April 27, 2015
Albertson Sets School and SAC Home Run Record in Loss at SAC Tournament
FOREST CITY, N.C. -- Wingate knocked off top-seeded Catawba twice on Monday afternoon to claim the 2015 South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament Championship at McNair Field. The Bulldogs won by the scores of 8-2 and 11-5 and improved to 32-21 on the year. The 12th-ranked Catawba Indians fell to 38-12.
Tournament MVP Thomas Spitz had three hits in each game on Sunday to lead Wingate to the title. The Bulldogs got an excellent start by Brett Morgan (7-3) in the opener, with seven and a third innings of two-hit ball, and an outstanding relief stint by Tyler Brown (8-4) , who tossed six innings to close out the final.
Catawba led 4-0 in the final game. Will Albertson (Sophia, N.C./Randleman HS/Campbell) hit his conference and school record 25th home run in the first and Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C./E. Rowan HS) capped a three-run second with a two-run homer.
Wingate chipped away at the deficit. Josh Clark homered in the bottom of the second and back-to-back doubles by Spitz and Bradley Brown tied the game in the third. Shane Billings singled home a run in the fourth to put Wingate ahead to stay. The Bulldogs broke the game open with five runs in the sixth that was capped by Brandon Brown's two-run homer.
The Indians didn't find much success against Tyler Brown, who allowed just a walk and two singles over his first four innings. Catawba did get a run in the eighth on doubles by Malachi Hanes (Charlotte, N.C./Butler HS) and T.J. Wharton (Lutz, Fla./Bishop McLaughlin HS/Guilford Tech). Tyler Brown would allow just the one run on five hits over his six frames.
Bradley Brown had three hits and four RBI, while Spitz had three hits and three RBI. Billings, Michael Godinez and Blake Prince each had two hits. Billings had a pair of RBI.
Albertson led Catawba with three hits. Wharton collected two hits.
Catawba also drew first blood in the opening game. After three straight walks to start the second inning, Setzer came through with a two-run single to give the Indians an early lead. Wingate came back to go on top in the fourth on home runs by Spitz and Colby Barnett.
Russ Weiker (Albemarle, N.C./S. Stanly HS/Liberty) kept Catawba close, allowing just those three runs over six innings. He departed after a leadoff walk in the seventh. Wingate would load the bases in the seventh after another walk and a bunt single. Godinez cleared the bases with a double and the Bulldogs were on their way for forcing the final game.
The Indians managed just three hits in the opener, two from Setzer. Morgan did walk six, but was able to work around all but two of them in the second. Spitz had two homers in the win, while Billings and Godinez collected two hits. Godinez joined Spitz with three RBI.
Catawba will have to wait on a possible at-large bid to the NCAA II Tournament. The Indians will travel to USC Aiken on Friday to face the Pacers in a crucial regional battle at 7:30 pm.
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