May 20, 2011
Baseball Comes Up a Run Short in Regional Loss to UNCP
MOUNT OLIVE, NC -- UNC Pembroke scored a run in the eighth and downed Catawba 4-3 at the NCAA II Southeast Regional Baseball Tournament on Friday night at Scarborough Field. The Braves, seeded third and ranked seventh in NCAA II, improve to 44-10 and advance to take on Mount Olive on Saturday morning in the winner’s bracket final. The fifth-seeded Catawba Indians, ranked 19th in NCAA II, fall to 41-14 and will tangle with second-seeded Francis Marion on Saturday afternoon in an elimination game.
UNC Pembroke took advantage of some Catawba miscues and some friendly bounces to jump on top in the third. JJ Williams struck out to leadoff the third, but reached on a wild pitch. The Braves would string together three straight one-out hits to score the three runs.
Keith Whitman singled home the first run and the Indians failed to record the second out on the play when Jason Coker knocked the ball loose at third base. Eitan Moaz followed with a two-run single to give UNCP its 3-0 edge.
Catawba battled back to pull even in the seventh. Brett Underwood (Greensboro, NC/SW Guilford HS) singled to open the frame and Julio Zubillaga (China Grove, NC/Carson HS) drew a walk with one out. Ryan Bostian (China Grove, NC/S. Rowan HS/Montreat) greeted Brave reliever Braxton Lewis with a single to plate Underwood and get the Indians on the board.
UNCP gave Catawba a break when they misplayed a double play ball allowing the Indians to load the bases. Chris Dula (Troutman, NC/S. Iredell HS) drove home a second run on a ground out and Bostian raced home a wild pitch to tie the game. Bostian’s run, although unearned, was the first run allowed by Lewis all season and ended a streak of 43 and two-third innings of not allowing a run.
The Braves came right back in the top of the eight to reclaim the lead. Kenny Mickens grounder got under the glove of Dula at third with two outs to allow Aaron Parnell to score. Lewis would sit down Catawba in order after that, striking out four to post the win.
Nathan Furr (Albemarle, NC/W. Stanly HS) took the loss for Catawba, surrendering an unearned run off three hits. Starter JJ Jankowski (McMurray, PA/Peter’s Township HS/Miami,OH) did not factor in the decision. He struck out 12 over seven innings and allowed six hits and two earned runs.
Whitman had the big stick as he went 4-for-4 for the Braves. Underwood reached three times for Catawba with a hit and a pair of walks. WSAT radio will cover the Indians on Saturday, as the Indians would have to win twice to make it to Sunday’s championship games.
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