Shepard's Shutout Leads Baseball to Series Win at Tusculum


GREENEVILLE, TN -- Catawba and host Tusculum played to a split of a South Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader at Pioneer Park on Saturday afternoon.  Tusculum rallied in the opener for a 9-8 win in 13 innings, while the Catawba Indians claimed a 3-0 win in the nightcap.  Catawba now stands at 26-16 overall and 19-7 in the SAC.  The Pioneers are 26-16 and 14-12.

Shaefer Shepard (Boca Raton, FL/Boca Raton HS/Francis Marion) gave the Indians the series win with his masterpiece in the finale in a battle of Shepards.  The sophomore allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out 10 in the seven-inning compete game shutout.    Tusculum's John-Austin Shepard (4-5) allowed just three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in six innings. 

The Indians scored its first run in the third.  Blake Houston (Mt. Ulla, NC/S. Rowan HS) led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch.  Paul Kronenfeld (Greensboro, NC/Woodberry Forest HS/Georgia Tech) singled him home.  The duo would repeat the scenario with one out in the fifth, with Houston stealing second to set up the run.

The other run for Catawba came in the fourth.  Julio Zubillaga (China Grove, NC/Carson HS) led off with a double and scored on a one-out single by Craig Brooks (Monroe, NC/Parkwood HS).  Shepard, now 6-1, never let Tusculum get back into the game as he sat down the final 10 men he faced.

Catawba gave up a 7-0 lead after six innings in the opener.  Four key errors helped the Pioneers score seven unearned runs, including both in the 13th. 

The Indians, who saw TC get to extra inning with a pair of runs in the ninth, took an 8-7 lead in the top of the 13th.  Houston drove home Malachi Hanes (Charlotte, NC/Butler HS) with a two-out single.  The Pioneers were down to their last out when pinch-hitter Scott Gibson reached on an error to load the bases.  Jeremiah Tullidge walked to force in the tying run and Jalen Shuffler singled home the winning run on an 0-2 pitch.

The unearned runs gave another tough-luck loss to Sean Grant (Statesville, NC/W. Iredell HS), who fell to 0-6.  He had blanked the Pioneers for three prior innings and fanned six in three and two-thirds innings. 

A bases-loaded walk to Kronenfeld and a two-run single from Ethan Satterfield (Madison, NC/McMichael HS) put Catawba up 3-0 in the third.  The Indians added a run on a wild pitch in the fifth and used two errors to plate three more in the sixth for the 7-0 lead.

An error started the TC seventh and it was followed by a walk and two singles to chase Tribe starter John Tuttle (Kannapolis, NC/A.L. Brown HS).  Tuttle would surrender a dozen hits in six-plus innings, but just four runs and only one earned.

Catawba still held a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth.  Tusculum started with a pair of singles and a sacrifice moved the runners into scoring position.  After a hit batter, a throwing error plated the tying runs.

Catawba will enter the final weekend of the SAC season tied with Wingate atop the standings.  The Indians will host Carson-Newman, while Wingate entertains Lincoln Memorial.  Before the weekend, Catawba is set to host Barton on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Game 1 Box

Game 2 Box

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