From staff reports
Catawba’s baseball team ousted Carson-Newman 14-4 in an elimination game, but it lost to Tusculum 4-2 in the SAC tournament championship game on Sunday at Hickory’s L.P. Frans Stadium.
Regular-season champion Catawba (37-16) needed two wins over Tusculum, which rolled through the tournament unscathed, to win the title.
Twenty-ninth ranked Tusculum (38-12) earned the SAC’s automatic berth in next month’s South Regional. Catawba, ranked 23rd, is a likely at-large participant, but it still has three tough regular-season games against two of the top teams in Conference Carolinas ó Belmont Abbey (Thursday) and Erskine (doubleheader next Monday).
The highlight for Catawba was Tim Smith logging his 30th career victory with seven strong innings against Carson-Newman.
Smith, a potential draft pick in June, matched Matt Fairweather’s school record for victories.
Smith (5-2 as a senior and 30-12 in his career) has been sidelined with elbow inflammation. He made his first start in three weeks but was in control after allowing two runs in the first inning. Keith Carrigan relieved after the first two Eagle batters reached against Smith in the eighth and finished up. Smith got 12 outs on groundballs and didn’t walk a batter.
Senior Bubba Morris, a former North Rowan standout, went 4-for-4, doubled twice and knocked in three runs. Matt Kepley, Ryan Query and Chad Baker had three hits each.
Catawba got back-to-back homers from seniors Kepley and David Thomas to spark a four-run second inning, and the Indians got a two-run homer from Jerry Sands in the sixth to break it open.
It was the 17th homer for Thomas and the 21st for Sands. Sands added to his school record. It was the 58th blast of the junior’s career.
* In the nightcap, Tusculum scored four runs in the fourth to erase a 1-0 lead, and Rob Currie pitched a complete game against the Indians.
Blake Ketner started the game on two days rest for Catawba. He worked three shutout innings before the Pioneers knocked him out in the fourth.
A brilliant relief outing by former West Rowan standout Brett Hatley gave Catawba a chance to rally. Hatley shut out the Pioneers after the fourth, but Currie limited the Indians to eight hits, including two each by Thomas and Query.
– College baseball
Mount Olive, ranked No. 1 nationally in Division II, beat Belmont Abbey 13-9 for the Conference Carolinas tournament championship on Sunday. Seth Waller (West Rowan) and Patrick Atwell (South Rowan) drove in a run apiece for the Crusaders (36-19). Erik Lovett was 5-for-5 for Mount Olive (44-5).
Earlier on Sunday, Belmont Abbey beat Mount Olive 3-2 to force a second championship game
* Brett Shore (South) went 4-for-4 and scored two runs to lead Davidson to a 7-6 victory over Georgia Southern on Sunday.
* South Carolina’s Whit Merrifield (Davie County) went 2-for-4 in a 4-1 victory over Mississippi on Sunday.
The freshman is batting .293 and has scored 36 runs for the Gamecocks.
* Belmont’s Daniel Wagner (South) had two hits and stole his 11th base in a 17-11 victory over East Tennessee State on Sunday.
* Rob Lyerly, whose father, Robert, played at East Rowan, hit his 11th homer for Charlotte in a 12-8 loss to Massachusetts on Sunday.
Appalachian State’s Wes Hobson, whose father, Gil, played at North Rowan, hit his sixth homer for the Mountaineers in a 5-4 loss to Western Carolina on Sunday.
– Intimidators fall
Greensboro scored two runs in the eighth and beat the Kannapolis Intimidators 4-2 at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium on Sunday.
Dale Mollenhauer and Jim Gallagher drove in runs for the Intimidators.
Kannapolis is off today and plays at Greensboro on Tuesday.
– College track
N.C. State’s Jason Jones (East Rowan) was fourth in the shot put in the ACC Outdoor Track Championships held in Atlanta. Jones’ best throw was 57 feet, 11/2 inches.
n SAC softball
Top-seeded Carson-Newman beat No. 5 seed Mars Hill 6-3 on Sunday to win the SAC softball tournament.
The Eagles (48-6) won their 19th straight game and qualified for the South Atlantic Regional.
– Edwards shoots 76
Sacred Heart golfer Eric Edwards shot 76 to win the Optimist International qualifier held at Somers Point, N.J., over the weekend.
He’ll compete in the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in late July.
– College golf
Virginia freshman Will Collins (Salisbury) tied for 26th place in leading the Cavaliers to a ninth-place showing at the ACC Men’s Golf Championship in New London. Collins had rounds of 75, 69 and 73 to finish with a 1-over-par total of 217 that ranked first on Virginia’s team.
On Saturday, Collins tied for the eighth-best round of the day. In all, he played the par-3 holes at the Old North State Club at even and the par-4 holes at 1 under for the tournament. He had 39 pars and seven birdies, including five in the second round.
Florida State won the team title by three strokes over Duke, and Wake Forest’s Webb Simpson (68-68-66–202) was the medalist at 14 under.