Baseball Blanks Newberry to Stay Unbeaten at Regional


NEWBERRY, S.C. -- Hunter Shepherd threw shutout ball into the sixth and drove in the game’s first two runs as Catawba stayed unbeaten at the NCAA II Southeast Region 2 Tournament, defeating host Newberry 7-0 on Friday night at the Smith Road Complex. The third-seeded Catawba Indians improve to 44-12 and will face Young Harris on Saturday at 3:30 pm for a chance to advance to the Southeast Super Regional. Newberry, the second-seed, ends its season at 41-16.

The Indians jumped on Newberry starter Josh Bookbinder early as Heath Mitchem drew a leadoff walk and Jeremy Simpson doubled. Shepherd followed with a two-run single on a 2-2 pitch to plate the only runs Catawba needed.

Shepherd stranded three Newberry runners over the first two frames then was perfect over the next three innings. Catawba added to its lead with a pair of runs in the fifth. With two outs, Jackson Raper and Cameron Morrison provided RBI singles to double the advantage to 4-0.

Dalton Hyman ended Shepherd’s stretch of 10 straight batters retired with a leadoff single in the sixth. Shepherd got a fly out and a strikeout before being lifted after a two-out walk. Riley Myers came on to straight out Kenny Bergmann to end the threat.

Catawba padded the lead in the eighth. A ground out by Mitchem got one run in, while two more scored on an error to provide the final margin. Myers got the Indians to the ninth and DJ Laxton closed the game for Catawba.

Shepherd (7-4) surrendered just four hits over his five and two-thirds innings. He walked one and fanned seven. Myers struck out four over his two and a third innings, while Laxton posted a strikeout in the ninth.
Catawba got hits from eight of nine batters in the order with Shepherd collecting two.

Bookbinder fell to 9-3 with the loss. He allowed four runs off eight hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out five. Hyman had two of the six Newberry hits.

Young Harris had topped Newberry 5-1 earlier on Friday to stay alive. The Mountain Lions will have to beat Catawba twice to advance. A second game would follow at 7 pm on Saturday if Young Harris win the afternoon contest.

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