February 25, 2019
Indians Split DH with Wingate
SALISBURY, N.C. -- Bryan Ketchie spun the performance Catawba needed in the series finale against Wingate. The win provided Jim Gantt his 800th career victory with the Catawba Indians.
In the South Atlantic Conference opening series for both teams, the Bulldogs (10-4, 2-1) took the first two games, including an 8-6 decision in game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader at Newman Park.
In danger of opening league play at 0-3, the Indians (13-3, 1-2) rode the right arm of Ketchie, who improved his record to 4-0, to a 6-2 victory in the nightcap. The junior from Woodleaf, North Carolina tossed the first six innings, facing just four batters over the minimum. He allowed two runs on four hits and fanned seven.
Game 2: Catawba 7, Wingate 1
The Indians struck early and often, building a 6-0 lead after four innings. They recorded one in the first and third, while adding two in both the second and fourth innings.
After Ketchie retired the visitors on eight pitches in the opening frame, Henderson Lentz and Jeremy Simpson registered back-to-back singles to open the game for the Indians. Lentz gave Catawba a 1-0 edge, scoring on Heath Mitchem's grounded out.
An RBI triple by Jacob Nester and a single by Lentz in the second extended the lead to 3-0. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Joe Butts in the third scored Mitchem.
Nester doubled in the fourth and came in on a single by Simpson, who made the advantage 6-0 when Mitchem doubled to left.
Wingate trimmed the lead to 6-2 with solo homers by Jed Bryant in the fifth and McCann Mellett in the sixth.
Catawba got one back in the bottom of the inning when Nester scored from third on a wild pitch.
Peyton Williams relieved Ketchie and closed out the Bulldogs with a walk and strikeout in a scoreless seventh.
Lentz, Mitchem, Simpson and Nester registered two hits each, while Cameron Morrison and Jackson Raper added one a piece.
Raper registered a hit in both games and has recorded at least one in all 16 games this season. Simpson pushed his streak to double digits, reaching by a hit in 10 straight.
Wingate’s starting pitcher, Riley Isenhour (1-2), was saddled with the loss. In 2.0 innings of work, he allowed four runs on seven hits.
Bryant went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Mellett and Logan McNeely recorded one each.
Game 1: Wingate 8, Catawba 6
Catawba dropped the second game of the 3-game series after squandering two opportunities for a late rally.
After the Bulldogs grabbed their third lead of the game at 8-5 in the eighth, the Indians put three runners on in both the eighth and ninth innings, stranding four.
With one out in the eighth, Raper doubled to center field and Butts walked. A wild pitch moved them up 90-feet, opening first base, which Wingate elected to intentionally walk Hunter Shepherd, who represented the tying run.
The Bulldogs called on Lane Wildman to relieve Riley Edwards on the mound. Wildman worked out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts, dousing the uprising and leaving the bags full of Indians.
In the ninth, Lentz singled to left and a double by Simpson put runners on second and third with no outs. Mitchem trimmed the deficit to 8-6 when he singled, scoring Lentz. Wingate’s Hunter Dula escaped the jam and closed out the contest when he coaxed Raper to ground into the Indians’ third double play of the game.
The Bulldogs' ninth-place hitter, Riley Clark led off the third with a homerun over the fence in right, giving the Bulldogs the 1-0 advantage.
Catawba grabbed a 2-1 lead in the home fourth when Raper’s single to right scored Simpson and Mitchem.
The teams traded the lead in the fifth with matching 3-run innings.
Bryant gave the Bulldogs a short-lived advantage with a 3-run homer to left center.
Catawba trailed 4-3 in the home half of the frame when Simpson stepped in the box with one on and two out. His two-run blast to left nudged the Indians back in front 5-4.
Wingate added three runs on four hits in the eight, going up 7-4, before Andrew Llewellyn tacked on an insurance run in the ninth with a homerun. It was the third long-ball of the game for the Bulldogs.
Riley Myers went the first five innings on the mound for the Indians and finished with a no-decision. He surrendered four runs on six hits and struck out seven. Sawyer Strickland took the loss, dropping to 3-1. He went 3.0 innings and gave up three runs on five hits and fanned four.
Raper went 3-for-5 at the dish, with two RBIs, while Lentz, Simpson and Mitchem collected two hits each.
Alex Rodriquez tossed the first 4.1 innings for Wingate, allowing three runs on three hits, two walks and fanning three. Brody McCullough picked up his first win of the season, tossing two scoreless frames. He gave up two hits; two walks and struck out three. Dula allowed a hit and recorded his first save of the season, before inducing the game-ending double play.
The Indians posted a 10-2 record in the 12-game home stand.
Catawba begins a four-game road trip Tuesday at Barton in Wilson, North Carolina. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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