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Punchless Furman Falls To Western Carolina, 2-1

Grant Schuermann
Grant Schuermann

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Chase Walter pitched a complete game four-hitter to lift Western Carolina past Furman, 2-1, in the second game of a three-game Southern Conference baseball series Saturday afternoon at Latham Stadium.

The victory, which halted a seven-game losing streak by Western Carolina (5-39, 3-17 SoCon) and marked only the Catamounts' third win against Furman (22-24, 7-10 SoCon) in the last 15 meetings, sets up Sunday's series deciding 1:00 p.m. contest.

Walter (2-6), a reshirt freshman right-hander who entered the game with a 6.63 earned run average, had no trouble in dominating Furman, limiting the Paladins to just four singles while striking out eight and walking two.  Furman, which tallied 18 hits in Friday's 13-4 series opening victory, scored its lone run on a Catamount throwing error in the fourth.

Western Carolina gave Walter all the runs he would need in the first inning, overcoming a double play with a Justin Sparks infield single and two-run home run to right field by Justice Bigbie off Paladin starting and losing pitcher Grant Schuermann (3-7).

Schuermann, who surrendered five of his six hits in the first three innings, got stronger as the game progressed, allowing only a one-out double in the fourth and retiring 11 of the final 12 batters he faced, including striking out the side in the seventh.

Trailing 2-1 the Paladins scratched for their only run in the fourth when Catamount first baseman Justin Sparks' throw to home plate on a double steal attempt short-hopped catcher Spencer Holcomb, allowing Brandon Elmy to score.

Walter kept Furman in check until the eighth when Ben Anderson laced a two-out single into left center field that a sprinting Matthew Koehler cut off before it reached the gap.  Koehler's play proved big as Jason Costa followed with a single up the middle that sent Anderson to third.  Walter then struck out Brandon Elmy to end the threat and followed it up by retiring the Paladins in order in the ninth.

Will Prater had two of Western Carolina's eight hits.