April 20, 2006
Baseball survives scare, advances in SAC Tournament opening roundGREENEVILLE, TN -- Top-seed Catawba survived a scare from Newberry, but picked up a 14-6 win in an opening round game of the 2006 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament at Pioneer Park on Thursday night. Catawba, ranked eighth in NCAA II, improves to 41-11 and will face Mars Hill on Friday afternoon in a winner’s bracket game. Newberry falls to 9-41-1 and will play Lenoir-Rhyne in an elimination game on Friday afternoon at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, TN.
Catawba jumped on eighth-seeded Newberry early and led 10-0 after three innings. Jimbo Davis (Salisbury, NC) tripled with two outs in the first and scored on a single by Matt Smith (Brown Summitt, NC). David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC) delivered a two-out single in the second to plate Nick Lefko (Faith, NC) for a 2-0 lead.
An eight-run third busted things open for the Tribe. Jerry Sands (Clayton, NC) singled home the first run, while Aaron Rimer (Salisbury, NC) followed with a two-run triple. Davis capped the inning with a two-run homerun.
Newberry began chopping into the Catawba lead in the fourth. Benefiting from a Catawba error, Newberry got one run on a wild pitch and two others on RBI hits from Matt Webb (Cheraw, SC) and Levi Salters (Vincennes, IN). A two-out, two-run single by Joel Keefe (Andover, MA) in the fifth cut the deficit to 10-5.
Catawba averted catastrophe in the seventh as a leadoff double by Casey Faulkenberry (Camden, SC) was followed by a Brandon Manasa (Miami, FL) single to cut the lead to 10-6. After a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out, Tribe reliever Brian Benton (Wallace, NC) got a double play ball from Ryan Easterby (Charleston, SC) when Keefe was called for interference at second.
Catawba got some insurance in the eighth as Matt Smith led off with a single and scored on a wild pitch. Lefko would follow with a three-run blast to increase the lead to 14-6. The four-bagger was the only hit for the senior, but he had four RBI and scored three runs. Catawba pounded out a dozen hits in the win.
Blake Ketner (Davidson, NC) got the win for Catawba to improve to 7-2. He tossed six and a third innings, scattering eight hits and allowing six runs (three earned) with two walks and four strikeouts. Gary Hersey (Key West, FL) did a yeoman’s job in relief for Newberry before tiring in the eighth. He surrendered four hits in five and two-thirds innings with three strikeouts and two earned runs. #####
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