Baseball Hangs On to Post Win in Opener


WILSON, NC -- Catawba opened the 2011 baseball season with an 8-7 win over host Barton on Tuesday afternoon at Nixon Field.  Brett Underwood (Greensboro, NC/SW Guilford HS) collected four hits and scored two runs to pace the Catawba Indians, ranked 23rd by Collegiate Baseball.  It was the opener for both teams.

The Indians built an 8-0 lead then withstood a Barton rally to hold on.  Ross Whitley (Mooresville, NC/Lake Norman HS) got the final three outs after the Bulldogs had cut the margin to 8-6 in the ninth.  The sophomore entered with a runner on and allowed a two-out single to John Hunter that made the score 8-7.  Whitley struck out the next better, but he reached on a wild pitch.  Whitley posted his third strikeout of the frame to end the contest.

Catawba started the scoring in the fourth and plated the season’s first run without a hit.  Walks to Austin Moyer (Greensboro, NC/SE Guilford/USC Upstate), Garrett Furr (Gold Hill, NC/Mt. Pleasant HS) and Chris Dula (Troutman, NC/S. Iredell HS) loaded the bases and a fielder’s choice by Greg Lawson (Charlotte, NC/Providence HS) put the Indians on top.  Underwood followed with a run-scoring single and a 2-0 edge.

The Indians pushed across a single run in the fifth as Dula was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.  The Tribe stretched the margin in the sixth with three more runs.  Underwood scored after a failed pickoff attempt and Blake Houston (Mt. Ulla, NC/S. Rowan HS) singled home two more.  Catawba got two runs in the seventh off wild pitches.

Barton got on the board in the seventh, cutting into an eight-run deficit with three runs.  With two outs, Jordan Smith singled home one run and David Gibbons plated two more on a single.  Wil Huneycutt (Locust, NC/W. Stanly HS) got the Indians out of the seventh and tossed a scoreless eighth.  The Bulldogs crept closer in the ninth, scoring four times off Dula before Whitley entered.

Junior transfer JJ Jankowski (McMurray, PA/Peters Township/Miami,OH) threw six strong innings to grab the win.  He shut out the Bulldogs on four hits, while striking out seven.  Kyle Norville got the start for Barton and limited the Tribe to just one hit over three innings.  Bentley Massey, who took the loss, allowed just a hit in two innings, but walked six.

Julio Zubillaga (China Grove, NC/Carson HS) collected two hits and scored twice for the Indians.  Houston drove in two runs, while Lawson, Dula and Underwood had one each.  Catawba drew 11 walks on the day.  Gibbons and Zac Crumpler each rapped out three hits for the Bulldogs.  Chris Rawlings had two hits and three RBI, while Aaron Watkins had two hits and drove in two.

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