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Pioneers swept by No. 5 Catawba on SAC opening day

Pioneers swept by No. 5 Catawba on SAC opening day

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Catawba College baseball team recorded 10 hits in each game en route to sweeping a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader over Tusculum University Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Park.

The fifth-ranked Catawba Indians (10-2, 2-0 SAC) won the first game 3-2 in 10 innings and captured the second contest, 7-4.  The loss snapped the Pioneers (9-6, 0-2 SAC) six-game winning streak.

Besides being the SAC opener, former Tusculum head coach had his No. 9 retired in pre-game ceremonies with many of his former players and assistant coaches in attendance. Jones coached the Pioneers from 1998-2018 and is the program's winningest coach with 705 victories.

Game 1: No. 5 Catawba 3, Tusculum 2 (10 innings)

Lee Poteat scored the game-winning run on a passed ball in the top of the 10th inning as Catawba edged Tusculum 3-2 in the SAC opener for both teams.  Each team finished with 10 hits, but the Indians capitalized on two TU errors and some untimely base-running miscues.

Jackson Raper, Cameron Morrison and Bryce Butler each finished with a pair of hits, while the Indians used six pitchers to secure the opening victory.

The Tusculum quartet of Bryson Ford, Fuzzy Furr, Luis Ezra and Brandon Trammell finished with two hits apiece.

Catawba jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Morrison was hit by a pitch and later scored on Butler's two-out, infield single.

Tusculum had runners at second and third with one out in the bottom of the inning, but Catawba starter got a ground out to the first baseman and also the runner trying to score from third for the inning-ending double play.

TU tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning as Daulton Martin led off with a single, moved to second on Jaden Steagall's bunt and later scored on Luis Ezra's sacrifice fly.

In the Tusculum seventh, Brandon Trammell got aboard on a rare catcher's interference to start the inning.  Trey Hinton drew a walk to put runners at first and second, but Jordan Beaver's bunt was fielded by new relief pitcher DJ Laxton who got the force out at third base for the first out of the inning. Martin struck out swinging but the TU runners were caught in a rundown for the final out of the inning to keep the score tied at 1-1.

Catawba regained the lead in the top of the eighth as Luke Spiva led off with an infield hit and later moved to second on an error and onto third on a passed ball. Raper drove in the go-ahead run with his sacrifice fly.  TU tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth as Bryson Ford doubled down the left field line and he scored on Fuzzy Furr's hit-and-run double.  A single by Ezra put runners on the corners with one out. But Ezra was caught stealing and Laxton ended the inning with a strikeout.

Both teams got a runner to second in the ninth, but nothing to show for it. In the 10th inning, Poteat led off with an infield single, advanced to second on Trenton Walsh's bunt and scored on a passed ball to plate the go-ahead run.

Robbie Cowie retired the TU 10th inning in order, including a pair of strikeouts to secure his third save of the season.  Tyrese Hearst (1-0) earned his first win of the year going one inning, allowing a hit and a walk.  TU reliever, Mitch McCain, who pitched the 10th, suffered the loss in his first decision of 2020.

Game 2: No. 5 Catawba 7, Tusculum 4

Eight Catawba batters recorded a hit and Laxton got out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning in the Indians' 7-4 win over Tusculum in the night-cap.

Catawba accounted for 10 hits including a pair of doubles by Spiva as the Indians plated three runs in the fourth inning and added three more insurance runs in the seventh to complete the Saturday sweep.

The Pioneers got a 3-for-3 effort from Daulton Martin who was also hit by a pitch for a school-record 31st time to take over sole possession of that career mark in the Tusculum record book.

Catawba scored in the first inning as Spiva reached on a one-out double and later scored on Zack Miller's two-out single to right to a 1-0 lead.  Tusculum tied it in the bottom of the first as Martin led off with a double and scored on Ford's RBI single.

The Indians regained the lead with three unearned runs in the top of the fourth off of TU starter Nick Flesher (2-1).  Tusculum trimmed the deficit to 4-3 with two runs in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of a Catawba error as Beaver lined a single down the right field line for the first run. Jaden Steagall drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the second run of the frame.

The score remained 4-3 until the top of the seventh as Poteat reached on an error and Spiva drew a walk. After a lineout and a double-steal by Poteat and Spiva, Zack Miller drew a walk to load the bases.  Hunter Shepherd lined a double to right field to drive in two runs and moved Miller to third. Miller would score on Jeremy Simpson's sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 7-3.

Tusculum got a lead-off double by Martin and he moved to third on a wild pitch. Martin would touch the plate on Jaden Steagall's ground out to pull within 7-4, but that would be as close at TU would get as Cowie retired the final two batters to end the game.

The two teams will wrap-up the series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. game at Pioneer Park.

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