Baseball

Baseball Drops Into Elimination Bracket After Loss to LMU

KODAK, Tenn. -- Lincoln Memorial posted a 10-6 win over top-seeded Catawba in the winner’s bracket final of 2017 Pilot/Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Smokies Stadium.  The second-seeded Railsplitters, now 32-17, must be beaten twice on Sunday to be denied the tourney title.  The 20th-ranked Catawba Indians fall to 37-13 and will face an elimination game Saturday at 7:30 pm against either Newberry or Carson-Newman.

LMU took advantage of its opportunities to lead 3-2 after six innings.  A hit batter, stolen base and two-out single put the Railsplitters up 1-0 in the second.  LMU broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth after Muta Crusoe’s leadoff single was misplayed into a triple.  He would score on a groundout.  In the sixth, with the score tied, Logan Augustine stole second when the throw was not handled and scored on single.

The Indians took its only lead in the seventh.  Catawba loaded the bases with two out and Jeremy Simpson’s (Cleveland, N.C./W. Rowan) two-run single gave the top seed a 4-3 edge.

Four straight single to start the LMU seventh put the Railsplitters back on top 5-4.  A pair of two-out walks moved the lead to 7-4. 

Catawba rallied back as its first four batters of the eighth reached, capped by a two-run single from Bryce Fowler (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood/Presbyterian) that made it 7-6.  A strikeout and a double play groundout kept LMU in the lead.

The Railsplitters tacked on three more runs in the eighth on a three-run homer by Mason Ewers.  Chase Randolph nailed down his second save.  He allowed the single to Fowler in the eighth, but retired the rest of the batters he faced.

Dominic Morabito (7-4) got the win.  He allowed four runs off 10 hits over seven innings.  He walked one and fanned five.  Clay Young (Greensboro, N.C./Caldwell Academy) took the loss, falling to 4-1.  He got a double play to end the sixth, but allowed a pair of singles to open the seventh.

Fowler led Catawba at the plate with three hits and three RBI.  Simpson drove in three on two hits.  Luke Setzer (Salisbury, E. Rowan), Kyle Smith (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley) and Malachi Hanes (Charlotte, N.C./Butler) also had two hits.

Tyler Adams collected three hits for Lincoln Memorial and drove in a pair.  Crusoe added two hits and Ewers had three RBI on the one big swing.

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