March 25, 2003
Cullowhee, NC –
Western Carolina defeated Clemson 9-5 Tuesday night to snap the Tigers’ 14-game winning streak. In front of a record crowd of 2,021 and the first night game in history at Hennon Stadium, the Catamounts overcame a 4-2 deficit with seven-straight runs to down Clemson. The Catamounts improved to 18-8, while the Tigers fell to 17-4. It was an unhappy homecoming for Tiger Head Coach Jack Leggett, who was the skipper at Western Carolina from 1983-91.
Catamount lefty starter Brandon McDowell (3-1) earned the victory, as he allowed six hits, one walk, and four unearned runs while striking out five in 5.0 innings of work. Tiger starter Jeff Hahn (3-3) suffered the loss. He allowed four earned runs and two hits in 2.1 innings pitched in a starting role.
The Catamounts, under the leadership of Head Coach Todd Raleigh, who played under Leggett at Western Carolina, got on the board in the first inning, just the second team to do so against the Tigers all season. Todd Roper led off with a walk, advanced to second on a balk, and two batters later scored on Alan Beck’s sharp single to center. Centerfielder Kyle Frank misplayed the single, allowing Beck to advance all the way to third base. It was Frank’s first error since 2001 and broke his errorless streak at 104 games. Todd Buchanan then hit an RBI groundout to put the Catamounts ahead 2-0. Clemson had only allowed one first-inning run all season.
The Tigers responded with four unearned runs in the third inning. Brady Everett led off with a bloop single to right field. After two Tigers were put out, Russell Triplett hit a double down the right-field line, advancing Everett to third. Then Brad McCann then his the first pitch over the left-field fence to give Clemson a 4-2 lead.
Western Carolina came right back in the bottom of the third with four runs to retake the lead. Roper again led off with a walk. After Beck walked two batters later, Buchanan laced a single up the middle that made it to the left-field gap. Both runners scored and Buchanan advanced to second on the throw. Rod Goldston then hit a “bad-hop” single to third base to put runners at the corner with one out. Denver Edick then brought home Buchanan with a single through the left side. After Goldston was caught stealing at third base and Alex Gary was hit on an 0-2 pitch, Chris Davis slapped a single to right to score another Catamount and give the home team a 6-4 lead.
Western Carolina tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning when Johnson was unable to handle a sharp grounder from Goldston with the bases loaded.
Buchanan added an insurance run in the seventh inning on a leadoff homer to right field, his eighth of the season.
Brad McCann cut into the Catamount lead when he laced a double that one-hopped the fence in left field. The hit plated Triplett, who had his third hit of the game earlier in the eighth inning. It was the first earned run allowed by Western Carolina pitchers in the contest.
Clemson will play host to Georgia Wednesday at 7:15 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. It will be the 200th all-time meeting between the two rivals. The game will be broadcast live on televsion by Comcast/Charter Southeast.
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