Baseball Downs Young Harris in Regional Opener


NEWBERRY, S.C. -- Bryan Ketchie threw a complete game and Catawba broke open a close game with a five-run fifth as the Catawba Indians opened play at the NCAA II Southeast Region 2 Tournament with a 9-2 win over Young Harris on Thursday night at Newberry’s Smith Road Complex. Catawba (43-12) will next play second-seed and host Newberry on Friday night at 7 p.m. The Mountain Lions (35-20) will face Newberry at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

Ketchie got out of a second and third one-out jam in the first then settled down to blank the Mountain Lions for seven innings before allowing a two-run homer in the eighth. The junior would surrender just six hits and one earned run. Ketchie walked one and fanned seven.

Catawba struck first in the third. Hunter Shepherd plated the first run with a sacrifice fly that brought home Bryce Butler. Butler had led off with a walk, moved to second on a single by Jeremy Simpson and to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Joe Butts doubled the lead with a two-out double.

The Catawba fifth started quietly as the first two batters were retired. Jackson Raper started the outburst with a two-strike single. A single by Cameron Morrison and a walk to Lee Poteat loaded the bases. Jacob Nester walked the bases full to force home a run then Butler singled home two. Heath Mitchem capped the frame with a two-run triple.

That was plenty for Ketchie, who improved to 9-1. Mitchem and Morrison added RBI singles later in the game for the Indians. Morrison finished with three hits and Mitchem drove in two. Butler had two hits and two RBI, while Poteat scored twice.

Zavier Lushington accounted for the Young Harris run with his homer in the eighth. Dylan Gibeau (7-3) took the loss with four and two-thirds innings of work. He allowed six runs off seven hits with five walks and four strikeouts.

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