Baseball

Baseball Falls at No. 22 Nova Southeastern 10-6

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DAVIE, Fla. – Early season non-conference games against tough competition provides adversity and a good litmus test for the season.

Catawba (1-1) and No. 22 Nova Southeastern (2-0) produced an epic battle Saturday, lasting nearly four hours until the Sharks posted four runs in the eighth inning and prevailing 10-6 at the NSU Baseball Complex.

On a day when Head Coach Jim Gantt utilized 10 pitchers, his Indians failed to hold on to two different leads as the Sharks tallied at least one run in each of their final five at bats.

In the decisive eighth inning, Garrett Wolforth followed Nathan Chevalier’s lead-off double with a two-bagger, plating the eventual game-winning run for the Sharks. Wolforth scored on a sac fly and Ian Acevado, who singled and stole second, touched home on an RBI single by Samuel Duran. He swiped third and capped the scoring by advancing home on a throw that got away from the Indians catcher and sailed into left field.

Through three innings, Bryan Ketchie kept NSU off the scoreboard and was staked to a 3-0 lead, before giving up one in the fourth. Gantt made one of his many trips to the mound with two outs and two on. The Sharks loaded the bases when Brandon Chinea was hit by a pitch but they were unable to do anymore damage.

Preseason All-South Atlantic Conference third baseman Jackson Raper deposited Jarret Krzyzanowski’s first pitch of the second inning over the right—centerfield wall, giving the Indians the early 1-0 lead.

Catawba extended its lead to 3-0 in the fourth, before Nova Southeastern began to chip away with one in the fourth and another in the fifth. The Sharks grabbed their first lead of the day at 4-3 with two runs in the sixth, despite the ball never leaving the infield.

The Indians regained the lead in the top of the seventh with three runs but that would be all the offense could muster. The Sharks’ bullpen tossed scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth.

Irisarri benefitted with a fortunate hop over the mitt of Shepherd’s mitt at first, bounding into shallow right field, plating Mike Rojas and Bryan Diaz.

ON THE MOUND: Southpaw Ketchie went the first 3.2 innings, allowing one run on four hits, hitting two batters, walking another and fanning one.

Trent Montgomery faced two hitters in 0.1 innings, hitting one with a pitch. Greg Brown gave up one run, with one hit and one walk in a third of an inning. DJ Laxton fanned two and did not allow a baserunner in 0.2 innings of work.

Robbie Cowie gave up three runs on two hits and one walk in the sixth. Riley Myers retired two in the seventh, giving up one run, one hit and striking out one. Sawyer Strickland recorded the final out in the seventh, surrendering one hit.

Caleb Link took the loss, after allowing both batters he faced to get a hit and score. Pearce Wilhelm gave up two runs on one hit and one hit batter in a third of an inning. Bryson Linkous was the 10th Indians’ pitcher of the day and fanned one, walked one and retired two in the eighth.

Krzyzanowski went four innings, surrendering three runs (one earned), five hits, two walks, one hit batsman and striking out five. He was replaced by Schmidt, who allowed one and fanned one in an inning of work. Christian Demby worked one inning, before leaving with an injury, allowing one run, one walk and one strikeout.

JP Williams, who gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in two-thirds of a frame, fanning one. Joe Smeton retired the only batter he faced. Brock Minich picked up the win, tossing the final two innings, allowing one hit, two walks and striking out two.

LEADING THE INDIANS:
Shepherd went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Raper’s one hit in three appearances was his first homer of the season. Jacob Nester scored twice and Wilkinson drove in two, in his first appearance in an Indian uniform.

NOVA SOUTHEASTERN’S LEADERS:
Chevalier went 3-for-5 at the plate, scoring once. Rojas and Irisarri recorded a multi-hit game with two hits each. Irisarri drove in two and Acevedo scored twice.

UP NEXT:
Catawba opens a two-game series in West Palm Beach, Florida against Palm Beach Atlantic Sunday at 1 p.m.

HOW THEY SCORED:
Top second: (CAT 1-0) Raper led off with a homer.

Top fourth: (CAT 3-0) Morrison walked and moved to second when Nester laid down a two-out bunt. Both runners scored on a throwing error by the Sharks’ pitcher. After a base-running mistake left a runner on first and two outs, Jacob Nester laid down a perfectly placed bunt, forcing the third baseman to put in his pocket instead of risking a bad throw. Krzyzanowski’s errant throw went wide of the covering first baseman and down into the right-field corner, allowing Henderson Lentz to reach. Cameron Morrison scored from second and Nester came all the way around from first.

Bottom fourth: (CAT 3-1) Andrew Labosky and Rojas hit back-to-back doubles, with Labosky scoring on Rojas’ two bagger.

Bottom fifth: (CAT 3-2) After drawing a base-on-balls and moving to third on a double by Demby, Acevado scored when Duran reached on an error.

Bottom sixth: (NSU 4-3) Irisarri won a footrace with the pitcher beating the second baseman’s throw for an infield single. After a balk by Catawba’s hurler advanced him to second, he swiped third. Chinea reached on an infield chopper, scoring Isiarri. Chinea stole second and moved to third on a groundout by Chevalier. With two outs, Chinea scored on a wild pitch.

Top seventh: (CAT 6-4) Nester drew a four-pitch walk. He swiped second and moved up another 90 feet on a throwing error by the Sharks’ catcher. After a ground out, he scampered home on a passed ball. Jeremy Simpson and Heath Mitchem worked consecutive full-count walks. In his Catawba debut, Dylan Wilkinson produced a two RBI double to left, plating Simpson and Mitchem.

Bottom seventh: (TIED 6-6) Diaz walked opened the frame with a four-pitch base-on-balls. And moved to third on a two-out double down the left-field line by Rojas. Daniel Irisarri hard single bounded off the Indians’ first basemen’s glove and into shallow right field plating both runners.

Bottom eighth: (NSU 10-6) Chevalier doubled inside the bag at first and down the right-field line to get the inning started. He scored the winning run on a two-base hit to center by Wolforth. Wolforth advanced to third on a wild pitch and Acevedo was hit by a pitch, putting runners on the corners. Diaz sac fly to center scored Wolforth. After Acevedo stole second, he scampered home on a base knock to left by Duran. Jeffrey Cyr walked putting runners on first and second. The duo executed a double steal and advanced another 90 feet when the catcher’s throw went into left.

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