April 22, 2011
Baseball Survives Elimination to Advance to SAC Tournament Final
FOREST CITY, NC – Catawba avoided elimination twice on Friday, topping Lincoln Memorial 6-5 then Newberry 5-0, to advance to the finals of the 2011 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament at McNair Field. The top-seeded Catawba Indians, ranked 13th in NCAA II, improve to 39-9. The Indians will face second-seeded Wingate in Saturday’s final, needing to defeat the Bulldogs twice to earn the title.
Austin Moyer (Greensboro, NC/SE Guilford HS/USC Upstate) threw a complete game one-hitter in the win over Newberry and Catawba broke a scoreless tie with five runs in the top of the ninth. The Indians took advantage of three errors by the Wolves (24-27) in the final inning to break through. Moyer was able to keep Newberry off the board, striking out eight and allowing just a fourth-inning double to Newberry's Jovan Rohena. He retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced and threw 127 pitches in the contest.
Newberry's Matt Mege, making his first career start, shut down Catawba on five hits through eight innings before allowing a single to John Neese (Summerfield, NC/NW Guilford HS/Guilford Tech) to open the ninth. A throwing error on a bunt by Brett Underwood (Greensboro, NC/SW Guilford HS) put runners on first and second, and reliever Chauncey Mattei hit the Indians' Greg Lawson (Charlotte, NC/Providence HS) with a pitch to load the bases with no outs.
On a 2-2 pitch, Blake Houston (Mt. Ulla, NC/S. Rowan HS) singled to right to drive home Neese and give the Indians a 1-0 lead. The Wolves' defense faltered later in the frame, as a pair of force attempts at the plate resulted in errant throws and enabled two runs to score each time for a 5-0 lead.
Catawba threatened twice prior to their ninth-inning rally, leaving two runners on base in the first and two more in the seventh. Meanwhile, the Wolves' only scoring threat came in the fourth when Sanchez Gartman was hit by a pitch with one out. After an out, Rohena doubled to left, but Gartman stumbled rounding third and was tagged out after a brief rundown to end the inning.
The Indians finished with seven hits in the contest, as Houston, Chris Dula (Troutman, NC/S. Iredell HS) and Ryan Bostian (Kannapolis, NC/S. Rowan HS/Montreat) each picked up a pair of hits. Catawba left 10 runners on base in the contest. Mege worked eight-plus innings for Newberry, allowing two unearned runs on six hits while striking out three and walking three.
Catawba scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to erase a 3-2 deficit to claim the earlier win over Lincoln Memorial. The Railsplitters (29-22) finished with 13 hits, but were knocked out of the tournament as they left 12 runners on base.
With LMU holding a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the seventh, Bostian worked a one-out walk from Railsplitter starter Steven Starbird. After a wild pitch, Josh Hohn (Greensboro, NC/S. Guilford HS/North Greenville) singled to left to move Bostian to third and bring Starbird's night to an end after six and a third innings. Cody Church relieved for LMU and allowed a single by Dula which drove home Bostian with the tying run.
Garrett Furr (Gold Hill, NC) then followed with a sinking liner to left that Cody Baker dove for, but was unable to grab, which enabled Hohn and Dula to score as Furr reached second with a double. After a walk to Moyer, Neese doubled to left-center off reliever Brad Pressley to knock in Furr for a 6-3 Indian lead.
In the ninth, Wil Huneycutt (Locust, NC/W., Stanly) allowed a two-run home run to LMU's Eric Kitts, but came back to retire the final two batters on comebackers for his ninth save of the season.
LMU took a 1-0 lead against Catawba starter John Tuttle (Kannapolis, NC/A.L. Brown HS) in the top of the first as Juan Alvarez doubled with one out, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cody Pack. Catawba answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the first against Starbird as Bostian reached on a throwing error and scored on a double to left-center by Hohn.
The Indians jumped ahead 2-1 in the third as Hohn singled with one out, moved to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a fly out and scored on a bloop double to right by Furr.
LMU regained a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs. With one out, Baker reached on a bunt single and Alvarez followed with a single to right. Pack singled to left to drive home Baker with the tying run, and John Couch doubled to left-center to bring home Alvarez for a 3-2 lead.
Starbird worked out of trouble for the Railsplitters in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs but striking out Moyer to end the threat. Tuttle escaped his own jam in the top of the sixth as LMU loaded the bases on a hit, a walk and a hit batsman, but Pack whiffed to end the inning.
Tuttle worked six innings for the Indians, allowing 10 hits and three earned runs while striking out nine over 117 pitches. Nathan Furr (Albemarle, NC/W. Stanly) improved to 2-0 with two scoreless innings of relief for Catawba, striking out four. Starbird (4-5) allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out four for the Railsplitters, yielding five hits and three walks.
At the plate, Hohn led the Indians by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Furr was 2-for-3 with two doubles and three runs batted in. Alvarez went 3-for-4 and scored twice for LMU, with Couch, Deaun Williams and Joseph Horsley all adding two hits.
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