Baseball stays alive at SAC Tournament

NEWBERRY, SC -- Catawba College split a pair of games at the 2003 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament at Kirkland Field on Friday. The Indians fell in a winnerís bracket game 17-2 to top-seeded Carson-Newman, but rallied from a 3-1 deficit to top Newberry 10-3 to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament. Catawba advances to Saturday's 4:30 p.m. game to take on the winner of that day's 9 a.m. Wingate/Tusculum match-up.Just a half-hour after dropping a 17-2 decision to Carson-Newman, the Indians found the strength to comeback and defeat Newberry in the third elimination game on Friday night. Catawba scored four in the eighth and five in the ninth to overtake Newberry in the game. Catawba (30-24) also got a strong day from hurler Matt Fairweather (Lenoir, NC). The dominating right hander tossed the seventh complete-game of the tournament and allowed only six hits and one walk through the full nine innings in the win (8-4). He struck out eight hitters and allowed three runs, but none were earned as Newberry scored them all in the third on a pair of errors in that inning. Newberry (25-29) started that third inning with a leadoff hit to right field by Travis Moore (Blythewood, SC). Wade Roof (West Columbia, SC) drew a walk and the two later moved up on a throwing error by Catawba to get Moore home and put Roof at third with no one out. An out later, designated hitter Gilmore Stevens (Edgefield, SC) singled to put runners at the corners. Dustin Smith (Conway, SC) reached on another infield error to score Roof while Stevens came around on an RBI single by Stuart Kay (Greer, SC). Newberry starter Pete Stuppiello (Gilbert, SC) threw seven and one-thirds innings of strong baseball, with seven strikeouts and only seven hits with one walk. Catawba did not get anyone past second base in the first five innings, but in the sixth Chad Hill (Bennett, NC) hit a leadoff home run down the left field line to put Catawba on the board and close the Newberry lead to 3-1. Hill leads Catawba with a .462 average (6-for-13) in three games of the tournament so far. Catawba loaded the bases in that inning, but Stuppiello stranded the three runners on base. Fairweather allowed only three baserunners past that three-run third for Newberry. He retired 17 of the final 18 Newberry batters to give his offense a chance to come back. Catawba did deliver with four hits and two walks in the eighth to score four runs, the go-ahead run scoring on a two-RBI single by designated hitter Chris Foy (South Mills, NC) to make it 4-3 Catawba. The visiting Indians hit two singles, a double, and drew two more walks in the ninth to plate five and blow the game open. First baseman Matt Baker (Charlotte, NC) knocked two of them in with an RBI single up the middle. Reliever Tyson Azevedo (North Charleston, SC) took the loss for Newberry (3-3). In two-thirds of an inning, he allowed three hits and a two walks and three earned runs in the loss. Catawba third baseman Mark Smith (Browns Summitt, NC) and center fielder Spence Southard (Greensboro, NC) were 3-for-5 in the contest to lead the way for the Indians. In a winnerís bracket semifinal earlier in the afternoon, Carson-Newman pounded out 17 runs and 18 hits en route to the 17-2 win. The Eagles saw a 4-for-4 day from the conference's leading RBI man Ricky Luttrell (Knoxville, TN) who drove in a tournament-high eight runs on a sacrifice fly, three RBI singles and a two-run homer. Carson-Newman was retired in order only twice in the game, and scored at least one run in each of the other seven innings off of seven different Catawba pitchers. Jonathan Mary (Maryville, TN) scored a tournament-high five times and reached in each of his six plate appearances for the Eagles. Starter Ryan West (Urbana, OH) pitched a complete-game victory (7-1) for the Eagles. He allowed 12 hits, but no walks and six strikeouts with the two runs scored against him. Catawba starter Chris Abernathy (Claremont, NC) took the loss (5-5). He gave up four hits and two walks and five runs in an inning and two-thirds. He also hit a batter and balked in the game. Catawba scored two runs in the seventh on a two-RBI double to left center by Blair Reynolds (King, NC), which was his only hit of the game. Southard and Baker were both 3-for-5 for the Indians. #####

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