Baseball opens SAC play with sweep of Mars Hill

MARS HILL, NC – Catawba College picked up a double-header sweep of Mars Hill to open the 2004 SAC regular season on Saturday afternoon at Henderson Field. The Tribe, grabbed a 10-9 win in 10 innings, in game one, and completed the day with 9-8 in game two. The Indians improved to 15-8 on the season and 2-0 in the conference, the Lions drop to 6-15, 0-2 in the SAC.The first game was decided in extra innings after Mark Smith (Browns Summitt, NC) hit a two-run homerun in the top of the sixth to break a 6-6 tie. MHC took a big lead scoring six runs in the third inning highlighted by a three-run homerun from Matt Reed (Tampa, FL) and doubles by Joe Castagner (Bushnell, FL) and Lane Strobel (Walkersville, MD). The Indians answered with a couple of runs in the fourth inning and a single run in the fifth to cut the Lions’ lead to 6-3. Then in the eighth inning, Jeff Boyles (Pinnacle, NC) drove in Nick Lefko (Faith, NC) to make the score 6-4. In the top half of the ninth inning, Jimbo Davis (Salisbury, NC) hit a homerun to tie the game at 6-6. His homerun scored Matt Baker (Charlotte, NC) who had reached base earlier in the inning by hitting a double. Mark Smith led Catawba going 1-for-5 with three RBI. Matt Smith was 2-for-3 with one RBI. Brian Hatley (Salisbury, NC) picked up the win (1-1) pitching the final two innings of the game. He allowed only two hits and no runs facing eight batters. Strobel led the Lions going 3-for-6 with a run scored and a double. Reed was 1-for-4 with a three-run homerun. John Quail (Boonsboro, MD), Castagner, and Trinity Phillips (Mars Hill, NC) each recorded two hits in the loss. Chris Merchant (Front Royal, VA) took the loss (0-4) for Mars Hill throwing the final three innings of the game. Game two was just as close as the first contest. The Indians prevailed by a single run leaving with a 9-8 victory. Matt Baker gave Catawba a 2-0 lead after belting a two-run shot in the top of the first inning. MHC answered in the bottom of the inning after Reed singled to center to score Strobel. The Lions then went up 3-2 in the third inning after Castagner hit a sacrifice fly to score Jason Yelton (Burnsville, NC) and then Matt Russell (Chapel Hill, NC) singled to drive in Strobel. Castagner then gave the Lions a 6-2 advantage by hitting a three-run shot in the fourth inning. The Indians answered plating six runs in the fifth to take an 8-6 lead. The inning was highlighted by a three run triple from Thomas Giles (Lynchburg, VA). Russell hit a solo homerun to lead off the bottom half of the sixth and cut the deficit to 8-7. Matt Smith then hit a solo homer in the sixth to give the Indians a 9-7 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, Reed singled to center to score Strobel for his third run of the game to bring the Lions within one, 9-8. After holding Catawba scoreless in the top half of the seventh, Jeff Mayo (Enfield, CT) singled to lead off the inning and give the Lions a final chance. Zach Evans (Greensboro, NC) then struck out the side to pick up his second save of the season. Baker led Catawba going 3-for-4 with a homerun and three RBI. Giles went 2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI. Nick Mayle (Landis, NC) picked up the win (3-1) throwing 1.1 innings in relief. Strobel had another stellar game for the Lions going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a double, his sixth on the season. Reed and Russell each had two hits and two RBI in the loss. Chris Pachik (Palm Harbor, FL) took the loss (1-4) on the mound for MHC. The teams will conclude the three-game set tomorrow with a single nine-inning game at 1:00 p.m. #####

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