College baseball: Gouge sharp, as Catawba crushes Southern New Hampshire

Published 6:38 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2024


Staff report

CARY — Catawba left-hander Casey Gouge took the mound with one modest goal on Wednesday afternoon — to give his team some innings.

But then Gouge (6-2) did better than his wildest dreams. He pitched seven shutout innings in the Division II World Series, allowing only two hits, as Catawba destroyed Southern New Hampshire 18-1. It was a career game for the former West Rowan standout and it came on the biggest stage.

Southern New Hampshire had beaten Catawba 7-0 on Sunday, so the Indians (46-16) were ready to administer some payback pain.

And the Indians did. Catawba racked up a dozen runs in the first four innings.

With that kind of run support, Gouge didn’t have to try to hit corners. He could just pound the strike zone.

“I was actually struggling a little bit with my off-speed stuff early,” Gouge said. “But then my changeup and slider picked up as the game went along.”

Gouge has been pitching better and better lately. He credits pitching coach Greg Brown with some tweaks.

“I’ve changed my arm slot a little and I’ve moved more to the first-base side of the rubber,” Gouge said. “The result has been a lot more strikes.”

Drew Robertson had a monster day with four hits and five RBIs. Sam Hunter had four hits and scored four runs.

Dylan Driver had his second straight huge effort with four hits and four RBIs. He smashed a home run during Catawba’s six-run seventh.

Levi Perrell had three hits. Cole Hales drove in two runs. Logan Rogers and Cooper Bryson added two hits each.

“All the guys hit,” Gouge said. “Just glad I could do my part.”

Catawba stayed alive in the double-elimination event, while eliminating Southern New Hampshire.

Next for the Indians is Tampa on Thursday. Tampa is ranked No. 1 nationally. First pitch is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.