Baseball

Baseball Rallies Past Tusculum to Open SAC Tournament

19_BB_MitchemHeathTC

KODAK, Tenn. -- Catawba rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to top Tusculum 5-4 in its Pilot Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament opener on Friday night at Smokies Stadium. Catawba, seeded third and ranked 11th in NCAA II, improve to 39-12 on the year. The Pioneers, seeded fourth, fall to 30-20.

Down 4-2, Heath Mitchem started the Catawba eighth with a single. A one-out single by Hunter Shepherd sent Mitchem to third and a walk by pinch-hitter Dylan Wilkinson loaded the bases. A wild pitch closed the margin to 4-3 and Jackson Raper followed with a two-run single that put the Indians on top.

Peyton Williams tossed a scoreless ninth with a pair of strikeouts to earn his eighth save. He allowed a two-out hit, but fanned the final batter to end the game. Riley Myers (7-0) grabbed the win with an inning and a third of relief. He gave up an unearned run in the eighth, but got out of further trouble by picking off a batter then posting a strikeout to end the frame.

Shepherd and Raper each had three hits for Catawba, who managed nine hits on the night. Mitchem had two with Simpson claiming the other. Mitchem scored twice and Raper had three RBI. Greg Brown started for the Indians and pitched into the fourth, allowing a run on three hits with five strikeouts.

Catawba took an early lead with a pair of runs in the first off SAC Pitcher of the Year, Charles Hall. Mitchem, Simpson and Shepherd each singled to load the bases. Mitchem scored on a double play ground out, while Raper singled home a run.

Tusculum scored a run in the second on a fielder’s choice ground out with the bases loaded then took the lead in the seventh on a two-out, two-run single by Nate Montgomery. An error led to the Pioneer run in the eighth, but Catawba rallied back in its half to take the win.

Montgomery had three of the nine Tusculum hits. Jarel McDade collected two. Hall (6-3) went the distance, allowing five earned runs off the nine hits. He walked two and fanned 11.

Catawba will next face Lincoln Memorial on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. WSAT Radio will carry the Catawba tournament game.

Highlights - Catawba v. Tusculum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax1kl_Z3MgE

Jim Gant Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkbQTCoVQIw&feature=youtu.be

Jackson Raper Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is8wD0ceVl4

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