May 1, 2015
Wharton's Sac Fly Lifts Baseball to 12-inning Win at Aiken
AIKEN, S.C. -- A sacrifice fly by T.J. Wharton (Lutz, Fla./Bishop McLaughlin HS/Guilford Tech) in the top of the 12th helped ninth-ranked Catawba down host USC Aiken 3-2 in baseball action on Friday night at Hernandez Stadium. The win improves the Catawba Indians to 39-12, while the Pacers fall to 33-15.
USC Aiken had battled back from a 2-0 deficit with single runs in the eighth and ninth to force extra innings. In the 12th, Emmitt Carden (Whispering Pines, N.C./Union Pines HS) was hit by a pitch to start the inning and went to second on a passed ball. Bryan Blanton (Albemarle, N.C./Albemarle HS) sacrificed him to third where he scored on a fly ball to center by Wharton.
The Pacers got singles by Randy Luckett and Cory Bryant to start the bottom of the 12th then Blanton came back with a pair of strikeouts. Following a walk to Chaz Pal, Blanton got Ty Barkell to fly out to center to end the game.
Blanton posted the win to improve to 2-2. He tossed two scoreless innings on two hits and a walk with five punch outs. James Lynch (3-2) took the loss for USCA, tossing three innings of relief and giving up a run on one hit with a pair of strikeouts.
Both starters were electric as they combined for 25 strikeouts. Craig Brooks (Monroe, N.C./Parkwood HS) pitched into the eighth and allowed a run on seven hits with five walks and a dozen strikeouts for the Indians. Forrest Koumas went nine innings and scattered five hits while allowing two run for USCA. He walked none and fanned 13.
Catawba broke a scoreless tie in the sixth. After a pair of strikeouts to start the inning, Blake Houston (Mt. Ulla, N.C./S. Rowan HS) singled with two outs. Kyle Smith (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley HS) followed with a two-run homer.
Aiken finally broke through on Brooks in the eighth. Tyler Moore started the frame with an infield single and went to second on a ground out. With two outs, Zack Moon walked and TJ Costen singled to plate Moore and cut the Catawba lead to 2-1. Ryan McClintock (Matthews, N.C./Providence HS) entered and picked Costen off first to end the inning.
In the ninth, Sean Miller led off with a hit and was sacrificed to second. After a ground out, Kody Belcher singled to center to score Miller and tie the game.
Catawba managed just six hits and did not draw a walk, but did benefit from the one hit batter which led to the winning run. Dylan Richardson (Randleman, N.C./Randleman HS/Appalachian St.) had two hits, including a double for the Indians. Belcher and Luckett each had two of 11 hits for the Pacers, who also walked six times, but left 10 on base.
The teams will finish a two-game series with a 2 pm contest on Saturday.
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