College baseball: Indians will play regional game at Newman Park for first time

Published 12:07 am Monday, May 13, 2024

Staff report

SALISBURY — Catawba’s baseball program is a regular participant in the Division II Southeast Regional, but the Indians will play games at Newman Park for the first time.

Regional berths and seeds were announced on Sunday night. Catawba, the South Atlantic Conference regular-season champion, was an at-large team but received a No. 1 seed. Catawba is in the regional for the 14th time, including 12 times in the last 17 seasons under coach Jim Gantt. This is the third time Catawba has been selected as the No. 1 seed for the regional.

As was the case with the South Atlantic Conference Tournament, the first segment of regional games will be played at two sites. There are seven teams in the Southeast Regional. The teams joining Catawba (40-14) for a double-elimination event at Newman Park will be fifth-seeded Young Harris (39-13) and fourth-seeded UNC Pembroke (42-12).

Young Harris and UNCP are scheduled to meet on Thursday at Newman Park at 3:30 p.m.  The loser of that opening game will then try to stay alive on Thursday night against Catawba.

UNC Pembroke recently won the Carolinas Conference Tournament and is in the Southeast Regional for the fourth straight season. East Rowan graduate Morgan Padgett has been a helpful player for UNCP as a freshman with two homers, 16 RBIs and a .294 batting average, He’s started 21 games.

The other four teams in the Southeast Regional — the 2,3, 6 and 7 seeds — will be playing in Tigerville, S.C., with second-seeded North Greenville serving as host team.

First-round games will have seventh-seeded Georgia College (34-20) taking on North Greenville (41-12) and third-seeded Mount Olive (37-16) battling sixth-seeded Wingate (33-23). Wingate qualified automatically for the regional as the SAC Tournament champion.

It’s an advantage for Catawba to play at Newman Park. The Indians are 28-3 at home this season, although they lost twice in the SAC Tournament to Lincoln Memorial. Wingate smashed Lincoln Memorial in two games played in Asheboro over the weekend to win the SAC tourney.