Baseball

Catawba Cruises to DH Sweep of Mars Hill

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SALISBURY, N.C. -- Behind strong pitching and a dominating offensive performance, Catawba swept Mars Hill in Sunday's doubleheader.

Nine days into the 2019 baseball season, the Indians improved to 8-1, after throttling the Lions 15-0 and 11-1 at Newman Park. Mars Hill dropped to 3-4 on the campaign.

Hunter Shepherd led the hit parade for the hosts, going 5-for-6 at the dish, scoring six times and driving in another six. The only time he was retired was when Devin Mangum made a leaping catch, crashing into the leftfield brick wall. Dispite nearly injuring himself, Mangum held on for the putout.

In the two-game non-conference series, Catawba pounded out 27 hits, while the pitching staff allowed one run and seven hits in 16 innings of work.

Game One Recap (15-0):
After a scoreless opening frame, Catawba’s offense erupted with three multi-run innings in the team’s next four opportunities. They recorded four in the second and one in the third for a 5-0 lead. The onslaught continued with a six-run fourth and four more in the fifth, opening up a 15-0 cushion.

In the second, the first four batters reached as nine Catawba batters strolled to the plate in the frame.

Shepherd doubled and came around to score on Joe Butts single for the Indians lone run of the third.

The flood gates opened in the fourth when Catawba sent 11 batters to the plate, scoring six on five hits. Shepherd figured in the offensive production, blasting a tower fly ball over the 18-foot wall for a crushing grand slam.

For the third time in four innings, the entire lineup registered a plate appearance with the first six men reaching base and four crossing the plate.

On the mound, Riley Myers, DJ Laxton and Pierce Wilhelm combined to shutout the Lions. Myers picked up the win and improved to 2-0 on the season, tossing the first six innings, scattering five hits. He walked one and struck out six. Laxton walked two and fanned one in his scoreless seventh. Wilhelm allowed one base-on-balls and retired three by strikeout in two innings of action.

Game Two Recap (11-1):
Catawba sent 10 batters to the plate with half reaching base via base-on-balls handed out by Mars Hill’s starting pitcher Ryan Steffens. The Indians plated five, before Robbie was erased at home on a bang-bang play, ending the first inning.

A walk, an error, two wild pitches and a single accounted for the Indians' two runs in the third.

Catawba increased its advantage to 11-0 in the next frame with four runs on four hits, before allowing the Lions to register their lone score of the afternoon.

Austin Purser worked a lead-off walk in the visitors' fifth inning and came around to score on an RBI single by Cody Cline.

Bryson Linkous worked 4.2 innings, registering his first win of the season. He surrendered one run on two hits and four walks, while striking out six. Trent Montgomery fanned the only batter he faced and Peyton Williams tossed the final 2.0 innings. Williams struck out the five of the seven hitters he faced.

Up Next:
Shippensburg visits Newman Park Friday for the first of a three-game weekend series. Friday's first pitch is at 3 p.m., with Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.

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