Baseball

Hanes' Three-Run Homer Lifts Baseball to 5-4 Win Over #20 USC Aiken

16_BB_HanesMalachiLMU

SALISBURY, N.C. -- Malachi Hanes (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to lift host Catawba to a 5-4 win over 20th-ranked USC Aiken in baseball action on Wednesday night at Newman Park.  The win improved the Catawba Indians to 29-16, while the Pacers fell to 32-12. 

Pacer starter James Lynch had limited Catawba to just one hit, a Zach Almond (Richfield, N.C./N. Stanly/UNCG) homer in the second, through six innings.  In the seventh,  an error, a walk and a fielder's choice off the bat of Chance Bowden (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) produced a run to trim USC Aiken's lead to 4-2 and chased Lynch.

After another hit from Almond loaded the bases with no outs, Trevor Hutto got a strike out and double play ground ball to end the frame.  Heath Mitchem (Salisbury, N.C./Carson) had Bryan Blanton (Albemarle, N.C./Albemarle) combined to strand a Pacer runner at third in the eighth to help set the stage for Hanes' dramatics.

With one out in the eighth,  Dylan Richardson (Randleman, N.C./Randleman/Appalachian St.) was hit by a pitch and Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C./E. Rowan) reached on an infield single.  Nick Jobst (6-2) was brought in and recorded a strikeout for the second out.  Hanes would launch a 1-1 pitch over the light pole in right to put the Indians on top 5-4.

Blanton, who improved to 2-1, worked around a one-out hit and two-out walk in the ninth, getting a fly out to end the game. 

Zach Moon had put the Pacers on top with RBI double in the first before Almond's homer tied it.  A solo home run from Jonathan Banks restored Aiken's lead in the fourth.  Chaz Pal increased the lead to 4-1 with a two-run single off Avery Bowles (Thomasville, E. Davidson) in the fifth.  Bowles would retired the next five men he faced and Clay Young (Greensboro, N.C./Caldwell Academy) tossed a perfect seventh inning before giving way with one out in the eighth after surrendering a leadoff double.

Almond had two of Catawba's four hits.  Setzer and Hanes had the other two hits.  Bowden had his career-best hitting streak stopped a 21 games, but did have a RBI.  Pal had two of the five Aiken hits.

Catawba travels to Wingate for its final league series.  The three-game set with start on Friday at 6 pm.

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