Baseball

Baseball Takes #11 Tusculum To Limit In 6-5 Loss

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KANNAPOLIS, NC -- Tusculum got an eighth-inning home run from Sean Cotten (Mooresville, NC) and defeated Catawba 6-5 in baseball action at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium on Saturday night as the 11th-ranked Pioneers improve to 4-2.  The Catawba Indians, who played without two starters, fell to 5-2.

Tusculum had rallied with three runs in the seventh for a 5-3 advantage.  A pair of walks put runners on the corners and Carlos Rivera (Leesburg, VA) plated the tying run with a two-out single.  Maikol Gonzalez (Maracaibo, VENEZUELA) followed with a two-run double.  Catawba struck right back in the eighth and tied the score on Ryan Query’s (Kannapolis, NC/Brown HS) two-run homer before Cotten’s winning blast in the eighth.
 
Catawba did not go quietly in the ninth as Rob Currie (St. Charles, IL) got Jerry Sands (Clayton, NC/Smithfield-Selma HS) on a fly out with the bases loaded to end the game.  Weston Church (Salisbury, NC/W. Rowan HS) had led off the inning with a single and runner David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC/Ledford HS) was sacrificed to second.  Nathan Furr (Albemarle, NC/W. Stanly HS) singled to left, but Thomas was thrown out at the plate by Andrew Winslow (Ashburn, VA).  Craige Lyerly (Salisbury, NC/E. Rowan HS) would single and Andrew O’Neal walked to set the table for Sands.

The Indians drew first blood in the top of the first as Andrew O’Neal (King, NC/W. Stokes HS) homered with one out.  Tusculum grabbed the lead in the fourth as Christian Rosa (Toa Baja, PUERTO RICO) swatted a two-run home run to give the Pioneers a 2-1 edge.

Catawba got back even in the sixth as Lyerly led off with a single and stole second with one out.  Sands drove home the run with a single to left.  The Indians mounted another threat in the seventh after Chad Baker (Jamestown, NC/Ragsdale HS) drew a leadoff walk.  A Matt Kepley (Greensboro, NC/Ragsdale HS) single put runners on the corners and Church lifted a sacrifice fly to right that had given the Indians a 3-2 lead.

Catawba played without starting shortstop Chris Ahearn (Charlotte, NC/Providence HS), who is nursing a hamstring injury and Thomas, its All-South Region centerfielder, who was limited to pinch-runner duties after injuring his hand on Friday.  Tribe starter Alex Fairweather (Lenoir, NC/W. Caldwell HS) was strong through six innings, allowing just six hits with seven strikeouts.  He left in the seventh with the game tied at 3-all.

Mat Galens (Lousiville, KY), now 2-0, earned the win relief after giving up the game-tying home run to Query.  Currie picked up his first save.  Gonzales, Rosa and Dustin Morrow (Lexington, KY) each had two hits for the Pioneers.  Lyerly had a pair of hits for Catawba.   

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