Strickland Tosses a Gem

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Sawyer Strickland tossed a gem Sunday against Palm Beach Atlantic, giving a taxed pitching staff a needed break.

Less than 24 hours and 10 different hurlers in Saturday’s loss at Nova Southeastern, the Indians’ offense provided plenty of run support for the Salisbury, North Carolina native.

Catawba improved to 2-1 on the season with the 8-2 victory over Palm Beach Atlantic, which dropped to an identical record.

Both of the runs Strickland allowed were unearned. He scattered five hits, walking two and striking out four over eight innings.

A five-run fifth inning, which saw the Indians send 10 men to the plate, busted the 3-2 game open. Neither team scored over the final four innings.

For the second-consecutive game, Catawba scored first when Jackson Raper delivered his first of three hits on the day with a two-out single. Jeremy Simpson scored from second.

A triple, double and single counted for two more runs in the fourth, padding the Indians’ lead at 3-0.

Helped by two errors on the same play in the home-half of the fourth, the Sailfish scored their only two runs of the afternoon. Only five men reached base over the final five innings, with one making it past first. A lead-off walk and a two-out single in the fifth was the only time Palm Beach Atlantic threatened to add to its run total.

Strickland started for the fourth time in his career and recorded his first win. Trent Montgomery worked a perfect ninth in relief of Strickland, sitting the Sailfish down in order. He fanned the first batter he faced and induced a ground out to second before the final hitter of the day weakly popped out to third.

Matt Leslie began the game on the bump for Palm Beach Atlantic, allowing six hits, three runs and striking out four in four innings of work. Brad Vanasdlen picked up the loss and gave up five runs on two hits, two walks and hit a batsman. The only out he recorded was by strikeout.

Raper went 3-for-5, including a triple, with two runs and one RBI. DJ Laxton registered a multi-hit game with two singles, driving in three. Simpson, Hunter Shepherd, Joe Butts and Robbie Cowie add a base hit each. Shepherd and Butts knocked in two runs apiece.

Brandon Seltzer went 2-for-4 and scored a run. Riley Herold accounted for the other run. Connor Rowland, Sean Houck and Marcos Perez registered the other three knocks.

Catawba goes for the two-game sweep at Palm Beach Atlantic Monday at 11 a.m., concluding the Indians’ four-game road trip.

Top first: (CAT 1-0) – Simpson laid down a one-out bunt down the third-base line for a single and stole second. Raper delivered a two-out single up the middle, plating Simpson.

Top fourth: (CAT 3-0) – Raper led off with a triple to right center and came home on Shepherd’s double to center. He came home on a two-out single back through the box from Laxton

Bottom fourth: (CAT 3-2) – Herold worked a lead-off walk and moved to second on a single to left by Seltzer. Brandon Smith dropped down a sacrifice bunt and reached first on a throwing error by the pitcher, advancing to second. A second throwing error on the play, this time by the second baseman, moved him to third. Herold and Smith crossed the plate with unearned runs.

Bottom fifth: (CAT 8-2) – With one out, Simpson reached after being hit-by-pitch and moved to second when Mitchem worked a walk. Raper followed with a single, loading the bases. Shepherd picked up a run-batted-in with a walk. Raper and Mitchem scored on Butts double to left center. A second hit-by-pitch in the inning, loaded the bases again with Cowie being the recipient. Butts and Shepherd came in on a two-RBI single to center by Laxton.

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