Baseball Faces Elimination Game on Sunday After 12-7 Loss to Tusculum


HICKORY, NC -- On the strength of four home runs, Tusculum advanced to the finals of the 2008 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament with a 12-7 victory over Catawba on Saturday afternoon at L.P. Frans Stadium.  The 29th-ranked Pioneers improve to 37-12, while the 23rd-ranked Catawba Indians fall to 36-15. 

Tusculum's Sean Cotten (Mooresville, NC) finished with three hits and four RBI, while Maikol Gonzalez (Maracaibo, Venezuela) added four hits as the Pioneers scored at least one run in each of the last six innings of the game.

Catawba got things going in the bottom of the first inning on Craige Lyerly's (Salisbury,NC/East Rowan HS) two-run single.  After the Catawba Indians pushed the lead 4-0 with two runs in the third inning, Tusculum reeled off nine straight runs aided by two-run home runs from Cotten, Matt Webb (Duluth, GA) and Christian Rosa (Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, respectively.

David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC/Ledford HS), the 2008 SAC Player Of The Year, hit a two-run home run for Catawba to cut the margin to 9-6 in the bottom of the seventh, but Tusculum regained control with two runs in the top of the eighth inning en route to the win.

Thomas finished with four runs scored while Lyerly drove in three runs for Catawba, who will face the Carson-Newman-Wingate winner in an elimination game which is now set for Sunday morning at 10 a.m.

TC's Carlos Ortiz (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) improved to 3-1 with the win while Catawba's Travis McSweeney (Palm Harbor, FL/East Lake HS) fell to 4-1 after suffering the loss.  Tio McLean (Laurel Hill, NC) picked up his third save of the year for the Pioneers.

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