March 26, 2016
Baseball Moves Into First After Sweep of Mars Hill
SALISBURY, N.C. -- Catawba completed a three-game sweep of visiting Mars Hill by taking both games of Saturday's South Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader at Newman Park. The Catawba Indians won 12-5 and 8-7 to improve to 20-11 overall and 10-5 in the SAC, moving into first place by a half game. The Lions fall to 22-13 and 7-8.
Catawba pounded out 17 hits in winning the opening game. Chance Bowden (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) set a school record with four doubles, Malachi Hanes (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) had two homers and Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C./E. Rowan) hit for the cycle. All three went 4-for-5 in the opener.
Mars Hill jumped on top on Even Rogers' solo homer in the first, but the Indians answered with a Setzer home run and a Bowden RBI double to lead 2-1 after an inning. Dylan Powers tied the game with home run for the Lions in the fourth only to see the Indians put up two in the home half.
Hanes led off the Catawba fourth with his first home run and Friday night's hero, Zach Almond (Richfield, N.C./N. Stanly/UNCG), singled home a run. Hanes connected for a two-run homer in his next at back to make 6-2 after five and Almond smacked his third homer of the series to push the Indian lead to 7-2 in the sixth. Hanes capped the four-run sixth with an RBI double to make it 10-2.
Setzer tripled to start the eighth to complete his cycle. The sophomore followed his first-inning homer with a single in the third and a RBI double in the sixth. Bowden set the doubles record later in the eighth. Almond finished just behind the four-hit trio with three hits.
Russ Weiker (Albemarle, N.C./S. Stanly/Liberty) came within an out of a complete game. He improved to 7-2 after going eight and two-thirds, giving up five runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts.
Rogers had three of the seven Lion hits. Logan Conley and Dalton Eisenbath had back-to-back solo homers with two outs in the ninth to chase Weiker. Hunter Boydston (4-3) took the loss, allowing seven runs off 11 hits over five innings.
The Indians built an 8-3 lead after five in the nightcap before holding on. Shaefer Shepard (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton/Francis Marion) came on to get the final out, striking out Phillip Carroll with the tying run on second to grab his first save.
Sean Grant (Statesville, N.C./W. Iredell) returned from an injury to make his first start since February 14. He pitched into the fourth and allowed three runs on nine hits with a strikeout. He allowed a two-run homer to Rogers in the first and exited after Eisenbath's lead off double in the fourth.
Connor Johnson (Rockwell. N.C./E. Rowan) earned the win to improve to 3-2. He got Catawba out of the fourth and worked a 1-2-3 fifth before finding trouble in the sixth as the Lions pushed across three runs. With two outs in the seventh, Conley walked and Eisenbath doubled to make it 8-7, but Shepard entered to shut the door.
Down 2-0, Almond singled home a run in the second and Bowden singled home a run in the third to tie the game. Kyle Smith (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley) followed Bowden's single with a three-run homer to put the Indians up 5-2. Jeremy Simpson (Cleveland, N.C./W. Rowan) had a two-run single in the fifth to make it 8-3.
Catawba got two hits from Hanes, Bowden and Smith. Johnson struck out six in his three and a third innings.
Eisenbath had four hits for Mars Hill, while Conley went 3-for-4. Christian Stampler joined Eisenbath and Rogers with a pair of RBI. Tom Mastrodonato (3-2) took the loss. He tossed four innings, allowing eight runs on nine hits.
Catawba is idle during the week and returns to action at Brevard for a weekend series that begins on Friday with a scheduled 3 pm first pitch.
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