Hanes’ blast lifts Catawba past Pacers
Catawba sports information
SALISBURY — Malachi Hanes hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Catawba to a 5-4 win over 20th-ranked USC Aiken in college baseball action on Wednesday night at Newman Park.
The game was Catawba’s last at home this season and the win improved the Indians to 29-16. The Pacers fell to 32-12.
Pacer starter James Lynch had limited Catawba to just one hit, a Zac Almond homer in the second inning, through six innings. In the seventh, an error, a walk and a fielder’s choice off the bat of Chance Bowden produced a run to trim USC Aiken’s lead to 4-2 and chase Lynch.
After another hit from Almond loaded the bases with no outs, Trevor Hutto got a strike out and double play ground ball to end the frame. Heath Mitchem and Bryan Blanton combined to strand a Pacer runner at third in the eighth inning to help set the stage for Hanes’ dramatics.
With one out in the eighth, Dylan Richardson was hit by a pitch and Luke Setzer reached on an infield single. Nick Jobst (6-2) was brought in and recorded a strikeout for the second out. Hanes would launch a 1-1 pitch over the light pole in right to put the Indians on top, 5-4.
Blanton, who improved to 2-1, worked around a one-out hit and two-out walk in the ninth, getting a fly out to end the game.
Zach Moon had put the Pacers on top with RBI double in the first before Almond’s homer tied it. A solo home run from Jonathan Banks restored Aiken’s lead in the fourth. Chaz Pal increased the lead to 4-1 with a two-run single off Avery Bowles in the fifth. Bowles would retire the next five men he faced and Clay Young tossed a perfect seventh inning before giving way with one out in the eighth after surrendering a leadoff double.
Almond had two of Catawba’s four hits. Setzer and Hanes had the other two hits. Bowden had his career-best hitting streak stopped a 21 games, but did have a RBI. Pal had two of the five Aiken hits.
Catawba travels this weekend to Wingate for its final South Atlantic Conference. The three-game set with start on Friday at 6 p.m.
USC Aiken........... 100 120 000 - 4 5 1 Catawba............. 010 000 13X - 5 4 0 WP — Bryan Blanton (2-1). LP — Nick Jobst (6-2). Leading hitters — Catawba: Zac Almond 2-for-3, HR, RBI; Malachi Hanes 1-for-3, HR, 3RBI; USCA: Chaz Pal 2-for-4, 2RBI.