Bats silenced as advantageous Catawba captures series finale

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman managed five base runners and a total of three hits as Catawba overcame a 2-0 deficit with patience at the plate to beat the Eagles 5-2 in the South Atlantic Conference series finale Saturday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.

"[Michael] Elwell did a really good job," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "His breaking ball was sharp. He spotted the fastball and competed really well on the mound. Young came in and was very effective as well. A lot of it has to do with that. When we got two runs on the error and a wild pitch, the next three innings he really settled in."

It is the first SAC series loss at home for Carson-Newman (14-8, 6-3) since the 2016 season as the Eagles have now lost 13 of the last 16 games to Catawba (10-14, 6-3).

To start the bottom of the third inning, Jordan Griffin (Ellersie, Ga.) laced a base hit past Chance Bowden at first base. A sacrifice bunt and ground out to second moved Griffin to third. Brett Langhorne (Mechanicsville, Va.) drew a walk to put men on the corners. Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) hit a roller back up the middle that second baseman Joe Butts fielded and tossed over Bowden's head into the Catawba dugout to score Griffin and put men at second and third. On a 1-1 offering to the next batter, Michael Elwell uncorked a wild pitch to plate Langhorne and make it a 2-0 contest in favor of the home team.

Catawba equalized in the top of the fifth inning with a pair of runs. Kyle Smith fell behind 0-2 before working the count full and lining a base hit into right field. Bowden followed by hitting a liner to right that Griffin tried to make a diving catch in right but did not grab allowing the ball to go to the wall. Smith scored and Bowden ended up at third base. Following a punch out, Jackson Raper floated a ball to left field that bounced just in front of the glove of a diving Charlie Brown (Sevierville, Tenn.) to score Bowden and tie it at two.

Will Gardner (Morristown, Tenn.) entered to start the top of the seventh and allowed a single and two walks to load the bases to begin the frame. Back-to-back fielder's choice ground outs plated Bowden and Luke Setzer. Another walk and a hit batter scored Heath Mitchem to give Catawba a 5-2 advantage.

The Eagles put the lead-off man on base in each of the next two innings but went 0-for-9 overall in the game with men on base. Catawba pitching faced the minimum in six of the nine stanzas.

Elwell hurled a season-high seven innings allowing two unearned runs on three hits and a walk while striking out seven to earn his second win of the year. Clay Young retired all six batters he faced to pick up his first save of 2018.

The Indians racked up 12 hits in the game as four players had at least two with Bowden leading the charge by going 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

C-N starting pitcher Dalton Long (Powell, Tenn.) worked 5 2/3 innings allowing two earned runs on eight hits and two walks while punching out three.

Griffin's group travels on Tuesday to 16th-ranked Belmont Abbey for a 4 p.m. first pitch from Abbey Yard on a game that will be broadcast on through the Eagle Sports Network.

- CN -

Cheer camp set for July
April 8, 2018 Cheer camp set for July