Thomas Paces Baseball to Season-Opening Win


KANNAPOLIS, NC -- Catawba College pounded out 19 hits en route to a 14-8 win over Wingate in baseball action at the South Atlantic Conference Pre-Season Clash on Friday night at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.  It was the opener for both teams.

David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC) led the attack for the 28th-ranked Catawba Indians, collecting four hits.  Jerry Sands (Clayton, NC) was 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI and four runs scored.  Matt Kepley (Greensboro, NC) and Chad Baker (Jamestown, NC) also had three hits.

Catawba jumped out a 5-0 lead after an inning.  Thomas led off the Catawba first with a double.  Sands would collect an RBI single, while Keply doubled home a run.  Zach Evans (Greensboro, NC) capped the frame with a RBI triple. 

The Tribe added single runs in the third and fourth innings, while a pair of Wingate miscues led to a pair of fifth-inning runs.  Sands gave Catawba a 10-0 lead with a solo home run in the sixth.  Wingate got on the board in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Jay Barnes (Strasburg, VA).  Brett Hatley (Salisbury, NC) connected for a pinch-hit grand slam in the seventh for Catawba to make the score 14-1.  It marked the first time since Spence Southard turned the trick in 2001 that a Tribe batter hit a grand slam in his first collegiate at bat.

Wingate mounted an uprising in the eight scoring seven times.  The big blow was a grand slam by Josh Benton (Gold Hill, NC).  Michael Taylor (Greenville, NC) brought the Bulldogs within 14-8 with a two-run double, but Lee Dupre (Salisbury, NC) set down five of the final six batters, four by strikeout, to end the game.

Tim Smith (Walnut Cove, NC) earned the win for Catawba.  He allowed just one hit with a walk and six strikeouts in six innings of work.  Benton and Taylor each had two hits for the Bulldogs.

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