Baseball

Baseball Takes Super Regional Opener at North Greenville

18_BB_ButtsJoePBA

TIGERVILLE, S.C. -- Catawba won the opener of a best two-of-three Southeast Super Regional 4-3 at North Greenville on Friday night at Ashmore Park. The Catawba Indians move to 46-12 on the year, while the Crusaders fall to 45-10. Game two is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. with a third game to follow if necessary.

After surrendering a 2-1 lead in the seventh, Catawba rallied back with a pair of runs in the eighth to grab the win. Payton Williams stuck out the side around a two-out hit batter in the ninth to post his 12th save.

North Greenville scored twice without a hit to go up 3-2 in the seventh. With one out, Adam Sasser walked then Jeffrey Chandler and Jared Williams were hit by pitches to load the bases. Chandler was hit on a 0-2 pitch and Williams on a 2-2 offering.

Lee Tuten tied the game, beating out a potential double play grounder to short that plated Sasser. That closed the night for Catawba starter Bryan Ketchie and when Riley Myers threw a wild pitch, the Crusaders led 3-2.

Catawba wasted no time in reclaiming the lead. The Indians greeted reliever Kipp Rollings with three straight singles to tie the game. Jeremy Simpson led off with a single and was followed by Hunter Shepherd. Joe Butts tied the game on his single. After an out, Shepherd stole third and scored on an errant throw for the eventual game-winning run.

Myers, who struck out a batter to end the seventh, worked a hitless eighth as he pitched around a two-out walk. He improved to 8-0 with the win. Ketchie gave up the three runs, but allowed just three hits with a walk and three strikeouts.

John Michael Faile gave North Greenville a quick lead with a two-out home run in the first. Catawba benefited from a two-out error to score twice in the third. Shepherd reached on an error that scored Bryce Butler, who had reached on an infield single with one out. Heath Mitchem had followed that single with a walk and would score on a wild pitch after the error.

Catawba out-hit the #2-ranked Crusaders 8-3. Butts and Jacob Nester each had two hits. Michael Giacone started for North Greenville and went seven innings. He allowed two unearned runs off four hits with seven strikeouts.

A win Saturday would send Catawba to its third DII National Finals in the last eight seasons. It would also tie the school record for wins in a season.

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