Baseball

Baseball Nails Down Second Straight Series Sweep

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BREVARD, N.C. -- Catawba completed a three-game sweep of host Brevard in South Atlantic Conference baseball action by taking a 9-8 decision on Sunday afternoon at Coan Field.  The Catawba Indians survived five errors to post their 10th straight win and improve to 23-11 overall and 13-5 in the SAC.  The Tornados fall to 12-27 and 3-15.

For the third straight game, the Indians sweated through the final out with the tying run either on base or at the plate.  Bryan Blanton (Albemarle, N.C./Albemarle) recorded his second save of the series and fourth of the year, getting the final out Sunday on a fly ball with runners at first and third.

The Tornados struck for a run in the first, but Catawba stormed back in the second as the first four batters of the inning recorded hits.  Bryce Fowler (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood/Presbyterian) followed a leadoff single from Chance Bowden (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) with a home run and the Indians led 2-1.  Jeremy Simpson (Cleveland, N.C./W. Rowan) would add a RBI single and Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C./E. Rowan) a run-scoring double for a 4-1 edge.

Catawba answered two Brevard runs in the third with a pair in the fourth.  Both runs scored when Will Albertson (Sophia, N.C./Randleman/Campbell) bounced into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded that included a throwing error.  Brevard chased starter Connor Johnson (Rockwell, N.C./E. Rowan) with a pair of runs in the fourth and tied it in the fifth off reliever DJ Laxton (Asheboro, N.C./E. Randolph).

The Indians regained the lead in the seventh as Jake Kimble (Concord, N.C./Mt. Pleasant/Liberty) doubled home two on a 3-2 pitch with two outs.  Dylan Richardson (Randleman, N.C./Randleman/Appalachian St.) doubled home Kimble for a 9-6 lead.

As it did twice in Saturday's doubleheader, Brevard pushed the Indians until the final out.  The Tornados scored twice in the eighth before Blanton came on to get the final out with runners at second and third.  In the ninth, Caleb Jones led off with a single and was sacrificed to second.  Following a walk, Blanton got a ground out then the fly ball to right to end the game.

Laxton (2-0) grabbed the win as he allowed three runs (two earned) over four and a third innings.  He walked none and fanned two.  Bowden and Simpson led the offense as each picked up three hits for the Indians.  Albertson extended his hitting streak to 17 games.

Jones and Hunter Donaldson both had four hits for the Tornados.  Brennan Allen drove in two runs and Ryan Smith scored three times.  Jay Phillips (2-3), who pitched the final five innings for Brevard, took the loss.

Catawba returns home for non-conference action on Tuesday, hosting Mount Olive at 5 pm.

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