Wild Finish caps comeback as Baseball defeats FSC 9-8 in NCAA II Regional Opener

Tampa, Fla. – Aaron Rimer’s walk-off home run to lead off the 10th inning gave Catawba a 9-8 victory over defending national champion Florida Southern in the NCAA South Regional, which is being hosted by the University of Tampa. Catawba improves to 45-12 as Florida Southern falls to 38-18 Florida Southern wasted no time in the first inning, scoring four runs to take a quick lead

Nick Diyorio led the game off with a single and advanced to second on the first of two Catawba errors in the inning. Diyorio then scored on a Kyle Patrick single to open the scoring. The Moccasins then added another run on the second error of the inning by the Indians, which was followed by a two-run single by Alexy Hernandez. The Moccasins stretched their lead to 7-0 with a three-run third inning where Adam Calderone drove in the first run of the inning and then scored on a two-run single by Will Cherry. Catawba starting pitcher Tim Smith began the third inning and was lifted after giving up all three runs of the inning. Smith finished his day after pitching two innings, giving up eight hits on four earned runs and walking one. Catawba got back in the game in the third inning courtesy of a grand slam by slugger Jimbo Davis. After giving up just one hit in the first two innings, Florida Southern starter Dan Albritton was tagged for five hits in the third.

Florida Southern added another run in the sixth on an infield single by Nick Diyorio to make the score 8-4. Catawba answered with a run of their own in the bottom frame as Mark Smith led off the inning with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Rimer. Albritton was relieved in the eighth inning after pitching seven innings for the Mocs. He finished after giving up five earned runs on nine hits, striking out four and walking one. John Milton relieved Albritton and allowed Catawba to load the bases with no outs in the eighth before being lifted for Kyle DeYoung. Catawba then trimmed the Florida Southern lead to 8-7 on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Rimer and Nick Lefko. DeYoung then escaped further damage by striking out Chad Baker to end the inning.

Catawba’s Blake Ketner pitched seven strong innings of relief, giving up just one earned run on five hits, striking out five. Ketner’s performance in relief allowed the Indians to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth before evening the score at 8-8 on a sacrifice fly by Smith to send the game to extra innings. The game remained 8-9 when Aaron Rimer connected on a walk-off home run to give Catawba a 9-8 victory. Catawba will now face #2 Florida Gulf Coast at 7 pm Friday while Florida Southern will meet #1 Tampa at 3 pm.

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