Baseball

Baseball Opens League Play With Win Over Carson-Newman

SALISBURY, N.C. -- Catawba won its South Atlantic Conference baseball opener with a 10-7 victory over visiting Carson-Newman on Friday night at Newman Park.  The Catawba Indians improve to 8-3 overall and 1-0 in the SAC, while the Eagles fall to 6-7 and 0-1.

Chance Bowden (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury) had three hits and three RBI, which came on a go-ahead three-run homer in the third.  Russ Weiker (Albemarle, N.C./S. Stanly/Liberty) tossed five and a third innings of relief to earn the win.  He allowed three runs on four hits with six strikeouts.

Carson-Newman jumped to a 3-0 lead after two innings.  Ryan Addington led off with a home run and the Eagles rapped out four hits in the opening frame.  Greg Jones singled home the second run of the first.  Weiker (1-0) entered with runners at second and third and one out in the second.  Weiker limited the Eagles to a single run on a two-out hit by Eric Lynch.

Zach Almond (Richfield, N.C./N. Stanly/UNCG) got Catawba on the board with a one-out single in the third.  After a walk, Bowden put the Indians up 4-3 with his homer.  The Eagles tied it in the fifth, but Catawba used a pair of errors to push across two in the bottom half.

The Indians led 8-4 in the seventh and Weiker left with two and two outs.  Jones greeted reliever Heath Mitchem (Salisbury, N.C./Carson) with a three-run homer to cut the margin to 8-7.  The Indians got single runs in the seventh and eighth and Bryan Blanton (Albemarle, N.C./Albemarle) sat down the Eagles in order in the ninth with a pair of strikeouts to earn his second save.

Catawba got two hits each from Almond, Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C./E. Rowan), Bryce Fowler (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood/Presbyterian) and Jeremy Simpson (Cleveland, N.C./W. Rowan).  Cody Fitch (Shelby, N.C./Shelby/UNCG) struck out two of the three batters he faced in bridging the seventh and eighth innings, while Connor Johnson (Rockwell, N.C./E. Rowan) fanned both batters he faced to close the eighth.

Lynch had four hits for Carson-Newman and Jones had four RBI with two hits.  Will Gardner (1-1) pitched into the sixth for the Eagles and took the loss.  He had seven strikeouts in five and two-thirds innings.

The teams finish up the league series with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 pm.

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