April 16, 2015
Baseball Gears Up For Final League Series
SALISBURY, N.C. -- The Catawba Indian baseball team enters the final weekend of league play assured of at least a share of the South Atlantic Conference Championship and the top seed for next weekend’s league tournament. It marks the third straight year that Catawba has claimed the SAC title. The Indians need one win over Tusculum or one loss by Newberry against Coker to claim the regular season outright.
Catawba enters the weekend ranked 11th by Collegiate Baseball and fifth by the NCBWA. The Indians are 33-9 overall and 21-5 in the SAC. Tusculum comes in with a 26-14 mark and a 17-9 conference record.
The Indians and Pioneers have played 69 previous times on the diamond and have been two of the more dominate programs in the SAC. Either Catawba or Tusculum have won or shared the league title in all but one season since 2004. Catawba holds a 38-31 edge against the Pioneers and have a 21-10 lead in games played at Newman Park.
Catawba took two of three from Mars Hill last weekend to secure its top spot in the SAC. T.J. Wharton hit three home runs over the final two games of the series, including a grand slam on Sunday. He had five RBI in the game two win on Saturday.
Shaefer Shepard was named the SAC Pitcher of the Week after he tossed a complete game on Saturday in the 10-1 victory. He allowed a run on six hits with seven strikeouts to improve to 8-2 on the year. Both Shepard and Craig Brooks share the national lead with the eight wins. Catawba’s trio of weekend starters, Brooks, Shepard and Connor Johnson, have combined to post a 21-3 record.
Will Albertson continues to lead the Catawba offense. The junior ranks third in the country with a .491 batting average. He has connected on 19 home runs and has driven in 70 in 42 games. T.J. Wharton jumped into double-digits in homers after last weekend as he stands on 10 for the year with 49 RBI. Blake Houston still leads the nation in walks and is second in runs scored with 63.
After getting to within two games of the Indians in the standings, the Pioneers have lost four of their past five league games. Tusculum lost the last two games of the Coker series and saw Brevard take two of three last weekend.
Chris Waylock leads the Pioneers in hitting with .366 average. Andrew Bowerman is hitting .359 with a team-high 10 doubles. He has a homer and 22 RBI. Jalen Shuffler has hit a team-leading five home runs and Jim Tolle leads the way with 26 RBI.
Devan Watts has been the top pitcher for Tusculum, racking up 42 innings in 17 appearances out of the pen. He has a 4-1 record with six saves and a 1.50 ERA. Placido Torres is 5-3 with 10 starts and 2.66 ERA. He has fanned 79 in 64 and a third innings.
Catawba will open SAC Tournament play next Friday in Forest City, N.C., at noon. The Indians will face the lowest seed remaining after games on Thursday that will feature the #5-seed vs. the #8-seed and the #6-seed vs. the #7-seed.
|No events scheduled until August 24|