College baseball: Catawba loses first game in D-II World Series

Published 2:10 am Monday, June 3, 2024

Staff report

CARY — Catawba’s baseball team was shut out for only the third time this season on Sunday in its opening game in the D-II World Series.

The third-seeded Indians lost 7-0 to sixth-seeded Southern New Hampshire at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

It was not a good day for Catawba (44-16) at the plate. It’s a double-elimination affair, so Catawba isn’t done yet, but now it will be a very hard road to winning the championship. Not impossible, but very hard.

Southern New Hampshire, ranked 21st nationally, is an underwhelming 37-27 overall, but it has an ace pitcher. Austin Trumpour, a 6-foot-4 right-hander, threw a complete game for the Penmen. Ironically, the Penmen never had to turn to the bullpen.

The story goes that the unusual Penmen nickname honors the accountants and clerks of New England who were signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Trumpour needed only 97 pitches to take care of the Indians. He allowed only four hits. He walked one and struck out five.

Catawba never got a man past second base. There were a lot of popups and fly balls on first pitches or early in the count.

When Catawba did hit a line drive, one of the Penmen usually made a play. Center fielder Harry Vargas Segura made a running catch of Levi Perrell’s long drive with two Indians on base in the bottom of the third. That was the key moment in the game.

Payne Stolsworth (11-4) was on the mound for Catawba. He didn’t get off to an ideal start. The Penmen had two hits and two walks in the first inning, but only got one run because  Perrell, Catawba’s shortstop, threw a runner out at the plate.

Stolsworth settled in after that, and it was still 1-0 in the top of the fifth until Jorge Burgos socked the first homer of the tournament, a two-run shot that made it 3-0.

When Stolsworth walked the next hitter, the Indians made a call to the bullpen. Then Dylan O’Sullivan greeted Mason Gwyn with Southern New Hampshire’s second two-run homer of the inning, and Catawba was down 5-0.

Southern New Hampshire added two more runs in the seventh. The first two batters in that inning walked and they came around to score with aggressive base-running and Catawba miscues.

Austin Fine pitched a strong eighth for the Indians, while Hayden Simmerson pitched a good ninth.

They were trying to stay sharp. Catawba won’t play again until Tuesday afternoon when the Indians will take on seventh-seeded Indianapolis.

Indianapolis lost 9-3 to second-seeded Tampa on Sunday. Tampa will play Southern New Hampshire on Tuesday night.