Baseball Takes Series at LR With 1-0 Win on Sunday


HICKORY, N.C. -- Jeremy Simpson (Cleveland, N.C./W. Rowan) scored on a wild pitch in the eighth inning and 21st-ranked Catawba won the rubber game of a three-game series with Lenoir-Rhyne 1-0 in South Atlantic Conference baseball action on Sunday afternoon at Bears Field.  The Catawba Indians improve to 13-4 overall and 5-1 in the SAC, while the 26th-ranked Bears fall to 14-5 and 3-3.

Catawba’s Hunter Shepherd (Salisbury, N.C./Homeschool) and Lenoir-Rhyne’s Hunter Martin faced off in a pitcher’s duel that saw neither starter factor in the decision.  Both pitched six shutout innings and allowed four hits.  Shepherd walked none and fanned four, while Martin walked three and struck out six.

Scoring chances were at a minimum over those first six innings.  The Bears did have runners at the corners with one out in the fifth, but Shepherd got out of the inning with a strikeout and a grounder to first.  The Indians loaded the bases in the sixth after a pair of two-out walks, but a flyout ended the threat.

Catawba finally broke through in the eighth off reliever Landon Whitson (1-2).  Simpson led off with a single and moved to second after a one-out wild pitch.  Simpson moved to third on a ground out by Nick Coble (Concord, N.C./Mt. Pleasant/Florence-Darlington) then came home on a two-out wild pitch.

Cody Fitch (Shelby, N.C./Shelby/UNCG) got the win for Catawba, improving to 2-0.  He entered in the seventh and after a leadoff walk and sacrifice, he fanned the final two batters.  After two strikeouts in the eighth, Marcus Shumaker doubled.  Bryan Blanton (Albemarle, N.C./Albemarle) got a strikeout to end the inning then danced around trouble as the Bears threatened in the ninth.

Zach Jacobs led off the LR ninth with a single and went to second on a one-out single by Zack Shoemaker.  Fred Wadsworth moved Jacobs to third on a fly out to right, but Blanton closed the game out as he got pinch-hitter Josh Kent to ground out to third to record his fourth save.

Jacob Nester (Kernersville, N.C./E. Forsyth/Chowan) had the only multi-hit game for Catawba, collecting two of the six Indian hits.  Jacobs and Shoemaker each had two hits for the Bears, who had seven as a team.

Catawba next makes a mid-week swing to Florida to face Florida Tech on Tuesday at 3 pm and Saint Leo on Wednesday at 6 pm before returning home to host Coker in a weekend series that will begin on Friday night.

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