Baseball clinches share of SAC title; take two from Mars Hill

SALISBURY, NC – Seniors starters Matt Fairweather (Lenoir, NC) and Jeff Abdelnour (Cohoes, NY) each tossed complete game, four-hit shutouts, leading 17th-ranked Catawba College to a doubleheader sweep of visiting Mars Hill College on Saturday afternoon in South Atlantic Conference baseball action at Newman Park. The Indians took game one 9-0, followed by an 8-0 victory in game two. Catawba improves to 32-16 overall and 14-5 in the SAC, clinching a tie for the SAC Championships as well as the top seed in next week’s tournament. MHC falls to 25-27 and 9-10. In the opener, the Lions threatened in the first with the bases loaded and no outs before Fairweather struck out the final two hitters to retire the side. The Tribe jumped on the board with a pair of runs in the second and third innings. Zach Evans (Greensboro, NC) provided a two-run HR in the second, while Chad Baker (Jamestown, NC) and Nick Lefko (Faith, NC) each picked up RBI-singles in the third. Leading 6-0 in the eighth, the Tribe added three more runs as Jimbo Davis (Salisbury, NC) hit his team-leading 17th home run, followed by an Aaron Rimer (Salisbury, NC) two-run shot. Lane Stroble (Walkersville, MD) and John Quail (Boonsboro, MD) each had a double for the Lions in game one. Fairweather, who allowed no runs on four hits with seven strikeouts, improved to 7-2 and tied a 56-year-old school-record for career wins with 29. In the nightcap, MHC again threatened early with runners in scoring position, but this time it was Abdelnour who shut the door on the Lions stranding five runners on base in the second and third frames. A solo-HR by Thomas Giles (Lynchburg, VA) gave the Indians an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. A five-run fourth put up by the Tribe ended the hopes of a Mars Hill comeback. Chad Baker delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded, before Catawba loaded the bases again, only to have Evans clear the bases with a three-run double to right-center. Lefko and Giles each smacked RBI-singles in the fifth, to close out Tribe scoring on the day. Strobel and Jason Yelton (Burnsville, NC) each had two of the eight total hits for the Lions. Abdelnour didn’t allow an extra-base hit, while striking out three in his seven-inning, four-hit performance. Matt Baker (Charlotte, NC) went 6-for-8 on the day including a pair of doubles in game two. Chad Baker finished the day 5-for-9 with three RBI.

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