Catamounts early lead diminishes; falls to Kennesaw State, 11-9

Chancellor David Belcher throws out the first pitch. Photo: Doug Powell

Chancellor David’s Belcher’s opening pitch sailed high, but landed in the dirt to the right of the catcher and came up just short.

The game that ensued would end like this too.

After a strong start, the Western Carolina pitching rotation gave up seven earned runs and three costly errors would eventually doom the Catamounts as they fell to the Kennesaw State Owls, 11-9 on Tuesday night in Cullowhee.

“I think they did a really good job of putting balls in play and finding holes in our defense,” senior All-American Ross Heffley said.

WCU started off hot getting out to a 7-0 lead over the Owls as the heart of the order would deliver to start the game.

Heffley delivered a single in the first and a RBI double in the second to help build the Catamount lead. Heffley would also hit his third home run of the season in the fourth.

“He’s the best second-baseman in the country. First team All-American. I mean when he goes we’re going to score some runs; there’s no question about it. He’s one of the best players I’ve seen in 26 years of coaching,” coach Bobby Moranda said.

In the fourth inning senior infielder Andy Chriscaden put the Owls on the board with a two-run home run making it 7-2, Catamounts. But it was the sixth inning when things started to take a turn for the worst. Freshman pitcher Tyler Powell would come in to pitch and give up three earned runs to Owls’ batters.

“We just didn’t pitch today; we had too many freebies in terms of walks, errors and hit-batters. You can’t win doing that,” said Moranda.

The bleeding wouldn’t stop there as the Owls would take the lead in the sixth making it 10-8, Kennesaw State.

A throwing error in the seventh by senior relief pitcher Darron Dotson would give the Owls another run and the 11-9 lead. Kennesaw State would stifle a late push by the Catamounts in the bottom of the ninth to capture the victory.

The Catamounts fall to 17-8 on the season and have a rematch with the Owls tomorrow in Georgia before beginning a conference series with Davidson.