladins' next two batters to secure the win for the Catamounts and his seventh save of the season.

The Catamounts finished with nine hits while Furman had six.  Ohmstede's two home runs highlighted his 2-for-4, two-RBI performance.  Jake Jones also had two hits and two stolen bases for Furman.

Western Carolina starter Jeremy Null (5-1) allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings to earn the win.  He walked three and struck out eight.

Solter (0-4) was charged with the loss after yielding three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits over 5 1/3 innings.  He issued six walks and fanned six.

The Paladins and Catamounts play Saturday at 4:00 p.m.