Baseball Knocks Off #12 Aiken 12-9

Thomas' grand slam highlights 7-run sixth


AIKEN, SC -- Senior David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC/Ledford HS) doubled, homered and drove in five runs as 24th-ranked Catawba topped 12th-ranked USC Aiken 12-9 in baseball action on Wednesday night at Hernandez Stadium.  The win improves the Catawba Indians, who face another ranked team in #19 Erskine on Thursday, to 14-6.  The Pacers fall to 15-4.

Catawba trailed 5-3 after five innings, but took the lead with a seven-run sixth highlighted by a grand slam from Thomas.  The rally started with a walk and single to start the inning, but two Aiken retired the next two batters before a walk loaded the bases.  Craige Lyerly (Salisbury, NC/E. Rowan HS) was hit by a pitch to force home a run and Chad Baker (Jamestown, NC/Ragsdale HS) walked to bring home the tying run.  That brought up Thomas who put the Indians up 9-5 with his team-leading eighth home run of the year. 

Tim Smith (Walnut Cove, NC/S. Stokes HS), Blake Ketner (Davidson, NC/NW Cabarrus) and Matt Seabolt (Asheboro, NC/Asheboro HS) worked the final five innings for Catawba.  Smith earned the win, pulling him within two of tying the school record of 30 career wins. 

Thomas put the Indians up 1-0 with a single in the first, but the Pacers put up five runs in the third to grab the lead.  Ken Raborn had a two-run double in the inning.  Catawba scored two unearned runs in the fifth before exploding for seven with two outs in the sixth.  Jerry Sands (Clayton, NC/Smithfield-Selma HS) added a two-run homer in the eighth for Catawba.

Thomas finished with three hits, while Sands and Brett Hatley (Salisbury, NC/W. Rowan HS) added two each.  Aiken collected 18 hits, but left 13 runners on base.  Chad Jacobson had four hits with David Vitko and Gary Asbill picking up three hits.

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