Baseball advances to South Region championship series with 5-3 victory over FGCU

Tampa, Fla. – #3 Catawba got revenge on #2 Florida Gulf Coast, who defeated the Indians last night, with a 5-3 victory to earn a spot in the South Regional championship game. The Indians move to 47-13 on the year and will make their first-ever appearance in the South Regional championship.

The Eagles season ends at 41-17.Catawba scored a run in each of the first three innings, giving the Indians a 3-0 lead. David Thomas doubled to lead off the bottom of the first and scored on a Matt Smith single on the next play. After Thursday’s hero Aaron Rimer led off the second inning with a home run, the Indians benefited from another lead-off homer in the third inning by Jerry Sands.

Florida Gulf Coast got on the board with a pair of runs in the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with just one out. Josh Upchurch singled home one run while the other came via a sacrifice fly by Mike Cleghorn. Catawba got the runs back in the bottom of the fourth, scoring on a two-run home run by slugger Jimbo Davis.

 The Catawba offense, which scored five runs in the first four innings, knocked out Florida Gulf Coast starter Jason Kiley after 2 2/3 innings. Kiley allowed three earned runs while scattering seven hits, walking two and striking out two. Alex Fairweather started for Catawba, hurling 4 1/3 innings while giving up nine hits and two earned runs. Fairweather struck out two and walked three. Matt Seabolt, who gave up one run in 3 1/3 innings of relief, earned the victory for the Indians. Florida Gulf Coast cut the Catawba lead to 5-3 with an eighth inning rally when Upchurch doubled in Graig Smith. Catawba’s Jerry Sands saved a run for his team when he threw out Upchurch at the plate to end the inning. The losing pitcher for Florida Gulf Coast was Jason Kiley while Zach Evans got the last out and recorded the save for Catawba.

Catawba will now face #1 Tampa for the South Region championship on Sunday at 1 pm.

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