Baseball Stands One Game From League Title After 15-4 Win Over Mars Hill

Sands swats record-tying 54th career homer


SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba College moved within one game of clinching the South Atlantic Conference Championship with a 15-4 win over visiting Mars Hill in baseball action on Friday night at Newman Park.  The 26th-ranked Catawba Indians take a two game lead into Saturday’s doubleheader, while second place Carson-Newman begins its three-game set with third place Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday.  The Indians improve to 30-14 overall and 14-5 in the SAC, while the Lions fall to 29-19 and 8-10.

Catawba scored in all but one inning and broke the game open on Brett Hatley’s (Salisbury, NC/W. Rowan HS) three-run homer in the third that gave the Indians a 6-0 lead.  Blake Ketner (Davidson, NC/NW Cabarrus HS) sailed through four innings, but Austin Boehme (Winston-Salem, NC) delivered a three-run double with two outs in the fifth to cut the Lion deficit to 7-3.  The runs ended a stretch of 20 consecutive scoreless innings for Ketner.

Ketner would go on to toss eight innings and allowed four runs on eight hits to improve to 7-2 on the year.  He won all six of his league decisions.  Ketner walked one, hit three and struck out six.  Travis McSweeney (Palm Harbour, FL/East Lake HS) finished up with a perfect ninth in relief.

After the Lions scored in the fifth, Catawba picked up a run of its own in the fifth on a two-out single by Matt Kepley (Greensboro, NC/Ragsdale HS) and a groundout by Caige Lyerly (Salisbury, NC/E. Rowan) in the sixth for a 9-3 lead.  Daniel Coffey (Granite Falls, NC) had a RBI single for Mars Hill in the eighth, but Catawba put the game away with six of its own in the frame.

The big blow of the eighth was a grand slam by Jerry Sands (Clayton, NC/Smithfield-Selma HS).  It marked the junior’s 54th of his career which ties him with Jimbo Davis for the Catawba career record.  Every Catawba player picked up a hit with David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC/Ledford HS) and Chris Ahearn (Charlotte, NC/Providence HS) each picking up three. 

Chad Baker (Jamestown, NC/Ragsdale HS) also had a multi-hit game for Catawba with two hits and gave the Indians the lead with a solo homer in the first.  Brian Williams (Orlando, FL) and Brandon Savoca (Riegelwood, NC) each had two hits for Mars Hill.

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