April 12, 2008
Baseball Claims SAC Championship, Finishes Sweep of Mars Hill
SALISBURY, NC -- Catawba swept a baseball doubleheader from visiting Mars Hill and in the process claimed the 2008 South Atlantic Conference Championship. The 26th-ranked Catawba Indians won by the scores of 14-6 and 6-5, improving to 32-14 overall and 16-5 in the SAC. The Lions fell to 29-21 and 8-12.
Catawba scored 11 times in the first three innings of the opener to take control. After falling behind 3-0 in the first, Mars Hill tied the game on three solo home runs in the second. Catawba came right back with five in the second and three in the third for an 11-3 lead. Chad Baker (Jamestown, NC/Ragsdale, NC) doubled home two runs in the second and Matt Kepley (Greensboro, NC/Ragsdale HS) hit a three-run homer in the third.
Alex Fairweather (Lenoir, NC/W. Caldwell HS) moved to 6-2 with the win as he tossed six innings. He scattered 11 hits and allowed five runs, four on solo homers. David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC/Ledford HS) had three hits for Catawba and scored four runs. He was a triple shy of a cycle. Jerry Sands (Clayton, NC/Smithfield-Selma HS) and Kepley each had three RBI.
The Indians rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to complete the sweep. Baker scored the winning run when Ryan Query’s (Kannapolis, NC/Brown HS) grounder up the middle was misplayed. Sands had knocked in Thomas, who started the rally with a one-out single, for the tying run.
Mars Hill trailed 3-0 entering the sixth as Tim Holmes (Bay Village, OH/Bay HS) limited the Lions to just one hit over the first five innings. After one out in the sixth, the Lions put three straight runners on and Brian Williams (Orlando, FL) hit a grand slam off Tribe reliever Nathan Furr (Albemarle, NC/W. Stanly HS) for the lead. Brandon Savoca (Riegelwood, NC) added a RBI double for a 5-3 edge.
Catawba got a run back in the sixth on a home run by Kevin McMillan (Salisbury, NC/N. Rowan HS). In the seventh, Thomas singled and Baker was hit by a pitch. Sands would single to left to score Thomas then Catawba won it on Query’s hard hit grounder up the middle.
Thomas had three more hits for Catawba in the nightcap, while Baker drove in two runs. Williams had the big blow for Mars Hill after picking up three hits in the opener.
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