Baseball Blanks Newberry Moves to Monday's Final


KODAK, Tenn. -- Catawba moved into Monday’s championship day of the Pilot Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament as the lone undefeated squad after blanking Newberry 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at Smokies Stadium. The Catawba Indians, seeded third and ranked 11th in NCAA II, improves to 41-12. The top-seeded and 10th-ranked Wolves, now 40-13, will have to battle out of the elimination bracket on Sunday night to make it to Monday.

Jeremy Simpson provided the offense with a two-run homer in the third, while three Indian hurlers combined for a five-hit shutout. It marked the second straight shutout at the tournament for Catawba, which ran its scoreless innings streak to 19.

Hunter Shepherd (6-4) pitched into the sixth for Catawba. He gave up three hits with a walk and five strikeouts over his five and a third innings. Shepherd retired the first seven batters of the game  before an error and a hit gave the Wolves its first opportunity. After a perfect fourth, the lefty worked around a leadoff walk and another error in the fifth.

Back-to-back one-out singles by Newberry in the sixth got Shepherd out of the game, but Riley Myers came in and got a pick off at first and a ground out to end the frame. He worked a perfect seventh then allowed a pair of one-out singles in the eighth. The senior came back with a strikeout and a fly out to keep Newberry scoreless. Peyton Williams sat down the Wolves in order in the ninth to post his ninth save.

The only offense Catawba needed came in the third. With two outs, Heath Mitchem singled. Simpson stepped the plate and sent a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left for the game’s only runs. Simpson and Lee Poteat had two hits in the game for the Indians.

Charlie Fessler (6-5) took the loss for Newberry. He went seven innings and gave up the two runs off eight hits. He walked two and fanned four.

Catawba will face either top-seed Newberry or fifth-seed Wingate on Monday. The initial championship game is at 1 p.m. with a second game to follow, if necessary.




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