Baseball

Baseball Drops Opener in Matchup of Top 20 Teams

15_BB_SmithKyleBAC

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Catawba dropped its season-opening baseball game 8-5 to host Nova Southeastern on Thursday night at the NSU Baseball Complex. The 12th-ranked Sharks jumped to an 8-0 lead before holding off the 18th-ranked Catawba Indians.

The Sharks took the 8-0 lead into the eighth before Catawba erupted for five runs. NSU pulled starter Devin Cobb after seven scoreless innings and the Indians went to work off reliever Gabe Rodriquez. After an initial out, five straight Catawba batters reached to chase Rodriquez.

Kyle Smith put the Indians on the board with a two-run double and Hunter Shepard followed with a two-run single. A groundout by Cameron Morrison plated the final run, but Brock Minich worked out of the jam. Michael Gizzi surrendered a leadoff single to Luke Setzer in the ninth then retired the final three batters for the save.

Nova Southeastern took the lead in the second as Bryan Diaz drove in the initial run with a groundout to short. Brendan Cutting swatted a three-run homer in the third to push the lead to 4-0. Another run in the fourth chased Catawba starter Riley Myers after three and two-thirds innings. Myers allowed just three hits, but walked four and hit a batter to go with a pair of strikeouts.

The Sharks got three big runs in the seventh as the first three batters reached off Catawba reliever Ryan Kahny with a pair of doubles and a single. A pair of two-out singles drove in the final two runs that were too much for Catawba to come back from.

Smith had two hits and a pair of RBI for Catawba. Shephard and Joe Butts each had two hits and one RBI. Christian Demby and Samuel Duran rapped out three hits for the Sharks. Cobb fanned 13 over his seven scoreless frames, walking one and scattering five hits.

Next up for Catawba is a match-up with Palm Beach Atlantic on Friday night at 6 pm.

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