• 37°

College Baseball: Catawba splits two games on Sunday

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

With the Super Bowl in progress and a wind-chill factor only a polar bear could love invading Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium, Catawba players outnumbered fans by the time Sunday’s baseball doubleheader was finally completed.

Catawba labored on the field for five hours, 35 minutes and batted .500. There was a 6-1 loss to Tusculum (3-0) in a windy opener and an ugly 20-9 victory over Newberry (0-3) in a refrigerated nightcap in which every step invited hamstring pulls or frostbite.

“It was about as cold as you can play in,” bundled-up Catawba coach Jim Gantt said.

Gantt doesn’t expect things to get better anytime soon. Catawba (2-1) is scheduled to play Pfeiffer (3-1) on Tuesday, and temperatures aren’t expected to elude the 30s.

Catawba sophomore Blake Ketner, a Northwest Cabarrus product who is very familiar with the mound at Fieldcrest, pitched no-hit ball for three innings against 25th-ranked Tusculum but wasn’t fortunate in the fourth. The Pioneers strung together four straight soft singles, took advantage of a couple of Catawba mistakes and scored four runs to take charge.

“I’ve seen things like that happen to Blake before,” said Catawba catcher Ryan Query, who teamed with Ketner for several years on Kannapolis’ American Legion team. “It was just tough luck on Blake’s part. Dribblers and bloops.”

Catawba, ranked 28th, couldn’t manage even dribblers and bloops against Tusculum lefty C.J. Hillyer, a Louisburg transfer who worked seven sharp innings. Query’s opposite-field double scored Matt Kepley in the sixth for Catawba’s only run.

“Tusculum is a real good team,” Gantt said. “They got ’em on, got ’em over and got ’em in . When they got a chance, they usually made the most of it.”

* Lefty Alex Fairweather plunked three batters in five innings but racked up a win when Catawba’s offense exploded against Newberry.

Freshman Brett Hatley’s two-run double highlighted a six-run first inning that allowed Catawba to jump on top.

Slugger Jerry Sands was walked four times by Newberry, but Query delivered two run-scoring hits behind him out of the clean-up spot, No. 5 hitter Chad Baker produced three RBIs, and No. 6 batter Zach Evans knocked in six runs.

With Catawba leading 7-3 in the bottom of the fourth, Sands came to the plate with David Thomas and Kepley on base. Sands chased strike one well out of the zone. Then he shocked everyone by squaring to bunt, but he took a ball when the pitch wasn’t close enough to offer at.

The next pitch he drove well out of the ballpark to right-center to make it 10-3.

Newberry crept as close as 11-7 before Catawba put together a six-run seventh inning that featured a two-run single by Evans.

Evans whacked a three-run homer to left in the eighth to close the scoring. Then he took the mound and struck out two batters in the ninth to send frozen fans home.

Catawba committed six errors in the two games. That was probably Gantt’s biggest worry.

“We’re battling through some growing pains right now,” he said. “We can do a better job.”

*

NOTES: Pete Kuld has joined Catawba’s coaching staff, working mostly with catchers. Catawba wore new gray uniforms in the nightcap. … Gantt called a huge heater in Catawba’s dugout “a lifesaver.” … Kepley, the new right fielder, scored four runs in the second game. … Kevin McMillan threw out a basestealer at third to end the Newberry fourth. … Query said catching Ketner reminded him of their Legion days. “Just like summer ball,” he quipped, “only it wasn’t 40 degrees last summer.” … Bubba Morris and Craige Lyerly had RBIs in the nightcap.

*

Contact Mike London at mlondon@salisburypost.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls headed to state championship game

Local

Commissioners set date for public hearing on potential solar energy system rule changes

Health

Two of Rep. Sasser’s bills successfully pass through Health Committee

Local

Rep. Warren’s measure to allow removal of public notices from newspapers put on back burner

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs future of previously rejected housing development

Local

Salisbury City Council hears public comments, receives presentation on Main Street reconfiguration

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with felony drug offenses

Nation/World

California crash kills 13 of 25 people crammed into SUV

Nation/World

Biden vows enough vaccines by end of May

Coronavirus

State to vaccinate medically vulnerable starting March 24

Coronavirus

One new death, 20 new COVID-19 positives reported in Rowan

Kannapolis

Kannapolis man dies in moped crash

Crime

Salisbury Police chief addresses K-9 video, says officer separated from animal

Local

Rowan Rescue Squad sets record straight on fundraising typo

Local

City approves DOT agreement, Salisbury Station project could begin next year

Local

County plans to use vulture effigy, enforce violations to remedy animal carcass feeding problem

Education

Two weeks after ending enhanced protocols, Catawba has no COVID-19 cases

News

Council to hear revised version of Downtown Main Street Plan

Local

Veto override of NC school reopening bill fails in Senate

News

Political Notebook: Majority of likely voters, local legislators support school reopening bill

Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccinations in Rowan top positives since start of pandemic

Crime

Man faces drug charges after breaking and entering call

Lifestyle

Waterworks schedules 2021 Summer ARTventures

Crime

Blotter: Man faces drug charges after being found passed out in vehicle