Baseball

Ketchie's Gem Keeps Baseball Unbeaten at SAC Tournament

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KODAK, Tenn. -- Catawba got a stellar pitching performance from Bryan Ketchie as the 11th-ranked Catawba Indians shut out Lincoln Memorial 8-0 on Saturday night in the Pilot Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament at Smokies Stadium. Catawba, seeded third, improves to 40-12, reaching 40 wins for the ninth time since 2004. The second-seeded Railsplitters drop to 33-16 and fall into the elimination bracket on Sunday.

Ketchie (8-1) went the distance and allowed only five hits with one walk. He would fan six and strand 10 Railsplitter baserunners. The junior twice got out of bases-loaded jams, the best work came in the fourth after the first three LMU baserunners reached. Ketchie responded with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to exit the frame unscathed.

The lefty was nearly flawless after the fourth. Two LMU runners reached via errors before Alex Allen singled with two outs in the seventh. Scooter Ray’s one-out double in the ninth was the last hit allowed by Ketchie, who retired the final two batters on a fly out and a foul out.

Catawba’s offense got a run home in the third. Bryce Butler led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. He came around to score on a two-out single by Hunter Shepherd. That was all the Indians could get off LMU starter Matt Mullenbach, who fanned 13 Indians, until the seventh.

Mullenbach (3-5) finally exited after six and a third after Heath Mitchem reached on an error and Jeremy Simpson walked. Another Shepherd single doubled the lead to 2-0 after seven.

The Indians went to work on the LMU pen. The first three batters of the eight reached and Butler made it 3-0 on a sacrifice fly. Mitchem’s single upped the lead to 4-0. Catawba broke the game open with four in the ninth. Jackson Raper and Jacob Nester singled home runs then Mitchem capped the frame with a two-run single.

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 Joe Butts each had three hits for Catawba. Mitchem had two hits and three RBI.

Next for Catawba is a noon matchup on Sunday with tenth-ranked Newberry. Both teams enter the game without a loss in the tournament.

Video: Highlights, LMU vs. Catawba - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_Bt-Kw52Wc&list=PL3OMjIsXbHfyjCMy8iE1EiBtkYZcfZsGN&index=28

Video: Jim Gant Interview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzGfuFZVVN8&feature=youtu.be

Video: Bryan Ketchie Interview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vUM3KEZsJY&feature=youtu.be

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