Whitley's Gem Sends Baseball to Final Day at Region Tournament


MOUNT OLIVE, NC -- Catawba got another pitching gem to avoid elimination at the 2012 NCAA II Southeast Region Baseball Tournament with an 11-0 victory over seventh-ranked Armstrong on Saturday afternoon at Scarborough Field.  Saturday is was junior Ross Whitley (Mooresville, NC/Lake Norman HS) who threw a three-hit shutout and posted a career-high 14 strikeouts to send the 21st-ranked Catawba Indians into the final day of the tournament on Sunday.

Catawba (41-15), seeded-fifth, will face Tusculum in another elimination game on Sunday.  The Indians will have to beat the second-seeded Pioneers and then either Tusculum again or Francis Marion, if the Patriots defeat Tusculum in the final game on Saturday.  Armstrong, who was seeded third, finishes its season at 41-16.

Whitley got an early lead on a two-run single by Garrett Furr (Gold Hill, NC/Mt. Pleasant HS) in the top of the first and never let the Pirates in the game.  Brett Underwood (Greensboro, NC/SW Guilford HS) doubled home two more runs in the third with two outs for a 4-0 Catawba lead.

Armstrong got its first baserunner in the third on a walk by Will Thomas and then put two runners on after a single by Casey Maloney.  Whitley worked out of trouble with a fly out and turned it back to the Catawba bats that pounded out 15 hits on the afternoon.

Julio Zubillaga (China Grove, NC/Carson HS) added two more runs for the Indians with a single in the fifth and an error by the Pirates in the sixth upped the margin to 7-0.  All doubt on the outcome was removed in the seventh when Keaton Hawks (Lexington, NC/E. Davidson HS) cleared the bases with a three-run triple for a 10-0 edge.  Chris Dula (Troutman, NC/S. Iredell HS) capped the scoring as he followed Hawks’ hit with a single.

Whitley took a one-hitter into the seventh before allowing a leadoff single to Chris Zittrouer and a two-hit to Thomas.  He once again got a fly ball to end the frame.  The junior walked two and hit a batter.

Furr and Cameron Beard (Conover, NC/Bunker Hill HS) each collected three hits for the Indians.  Furr drove in two and scored twice.  Ryan Bostian (Kannapolis, NC/S. Rowan HS/Montreat) and Ethan Satterfield (Madison, NC/McMichael HS) each had two hits and scored twice.  Zubillaga joined the multi-hit efforts with a pair of hits and two RBI.

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