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Hawks Homers as Baseball Falls in Regular-Season Finale

AIKEN, SC -- Host USC Aiken held off a late Catawba rally to post a 7-5 win in baseball action on Saturday afternoon at Hernandez Stadium.  The 15th-ranked Pacers improve to 36-14, while the Catawba Indians finish their regular season at 33-18.

Clinging to a 3-2 in the eighth, USCA pushed across four runs to extend its margin.  Tyler Moore’s three-run triple was the big blow.  The Indians mounted a threat in the ninth.  Paul Kronenfeld (Greensboro, NC/Woodberry Forest/Georgia Tech) doubled home a pair of runs to cut the lead to 7-4 with one out, but James Lynch was able to get a pair of groundouts to end the game.

Julio Zubillaga (China Grove, NC/Carson HS) had three hits for Catawba.  Keaton Hawks (Lexington, NC/E. Davidson HS) had two hits, including a home run, and had a pair of RBI.  Shaefer Shepard (Boca Raton, NC/Boca Raton HS/Francis Marion) took the loss and fell to 7-2.  Only one of the three runs he allowed was earned over five innings of work.

A home run by Ty Barkell put the Pacers on top 1-0 in the fourth.  USCA added two more in the fifth.  Hawks homered to lead off the Catawba sixth and Zubillaga would single home a run later in the frame to cut the deficit to 3-2.  It stayed that way until Aiken scored in the bottom of the eighth.

Barkell and Sean Miller both had three hits for USCA.  The Pacers collected 14 hits on the day with Kody Belcher and Matt Bosse adding two each.  Matt Hissong (5-2) went five and two-thirds innings to get the win.  He allowed just one earned run.

Catawba will next play in the NCAA II Southeast Regional which starts on May 15.  The site of the regional will be announced next weekend with Lander currently holding the top spot in the region.

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