Notaro, Masters lead Catamounts over Spartans
GREENSBORO, NC – Stephen Notaro hit a home run in his first three at-bats and starter Chris Masters went eight innings as Western Carolina took game one against UNC Greensboro, 10-3, on Friday evening at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
Masters cruised through eight innings while only allowing three hits and struck out eight for the Catamounts (28-17, 14-7 SoCon). Notaro paced the visitors at the plate as he hit a solo home run in the third, fourth and fifth inning.
UNCG starter Greg Smith was credited with the loss after giving up eight runs (five earned) in five innings of work for the Spartans (16-24, 4-16 SoCon).
It appeared as if the Spartans would be the first team to get on the board in the second inning. Pedro Leon walked to lead off the inning and appeared to be picked off first, but as he was going to second the first baseman threw the ball into center field allowing Leon to advance to third. Rob Gilliam then hit a line drive towards the left side of the infield that the third baseman dove to grab and was able to throw home to nail Leon at home plate.
Western Carolina blew the game open in the third inning as the Catamounts jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Notaro led off the inning with a towering blast off the light pole in left center for his first home run of the evening. The Catamounts would go on to hit three singles and a double in the inning and take advantage of a Spartan error to score four more runs in the inning.
Notaro and the Catamounts picked up where they left off in the third inning as Notaro hit another leadoff home run in the fourth inning. This time Notaro went opposite field with a line drive shot over the right field wall. After a strike out, Trevor Collias doubled to left field and Ross Heffley followed two batters later with an RBI single to left field to put Western Carolina ahead, 7-0.
Notaro struck again for the third consecutive inning to give Western Carolina an 8-0 lead in the fifth inning. After the first two batters were retired, Nataro hit his third home run in as many innings over the right field wall for his 11th home run of the season.
Masters flirted with no-hitter until the bottom of the fifth when Drew Gehringer hit a two-out double down the left field line to break up any chance of a no-no for the Catamounts.
The Catamounts extended their lead to 10-0 in the top of the eighth after the first six batters in the inning reached base safely, including a walk and two hit by pitches. With the bases loaded, Heffley was hit by a pitch to score a run and Brent Greer followed with a single to right field to score one before the Spartans were able to get out of the inning.
The Spartans erased the shutout in the bottom of the ninth on Gehringer's triple to the power alley in right center. Corey Overholtzer led off the inning with a single through the right side before pinch hitter John Cucchiarella was hit by a pitch. Leon then reached on a fielder's choice before Gehringer hit a triple just past the diving Catamount center fielder to score Overholtzer and Leon to make the score 10-2. Gehringer scored later in the inning when Trevor Edwards reached on a fielding error by the right fielder.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday as UNCG and Western Carolina meet for game two of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
Western Carolina 10, UNC Greensboro 3
High Point…………... 005 210 020 - 10 13 3 (28-17)
UNC Greensboro...... 000 000 003 - 3 6 1 (16-24)
Pitchers: UNC Greensboro –Greg Smith, Blake Hassebrock, Adam Daufeldt. Western Carolina – Chris Masters, Matt Benedict.
Win- Chris Masters (5-2) Loss- Greg Smith (3-7) T-2:50 A-247
HR: Western Carolina: Stephen Notaro 3 (11)
- UNCG -