College Baseball: Catawba makes comeback
By Mike London
SALISBURY — Catawba baseball owns a modest, three-game winning streak, matching its longest of the season, after beating Lock Haven, 14-7, on Wednesday at Newman Park.
The non-conference victory was notable mostly because Catawba (11-8) rallied from a 7-0 deficit against the visitors from Pennsylvania.
“When it was 7-0, the main thing was to keep our composure,” Catawba DH Malachi Hanes said. “Our approach was one at-bat at a time and one inning a time. It was still early. We knew we could get back in it.”
Lock Haven’s Bald Eagles (4-5) scored seven runs in the second inning. All came after a two-out error so all were unearned. Justin Sleigh gave a Riley Myers first-pitch fastball a ride for a grand slam to cap the inning.
“Riley had hit the previous batter,” Gantt said. “Then he came in with a fastball, and the guy ambushed it.”
Catawba didn’t wait long to rally. The Indians used two walks and four hits to score five runs in the bottom of the second. Will Albertson and Dylan Richardson delivered two-run singles.
Clay Young, a sophomore right-hander, took the mound for the Indians in the top of the third.
“It really helped that we’d cut the deficit to 7-5 before I went out there,” Young said. “I knew if I threw strikes, we had a good chance. There was a lot of time for our bats to go to work.”
Young mowed down the Bald Eagles 1-2-3 in the third, and then Catawba’s bats stayed hot. No. 8 batter Harrison Baucom’s RBI double made it 7-6. No. 9 hitter Jeremy Simpson’s two-run single to right put the Indians ahead to stay at 8-7.
“Early on, our hitters were way out front, but we adjusted and had a lot of quality at-bats,” Gantt said. “We got good at-bats from the bottom of the lineup. It was good to see guys back-side the ball.”
After another scoreless inning was turned in by Young, Hanes gave the Indians a cushion in the fourth when he followed singles by Luke Setzer and Richardson with a three-run homer to center field for an 11-7 lead. He launched the homer on a 1-2 pitch.
“I’d just fouled off a fastball, and he came back with a curve that was low and in,” Hanes. “With two men on, I was just trying to put in play, but it went out.”
Before the fourth was over, Baucom and Simpson had delivered run-scoring singles, and the Indians led 13-7.
Young, now 1-0, put up additional zeroes in the fifth and sixth before exiting.
“I didn’t have my best off-speed stuff, but I was locating the fastball pretty well,” Young said. “I was able to work off that.”
Ryan Kahny pitched two strong innings, and Michael Elwell threw a quick ninth to finish things off.
“We didn’t play all that well,” Gantt said. “But our bullpen was good.”
Catawba’s 16-hit attack was led by Baucom’s 4-for-4 effort and Zac Almond’s three hits.
Baucom, a freshman, is 7-for-14 since getting his first shot at a starting position in center field.
“I’m seeing the ball deep and I’m seeing a lot of fastballs hitting in the bottom part of the lineup,” Baucom said. “Baseball is a game of flow. I’m starting to get back in the flow.”
NOTES: Catawba plays a SAC series at Anderson this weekend. … Pitcher Sean Grant (elbow) was upbeat after receiving positive medical news and expects to return soon. … Chance Bowden drove in the final run for the Indians.
Lock Haven 070 000 000 — 7 8 2
Catawba 053 500 10x — 14 16 1
W — Young (1-0). L — Fisher (0-1).
HR — Sleigh (3), Hanes (1).