May 14, 2015
Baseball Holds Off North Greenville in Regional Opener
THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Catawba outlasted North Greenville to grab a tight 4-3 win in the final game of the opening day of the 2015 NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament at Finch Field. The top-seeded Catawba Indians, ranked 12th in NCAA II, improve to 41-13, while the Crusaders, seeded-sixth, fall to 29-24.
Catawba will next play Georgia College on Friday at 3 pm. North Greenville will face Wingate in an elimination game at 11 am on Friday.
North Greenville starter Ryne Frankoff (4-3) kept Catawba hitless over the first three innings, but back-to-back singles by Austin Stilley and Chance Bowden brought home the game’s first run in the fourth. Will Albertson was hit by a pitch to start the inning and came around to score on Bowden’s single to left.
The Catawba Indians tacked on three unearned runs in the fifth. Blake Houston reached on an error with one out and Luke Setzer followed with a single. A walk to Albertson loaded the bases. Houston would take it upon himself to give Catawba a second run as he stole home. T.J. Wharton plated Setzer with a sacrifice fly and the final run came home on a triple by Dylan Richardson.
North Greenville got back in the game quickly as Allen Staton followed Jae Roberts’ leadoff walk in the sixth with a two-run homer to center. The Crusaders inched within a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Roberts after three one-out singles.
The Crusaders got a runner to second in the eighth, but Ryan McClintock got two big strikeouts before a ground out to keep the Indians on top. In the ninth, Bryan Blanton gave up a leadoff single, but picked the runner of first. Following a walk, the Crusaders ran into another out when Josh Black was caught stealing. Blanton fanned Roberts to end the game and post his second save.
Catawba managed just six hits, two from Bowden, but pushed across enough runs to take the opening win. Craig Brooks started and threw four shutout innings on three hits before departing. His four strikeouts gave him 147 on the season to tie the school mark currently shared with Brian Boltz.
Russ Weiker (4-2) got the win. He gave up two runs on one hit with a pair of strikeouts over two innings. The Indians used three pitchers to get out of the seventh then McClintock handed the ball to Blanton for the final inning.
No Crusader had more than one hit. Staton had two RBI on his homer. Frankoff allowed all four runs, but just one was earned over his five innings. He surrendered four hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Matt Laurens threw one shutout frame, while John Leopard closed out the final two scoreless innings.
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